The Home Office: Balancing Comfort, Function, and Style

For those of us who work from home, the question of how to integrate the office into the home can be a tough one. Of course the workspace needs to encourage productivity and discourage procrastination, but if it's in your home it also needs to express your family's personal style and maintain a warm, inviting vibe. This is a balance we've been struggling with in our own workspace, and lots of our curees this spring seem to be dealing with the home office too. So we went poking around for a little inspiration...Here are a few factors you might want to consider when creating your own workspace at home:

Color. In a traditional workplace there isn't much choice as far as color goes. But at home, you can think about what kinds of colors will inspire you to get work done. Do bright shades energize you, or do they stress you out? Do you prefer a serene all-white environment, or will an excess of white give you headaches?

Artwork. Hanging art in an office is difficult; you want pieces that won't be distracting, but will still inspire your own creativity. Try hanging groups of matching frames for an organized, disciplined feel. Or go with a single strong statement piece to emphasize your confidence and boldness.

The office chair. No matter what, a desk chair obviously has to be comfortable, but that doesn't mean you've got to sacrifice style. These days there are many good quality knockoffs of Eames-era office chairs available... craigslist is also a great source for the real thing!

Accent furniture. We like to have an extra comfy chair in our office; with a laptop, it's sometimes nice (and easier on the butt) to move from one seat to another in the middle of a work session. But loading up an office with comfortable furniture encourages other distractions (like napping); and if you work at home, you know that there are already plenty of these to go around. If you know you're prone to distraction, keep the accent furniture to a minimum.

Feel free to weigh in! What are your tips for achieving the balance of function and style in your office at home?

Photos: Living Etc, House to Home, Domino, Design*Sponge, Desire to Inspire

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