3 Home Office Trends on Their Way Out, According to the Pros

published Nov 4, 2021
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Credit: Viv Yapp

Remember that bonkers time in early 2020 when most of the world was sent home from their desks and told to pivot to remote teaching and learning for, oh, a couple weeks at most? And then two weeks turned into a year and a half and counting? And it feels like 100 years ago and 15 minutes ago at the same time?!

Nobody needs to read another piece dissecting every single thing that’s changed since the pandemic disrupted our lives, so I’ll just talk about one thing: home offices. From makeshift setups on the couch and camps at the dining room table to full-blown redecoration and renovation, home offices have transformed. I spoke with three design professionals about three work-from-home trends working their way out — keep them in mind if you’re planning to sell your home in the year ahead.

The “Temporary” Mentality 

March 2020 me would not believe the closet of matching sweatsuits I’ve collected over the past several months. What started as a strange few days of blissful WFH comfort has evolved into me looking like I could be found around-the-clock sipping an espresso outside Satriale’s with my uncle, Tony Soprano. What workers worldwide thought would eventually go away looks like it’s here to stay.

Georgia-based designer Elaine Griffin can sense her clients’ home office ennui when she shares, “I think it’s safe to say that the thrill is gone.” In accepting this fact, remote workers are transitioning into permanent home workspaces. “The key is that these spaces are decorated — they’re finished,” Griffin says. “They’re detailed, they’re fully loaded with all the bells and whistles that you would have ordinarily had at your office.”

With many companies offering stipends for home office equipment, remote workers are springing for the whole enchilada. Makeshift ring lights are now fully installed, dual monitors are connected, whiteboards adorn walls. For a Little While is out and Forever is in, so select accessories that make your office feel like a permanent space to potential buyers.

“Just Okay” Seating

A chair, a stool, a couch — in March 2020, we plopped down on whatever seating we had. Talk about a pain in the butt! I, a person who once could sort of do the splits, now struggles to bend at the waist at all. Doctors and booties alike agree: just any old chair won’t cut it anymore.

Griffin explains that in the past, “We didn’t have these fully kitted-out home offices.” Now that working from home is the real deal, office chairs are becoming investment pieces. While some workers are focused on the physical health benefits of some ergonomic chairs, others are seeking out statement pieces with the vigilance folks lend to selecting living room accent chairs.

Griffin shares that pre-pandemic, “No one had a really nice chair like at work that your boss can afford. You could cheap out on the chair.” Now, workers are trending toward using their stipends on seating. Keep a high-quality office chair in view ahead of an open house so potential buyers can envision themselves working in the space.

Credit: Minette Hand

Neutral Spaces

Seating trends are just one piece of evidence that home offices are being rebooted as rooms with character. “Back in the day, your home office was like the stepchild of your house — it was the last space that you finished, it was the one that was least luxuriously finished, and it was a space that was an afterthought,” Griffin says.

Daniela Benloulou and Nicole Graff, co-owners and principal designers for Los Angeles-based interior design firm Hamsa Home, agree, and are thrilled to share that those days are long gone. “The office is like the new powder room,” Graff says.

Benloulou and Graff have cranked up their show-stopping design skills for clients’ home offices. Benloulou explains, “People are embracing sides of their personalities that maybe they thought… wouldn’t be allowed in a professional setting back in the day, but now that everyone is working from home, it’s like showing off a little of your personality.” This is manifesting not just in the office supply selection, but in the decor itself, and especially the walls. 

Designers suspect that video conferencing is behind the recent focus on wall design. Benloulou shares that her clients care, “not only what they’re looking at, but what the other people on Zoom are seeing — they [don’t] want a sterile white backdrop.” So don’t be afraid to inject a little personality into your home office, even if traditional real estate wisdom says to keep the rooms of your home neutral. Buyers are likely to appreciate a little pizzazz.

Book collections, bold colors, and textured or patterned wallpaper are just a few of the personal touches designers are seeing. Don’t be afraid to let your freak flag fly — and be sure it’s hanging in your Zoom background!