Creating the Perfect Home Office

Karen Haller 01
Karen Haller
Perfect Home Office - office in a cupboard. This will open a new browser window.

Office in a cupboard – simply close the doors and your room is restored.

More and more we are finding we’re in need of an office at home, whether we are working from home or just need a place to store all our household paper work.  You’ll be surprised how an office can fit into the most unlikely of spaces – under the stairs, a widow alcove, a hallway, or a cupboard.

Even the simplest of home offices can benefit from integrating the following 5 elements, making sure it’s a place you’ll want to spend time in.

1.  Creating the right environment for you
Making a work space at home gives you the perfect opportunity to design and style to suit your own personality.  You may need a clear, clutter-free minimalist space or one that encourages inspiration with notice and mood boards and surrounded by things you love.

If peace and quiet is important to you, if at all possible, locate the home office away from the main activities of the house such as the kitchen, TV room, playroom, any space where there is likely to be lots of noise.  This will allow you to work undisturbed whilst allowing the rest of the household to carry on as normal.  You’ll also be able to close the door at the end of the day, helping you to make that mental ‘end of working day’ transition.

2. Personalise your space with colour
Create a colour scheme that suits your personality and your needs.  You may find you need to have clarity and focus, or be creative.  Or perhaps you need some extra motivation to get that paperwork completed quickly.

Here are some quick tips on colours you could use and the positive feelings they can invoke:
Red – energy and motivation
Dark Blue – focused thinking, concentration
Light Blue – creativity
Turquoise – communication, self expression
Yellow – optimism, happiness
Orange – fun, sociable and joyful
Green – calming balance

Perfect Home Office - Personalise with colour. This will open a new browser window.

Colourful, personalised work space.

Perfect Home Office - Personalise with colour. This will open a new browser window.

Using colour to create the right mood for you.

Interior Designer Annie Doherty cleverly created her office in an otherwise unused hallway.  Her choice of white and a green accent was to allow the colours to visually flow from the living area.  Annie also likes to swap out her coloured accessories when she feels like a change.

Perfect Home Office - Personalise with colour. This will open a new browser window.

Annie’s clever hallway office.

3. Pole position
The best location for your desk is near a large window, giving you the benefits of natural light, fresh air and a view.  Other than getting up at regular intervals to stretch your body, it’s just as important your eyes are regularly ‘stretched’ by looking at a distance point.  If you can, place your monitor/laptop at least 25 inches from your eyes, preferably more.

Perfect Home Office - Perfect position.

Alcove office – bright & light with a view.

4. Sitting Comfortably
How often do we find ourselves sitting at our desk only to find the hours have flown by?  If you make one investment, make it your chair.  One that is right for your height and weight, supports your lower back behind the pelvis and encourages upright posture. Ideally you’ll want it to be adjustable in height, the tilting angle and the arms which can go up and down to ensure elbows are in the correct position.

5. Storage
Good practical storage is key to having a well organised work space.  Where there’s a place for everything and it’s all easily accessible.  Make it as creative as you like especially if your storage is out on display, such as glass jars, wicker boxes, or folders covered in your colour scheme.

Perfect Home Office - Storage ideas. This will open a new browser window.

Lots of easily accessible storage with the most used items close at hand

I hope this article has inspired you to create your own personalised home office.  Where do you think you could create yours?  Remember, they can spring out of the most unlikely of places!

Lots of Love,
Karen x

Karen specialises in holistic interior design & colour psychology.

House to home
Pottery Barn

Share the knowledge


  1. Sonya on May 26, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Hi Karen, I have just come across your site. I love this article. I have been working from home for approx 8 years now. I am very lucky as I have a whole room as my office, but it’s been chaotic for years with not much in the way of storage and no colour.

    Your article and the photos has been very inspirational to me and I want to change the decor now and put a stamp on the space I spend most of my days in! Currently I have a very ordinary light ivory colour decor, with nothing on the walls. Should I spice it up with some colour on all of the walls or maybe just the wall my desk faces? And how strong should the colours be. I prefer light and pastel shades. And I am right next to my large window. I also like the idea of an armchair to sit in when I am reading papers.

    Thank you for your insight and advice 🙂

    • admin on May 28, 2011 at 4:15 pm

      Hi Sonya,

      Thanks for your question. A big subject to cover, but here’s some tips and ideas to get you started, which I hope will be of help to you.

      Colour is a great way to personalise your space. Without doing a consultation, how do you want to feel when you’re in your office. Do you need to focus and concentrate? Do you want to feel calm? Creative thinking…?

      When you know how you want to feel, what colour/s gives you that feeling and more specifically the chroma value (shade, tint or tone). The more saturated the colour, the more energy, intensity it will give you so dark blue is a great colour for focused thinking. You mentioned light colours and pastel shades, examples here are light blue for calm, creative thinking, light green for calm and balance, ivory/white for clarity. If you need a pick me up, red and yellow are great as accent colours e.g. flowers, accessories. Accessories are a great way to bring in a colour when you feel you need it.
      It’s up to you whether you want to have a feature wall or all walls the same. This will depend on the colour you choose. Just remember that too much of a colour over a period of time could bring out the negative effects of that colour.

      Whatever combination of colours you choose, aim for them to be within the same tonal colour group otherwise they will jar against each other and create a harsh environment.

      If you paint it and don’t like it or it’s no long working for you, simply change it. Don’t put up with it.

      For more colour tips you may like to read

      Enjoy and have fun! Great to see a picture of it when you’ve finished decorating.

  2. Sonya on May 31, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Hi Karen, thank you so much for your wonderful advice, I really appreciate your time 🙂 I think for me it is definitely creative thinking and calm as I work to constant deadlines! Your reply has given me an idea to do a mood board and see what works well, especialy the intensity of the colour. I also love you idea of accessorising using colour too.

    Thanks so much, will continue reading your wonderful information.

    Sonya xx

    • admin on May 31, 2011 at 11:26 am

      Hi Sonya,

      You’re more than welcome. I’m pleased you’re been inspired to personalise your space. Mood boards are a great way to see how all your ideas sit together. Enjoy!

  3. Erika on June 13, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    I really enjoyed this post Karen. I surrounded myself with dozens and dozens of flowers. If I could paint my walls I think I would go for a blue or red, but that’s a tough one…

    • admin on June 15, 2011 at 1:59 pm

      Hi Erika,
      Colour is so personal and I love hearing the choices people make. All insights into their personality. To be surrounded by flowers, just bliss. I’d love to have an glass office in the garden.

Leave a Comment