How to set up a handsome home office

September 29, 2015

Pro tips for transforming blank wall space into a swanky study with a bar

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The idea of a home office is great in theory—when you have enough room to make it a reality. But for those of us with little square footage to play with, it takes a smart eye to carve out a study spot with style. We talked to stylist Peter Frank, who turned an overlooked section of a room into a chic workspace for a recent catalog. By using an up-to-date mix of modern and retro accessories and installing a bar shelf that’s easy to access, Frank convinced us that anyone could set up a stylish home office.

1. Start with a rich color palette. A bold palette establishes a tone that’s dramatic and inspirational. On the left, deep blue and gold palm print wallpaper says “I’m a boss” in a very smooth, stylish way. The best part: it’s removable, so you can change the look out when it tires you without damaging the walls. And on the right, a cool blue wall makes gold artwork even more eye-catching.
Home office decor and removable wall paper
Wall art for your home office
2. Lighten things up with accent pieces. To give this moody backdrop a breath of fresh air, incorporate bright accessories like a light cowhide rug, a shapely chair, and a modern wall shelf. None of the pieces match, but the combination creates a light, layered effect that’s inviting and authentic. The goal is to achieve a yin and yang of light and dark.
Cowhide rug
White chair
3. Metals make all the difference. And they don’t have to match either. Here, warm copper and brass accessories share space on the shelf with cooler silver and crystal items. The look adds visual interest while bringing out the metallic lines in the wallpaper.
Shelf set up as a bar with photos and candle accent pieces
Gold cube candle holder
4. Reference the past. Incorporating a mix of older styles can make your home office feel more natural and less contrived. But rather than pick up a bunch of thrift store furniture, look for items that pay homage to history. To reinforce the swanky ’40s feel of the wallpaper, pull in vintage-inspired items like the chair, crystal lamp, and pineapple ice bucket.
Swanky '40s feel crystal lamp
Swanky '40s feel pineapple ice bucket
5. But look ahead to the future. You want the room to feel right for right now, so opt for modern pieces like a clean-lined credenza, wall shelf, and contemporary picture frames. Place the credenza along the wall, ideally near a window, where you can take full advantage of light during the day. When the sun sets, flip on the lamp for a soft glow. Beyond the credenza’s clean work surface, it also offers sneaky storage below for papers and office supplies.
gold wire sculptures
Glass accent lamp for soft office lighting
6. Don’t forget cocktail hour. Perhaps the most important element in this whole ensemble? The bar. By arranging bottles on the shelf and accessories below, you can reach for a drink at 5 o’clock without ever leaving your seat. Cheers to that!
Bar set
Home office storage and accessories
Want to show off how you turned a forgotten space into an unforgettable place? Share a photo of your favorite decorating ideas with us on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #mycb2—or upload a photo to our site!

CATEGORIES: design lab