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Create a Home Office That Works as Hard as You Do

Expert advice and new products that will help you design a space that meets the needs of modern life.

By Carly Scholl

Interior designer Kirsten Holmstedt created this chic home office that features two workspaces—a built-in surface and a freestanding desk—for organized efficiency.

The humble home office took on more responsibility than ever this year as people all over the world began working remotely due to coronavirus concern. For many, dining tables transformed into makeshift desks and pajamas became business-casual attire. Those fortunate enough to already have a predesignated room for their office perhaps had to learn to share with a new coworker or upgrade their technology to facilitate daily video conferences. As society continues to embrace this new normal, we turned to interior designer Kirsten Holmstedt for tips on creating the ideal home office for the modern world.

Functional Furnishings

“First and foremost, your workspace has to be comfortable and ergonomic,” explains Holmstedt. “But, of course, you don’t have to sacrifice form for function. There are so many great options for desk chairs that are aesthetically pleasing but still offer the kind of support your body needs if you spend most of your day sitting.”

The designer also notes that including multiple work surfaces in an office is a growing trend. “For example, you might want a built-in desk against a wall plus a stand-alone desk that you can maneuver between. This allows you to divide your attention and productivity, and it can also help if there is more than one person in your home who needs access to an office space.”

Get Organized

Holmstedt points out that while desks are becoming more streamlined and have less built-in drawers, it’s still important to keep your surfaces clutter-free with the help of efficient storage. “Organization is a huge consideration for your home office,” she explains. “But as the world becomes more and more digitally adapted and most of our important documents are on the computer, there is less need for massive shelving units or file cabinets. Instead, incorporate a cool vintage credenza or sideboard as a way to get creative with storage and infuse a sense of personality.”

Keeping your thoughts organized is just as important as ordering your papers and supplies, so invest in a dedicated visual space. A whiteboard or pinboard that can be mounted on a wall or set on casters can help bring your best ideas to life during brainstorming sessions.

Available in white oak or walnut (shown), the locally crafted Conrad Credenza is a more stylish storage option than bulky file cabinets or shelving units. $4,500 (

The rolling Goal Pinboard can help you organize your ideas and even act as a mobile partition if you’re sharing a workspace with a spouse or child. $500 (

As the world continues to go in the digital direction, massive desks outfitted with file cabinets and multiple drawers are becoming a thing of the past. Sleeker options, such as the Verena Glass-Top Sawhorse Desk, offer a clean workspace without adding too much visual weight to your home office. $990 (

High-Tech Amenities

“Connectivity and convenience are more important than ever, as everyone who is now working from their house is learning to adapt to new routines and new expectations,” says Holmstedt. The modern home office isn’t complete without smart technology, such as TVs with video conferencing capabilities, voice-activated assistants that can help with scheduling and to-do lists, and quality sound systems for when you need a power playlist to get you through the last hour of the workday.

Holmstedt also notes the importance of keeping your most important devices fully charged and within reach. “Having phone and computer cords and electrical outlets close to your main workspace is very helpful, especially if you don’t want to be interrupted by having to get up to plug in a dying laptop.”

The smart Serif TV can sync with your other devices and has video conferencing capabilities, making your weekly Zoom calls all the more convenient. Starting at $1,000. (

Above Peel and stick these multicolored Cable Catches around your desk to keep cords and chargers within reach. $10 for a set of four. ( Left The sculptural Beosound Balance speaker offers cutting-edge audio technology and voice control options for those who like to whistle while they work. $2,250 (

Decorate Your Way

“If your office looks put together and makes you feel great, you’re ultimately going to be more productive and want to spend your time there,” asserts the designer. “You want to incorporate design elements that are going to inspire creativity and efficiency, and those could be anything from paint color and floral arrangements to framed photos or a beloved collection of items on display.” Creating a shift in sensory stimulation when you walk into your office can also help get your mind on task. Pick out a signature candle or create a music playlist that you only use when you’re in your workspace to signify that it’s time to work.

Ample lighting, whether natural or artificial, is crucial for productivity and setting the right mood. “Oftentimes home offices are relegated to that unused extra room in the house that doesn’t have a lot of natural light, so go for a chic pendant or chandelier over your desk, or even some sconces flanking a bookcase that will make a statement and provide illumination where you need it most. And, of course, some desk lighting is great for keeping you focused on the task at hand.”

Adorn a focal wall in your office with a removeable wallcovering that inspires creativity whenever you walk in the room, such as the Garden mural in Metallic Champagne. $15/square foot. (

Keep your workspace clutter-free with luxe desktop accessories, such as a shagreen-and-brass envelope box. $695 (

The MySun Desklamp mimics natural sunlight with an LED bulb that slowly changes color and intensity throughout the day. $249-$289 (

Sleek and minimal, the Hector Dome Table Light won’t take up much valuable desk space but will provide crucial task lighting. $329-$449 (


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