5 Outdated Home Office Features That Buyers Always Notice

published Apr 4, 2023
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Gone are the days of a home office with a sparse, thrown-together look with zero personality. Workers are spending more time in these spaces and want them to look and feel good. And if you’re selling a home, an inviting home office can show buyers a well-designed WFH setup to accommodate people’s flexible schedules. 

Clearly, people’s attitudes toward the home office have shifted over the last three years; trends evolve as lifestyles change. Here are the home office features that are ready for an update. 

Executive Desks

The traditional home office with dark wood-paneled everything? Yeah, that design situation is blessedly a thing of the past. “The home office setups that scream ‘dated’ or ‘depressing’ are those with big clunky desks and huge shelving systems,” says Molly Marino, a real estate agent and home stager

Credit: Chameleon Design

Avoid the boardroom feel by opting for more modern or transitional furnishings that keep the space feeling open and spacious. “Choose a light and airy desk that appears more like a table than an old-school office desk,” adds Marino. 

Secluded Spaces

It’s a hybrid world for many people, and households have settled into their new normal of working from home a few days a week. As such, the home office is trending toward a more multifunctional space where people spend more time. “People are shifting away from single-use rooms and instead are keeping an office open to the rest of the home and its activities,” says Eve Lowey, president of interior design and model home staging firm Chameleon Design.

Non-Ergonomic Furnishings

Being uncomfortable is never in style. Sure, that acrylic side chair may look great, but your back and legs will scream in protest after sitting in one for a few hours. “While the focus will never stray from style, the interest in health and wellness is ever-growing, so we opt for ergonomic chairs, stand-up desks, or desks that double as exercise bikes,” says Lowey. 

Old-School Filing Cabinets

If you don’t want your home office to resemble a dentist’s office, skip the circa 1982 beige or gray filing cabinets. If you do have one, this type of cabinet is ripe for a makeover and can add a splash of color to your space. 

Living in a digital world also means you probably don’t really need a lot of filing space anyway. Marino recommends ditching the standard cabinet for furnishings with a lower profile. “Storage is essential in an office, so be creative and use low consoles with doors to hide the clutter instead of filing cabinets and shelving systems.” 

Credit: Chameleon Design

Moody Lighting

A soft glow may be lovely for a living room or bedroom, but it’s a no-no for anywhere you need to get work done, according to Lowey. “A lack of bright lighting is a faux pas when it comes to modern-day home offices.”

Think in layers of light and include multiple sources: an overhead or ambient light fixture, accent lighting like a wall sconce or floor lamp, and a desk lamp for task lighting. And because more people are on camera for virtual meetings, “There is a focus on adding in extra ring lights and plenty of decorative lighting,” adds Lowey. 

Type-Heavy Art

Mantras and awards are great for recognizing success and performance. But too many pieces of typographic art and trophies are a thing of the past, says Marino. For her clients, she recommends infusing the space with fewer accolades and more details that reflect their personalities. For a lighter and less intense feel, “Fill your space with a beautiful collage wall that integrates a few awards into it, but provides a more artistic and less obvious statement,” she says. Framed photos from travels, illustrations, or botanical prints are a few of Marino’s go-to pieces of home office wall decor.