Beautify & Personalize Your Home Office: 7 Design Tips

home office desk

This guest post was written by Angela Todd of Angela Todd Designs.


Chances are good that your home office is one of the least esthetically pleasing rooms in your home. If you are like most homeowners, you probably spent as much time decorating your home office as your utility room. As a matter of fact, most people’s utility rooms and home offices have a lot in common:

  • They tend to lack personality
  • Disorder and clutter are a constant battle
  • They are utilitarian in nature
  • The color and décor of the room (or lack thereof) doesn’t support the room’s use

I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot more time working in my home office than I do in the laundry room. Halleluiah! Did you know your working environment has a large impact on your productivity, creativity and energy levels? For many of us it also effects our perception of our personal success and our confidence level. Clutter and an uninspiring space can wreck havoc on your business goals.

Convinced you need to do address your home office’s look? I hope so! Below are some design tips to get you started.

1. Clean up your clutter and get organized: If you can’t/won’t/or don’t want to/ do it yourself, stop feeling frustrated about it! Call an expert who will customize an organizational plan that is personalized to you and your workflow. You don’t have to be great at everything; you just need to know who to call.

2. Establish a floor plan that addresses function and flow: A home office floor plan gives you quick, easy access to items you need on a daily basis. A good floor plan is also compatible with your type of business. For example, my home studio includes a work area to layout floor plans, fabrics and surface materials. What is unique about your business and workflow? Your home office should address these needs. Here is a great, free tool for laying out your home office floor plan.

3. Start your home office interior design with something that inspires you: Begin with a piece of artwork, an area rug, a lamp, an accessory or an upholstered chair that speaks to you. Then build the room’s style and palette based on what you love and what you already have.

  • Blues are said to be imaginative and progressive
  • Yellow is cheerful and stimulating
  • Red is powerful and daring
  • Orange is adventurous and unique
  • Green is soothing and is said to help you think
  • Purple is ambitious and associated with royalty

(Here is a great link about color psychology.)

4. Choosing wall colors for a home office : Please trust this experienced opinion: It is easier to find a wall color to match an item than find items to match a wall color. Pick your inspiration piece and general style before you paint the walls! Next, follow these tips for selecting a great wall color.

  • Just because they place a color on a swatch doesn’t mean it should ever be on a wall.
  • If you want something in your office to “pop”, don’t match the walls to that item.
  • Use a tint, tone or shade of a color in your palette, instead of an exact match.
  • Unless you are experienced with wall colors, know that colors are more intense than they seem on a small color chip. You might want to move down the color card a shade or two lighter than your first choice.
  • Complex neutrals with a touch of color are very vogue these days and are here to stay for some time. A room can be interesting without the walls screaming color. It will also have longer staying power before you grow tired of it.
  • Although painting is inexpensive, it is time consuming and painful to re-do! If you aren’t sure of your choice, hire a designer for a color consultation.

5. Establish a focal point for your home office: A focal point is the first thing you see when you enter a space. It is necessary in all design, and many home offices don’t have a natural focal point like a fireplace, or a large bank of windows with a view. If your focal point is your desk (most of the time it is), give it visual impact by hanging grouped artwork, placing a bookshelf behind it, or installing a specialized wall treatment made of wallpaper, fabric or a decorative mural. You can also add an area rug or drop a chandelier to ground the space.

6. Include sufficient lighting in your floor plan: Lighting is the most overlooked area of designing a room and it has a large impact on the finished project. At a minimum you need at least two sources of light – most designers would argue three. In addition to your overhead light, consider a desk lamp. If you have extra seating, try a floor lamp or a table lamp next to the chair. If you have a bookshelf, installing lighting inside will give a great effect. Use an uplight for large trees and watch the leaf pattern dance on your walls and ceiling. Express your personality and style in your lighting. If a banker’s desk lamp isn’t your style, pick something that is you.

7. Encourage yourself every day: This suggestion looks different in visual form for everyone, but it is important for you to consider what inspires you. For some, a piece of artwork of an exotic place they vacation is a motivator. For others, it’s a whiteboard or corkboard with goals, client thank you notes, and a mission statement. Some of us are motivated by family photos or fresh flowers each week. I have also found some like to declare their business with their logo or business name. You can also place an inspirational quote that speaks to you. Vendors like Wallwords can customize a decal for you inexpensively. You can place your creation on glass, mirrors, and painted walls. Visual encouragement helps remind you of your accomplishments and goals on a daily basis.

Follow these easy tips to transform your utilitarian home office into a personalized space that inspires you every time you enter!

Angela Todd of Angela Todd Designs

About the author:

Angela Todd creates exceptional, personalized spaces for homeowners and small business professionals. For more information on how Angela can help you create an exceptional space, visit her website or her blog.

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12 thoughts on “Beautify & Personalize Your Home Office: 7 Design Tips”

  1. I enjoyed reading this and it made me realize that my office is not that bad! It is painted with a lovely orange color, good focal points, inspiring art, however the problem is me.I think I breed clutter! Being a kinesthetic type it just happens! Kaya

  2. I like what your colors say. I got a completently different list of meanings at a workshop at NAPO in Reno this year. I really like yours. I know in diffeent cultures they mean different things too.
    Marcia, A house near mine has a purple drive way and another one has purple siding. It is a bit much, but I guess they like it. I would like to see your purple office.

  3. Marilyn – I agree completely. There are lots of interpretations of colors. In addition to different cultural interpretations, colors are so complex that there are mixtures that say different things. For example, indigo blue is invigorating and stimulating for most people, but pale seaglass blue is subdued and relaxing.

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