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For The Home

A Job Well Done

Author: Carly Scholl
Issue: August, 2017, Page 23
Boxy and classic, this acorn-hued desk is perfect for a Mod home office. $699 (westelm.com)
Work smarter—not harder—in a home office that benefits from trends including midcentury Modernism, minimalism and Mother Nature

As the real estate market continues to embrace smaller footprints and more flexible living, the home office is adapting to suit your every need. Whether a luxury to some or a necessity to others, having a retreat to spend time on hobbies, work on projects or manage household operations is undoubtedly a popular aspiration. Follow these trends to create a home office that’ll help you achieve a harmonious work-life balance.

The Cherner Task Chair features sleek lines and  a curvy silhouette. $1,499 (dwr.com)
Going Retro
After World War II, some of the best Modernist designers were creating commercial furnishings for corporate offices, and now those styles are being resurrected and refocused as items suited specifically for the contemporary house. If you’re looking to put together a chic home office space inspired by some of the most iconic creations in the last century, look to the 1950s and ’60s to be your guide. 

“Designs from visionaries such as Ray and Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen weren’t easy for the average midcentury homeowner to find during the midcentury,” says Max Underwood, president’s professor at Arizona State University’s Design School of Architecture. “But now, their products have become popular again in the contemporary market and are widely available.” Take advantage of this resurgence and use the abundance of great style on the market to achieve the retro home workspace of your dreams.

Teal, gold and linen merge in this genie bottle-inspired lamp. $180 (target.com)
Channel your inner Don Draper by selecting furnishings that embody the philosophy of Modern architect Louis Sullivan—form follows function. “Furniture from this era was made to be physically lighter so people could rearrange with ease to change up the purpose of their rooms,” says Underwood. The same goes for contemporary iterations, which make it easier for you refresh the configuration of your home office or transform it on a whim into a spot for entertaining. Geometric desks or writing tables in rich wood tones will give your office a cozy aura, but don’t be afraid to punch up your color scheme with on-trend shades such as cherry red, burnt orange or minty teal for a bit of energizing visual interest. Keep additional furniture simple; choose low-profile loveseats for lounging, angular credenzas for storage and curvaceous desk lamps for some extra light.

The side leaves on the minimalist brass-and-leather Bryson Desk fold out to offer more space when needed. $11,995 (myplumdesign.com)
Less is More
“Minimalist offices are gaining popularity nowadays as a byproduct of downsizing,” says Valley-based interior designer Janet Kauffman. “Today, with smaller homes, condos and apartments becoming more common as primary residences, there is less space for roomy office setups.” With fewer square feet to work with, we’re leaving behind superfluous furniture in favor of sleeker, more intuitive choices.

A natural byproduct of minimalism is the focus on multiuse products and technology. “With laptops, tablets and phones, the amount of physical space that many need to work has now gone from a large desk to their lap,” says Kauffman. “Big printers, PCs, fax machines—all of those are virtually obsolete. Plus, with electronic storage capabilities, there is a shrinking need for file cabinets and bookshelves.” This gives you the chance to select more streamlined furnishings and accessories that utilize multifunctionality and technology to further simplify your life.

A compact, straightforward keyboard is a desktop must-have. $65 (penclic.se)
For major office furniture, look for a desk with adjustable leaves so you can utilize more or less space when you need it. If you don’t have room for a comfortable settee or couch, make your desk chair do double-duty as a seat for relaxing and for working by choosing a model that has reclining capabilities or extra cushioning. Employ this same space-saving philosophy for your desktop, too. Compact keyboards, multitasking desk organizers and even an operating system device, such as Amazon Echo, can help you cut down on cluttered tech products.

Working With Earth
Megacorporations, such as Google and Etsy, have adopted what American biologist E. O. Wilson called “biophilia” into their headquarters—and you can, too. Simply put, biophilic design embraces humanity’s innate attraction to nature by incorporating it into interior design schemes in order to promote better focus and productivity.

Comfort is key in the Humanscale Freedom Task Chair,
which smoothly reclines for maximum ergonomic benefits. $1,049-$1,249 (relaxtheback.com)
“Because we have so much more information on sustainability and the mental health benefits of being in nature, there’s been a global push to appreciate the earth on a more intentional level,” explains Pat Mahan, co-founder of Phoenix-based Plant Solutions, which designs, fabricates and installs living plant walls. “People spend so much of their time in spaces constructed with solid surfaces, but when we install natural life into a person’s home, their energy level instantly changes.” 

Following this biophilic trend can be as simple as choosing natural finishes for your office, such as grass cloth wallcoverings or stone flooring, or opting for such organic furnishings as a live-edge wood desk or a rattan chair to add an earthy touch to your surroundings. If you’re looking for a unique way to keep close quarters with Mother Nature while you work, take Mahan’s advice and add a living plant wall to your home office. “So many people enjoy hobbies that take place outdoors—fishing, hiking, gardening—because being around nature is soothing and energizing,” he says. “If you reflect those same qualities in your workspace, you can get similar results.” Go all out with an accent wall sprouting verdant varieties of flora suitable for the indoors, or start small with a vertical succulent installation you can hang on your wall. With minimal upkeep and maximum benefits, going green in your workspace is easier than ever.

The Echo Dot’s “Alexa” app is on hand to answer questions, remind you of appointments and play your favorite tunes with simple voice commands. $50 (amazon.com)

A lush living wall in your office can bring the soothing qualities of the outside world to your indoor spaces. These custom installations can help filter air pollutants, increase oxygen circulation and function as a living art piece. Prices upon request. (plantsolutions.com)
From Inspired Elegance by Candice Olson, the ‘Haze’ natural grass cloth wallcovering adds a subtle hint of organic sophistication to a home office. $290/roll (yorkwall.com)

A live-edge maple desk can reconnect you to the curves and textures of nature while you work. $8,600 (arhaus.com)

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