Working From Home: Six Ideas for Home Offices

Elissa Morgante, AIA

Elissa Morgante, AIA
Founding Partner at Award Winning Chicago Architects, Morgante Wilson

Apr 27, 2020 - 5 min read


Working From Home: Six Ideas for Home Offices

Working from home used to mean a rare, pleasurable day trading commute time for a few extra hours of productivity. Or minding your business while caring for a sick child. Or maybe, if you were one of a lucky few, it meant traveling from your bedroom to your own personal boardroom in a bathrobe, coffee cup in hand, working the morning away with a napping dog at your feet and the sun shining through your window. Now that so many of us are working from home with no end in sight, we’re revisiting a few of our favorite home offices. Here are six ideas to inspire your own work-from-home space:

1. Design with intention

Nothing says work spaces have to feel utilitarian. Sure, this home office features an ergonomic chair and an expansive desk top with plenty of surface area to spread out. But it also showcases smartly designed custom millwork that mixes homey display space with concealed storage, all painted a calming blue. Framed artwork and a sculptural desk lamp bring living room-worthy style to the office, making it feel less like a place of toil and more like the kind of stylish, cozy room we’d love to spend an afternoon in.

2. Be flexible

Fred and I have written before about the many unique design decisions we made when we built our house. And our home-office-slash-dining-room is no exception. One long, multi-purpose space, it features a large dining table that’s actually made up of two smaller tables-cum-desks, giving us plenty of choice in terms of how we work from home. We can sit together at the dining table and cover it with blueprints and plans while we collaborate on client projects. Or we can split the table into two even halves, giving each of us our own separate work area in a single shared room. We love the versatility of this space, which has turned out to be one of the best design decisions we’ve ever made as architects. (Note the framed gallery wall, which personalizes this room even more.)

3. Be dramatic

Our client wanted pattern, personality and a playful spirit – and she got it, thanks to animal-inspired floor covering and equally busy chair upholstery. Black-painted millwork unites the two patterns; sunny yellow draperies brighten the whole vibe. A feminine desk with shallow drawers and slender legs contributes to the airy mood; a brass-studded leather stool offers a second seating option. We can easily see spending the day here and remaining energized by our surroundings from morning until night.

4. Layer the interest

This is one of our favorite eclectic home office spaces thanks to layer upon layer of texture. We know of no better way to make a room feel warm, inviting, collected and personal. A channel-tufted leather chair is a sophisticated yet comfortable choice for seating; casters on the base of the custom metal conference table make for easy mobility when the occasion calls for a little more room here or there. A hair hide rug rests beneath an antique rug for a super cozy feel; antiqued mirror lining some of the bookshelves reflects light.

5. Think architecturally

Who says a home office needs to be utilitarian – or even square? This one bends all the “rules,” beginning with its appealing octagonal shape and its curved bank of windows. Recessed shelves tuck into wall space for added charm; varied drawers and cabinets keep files and equipment close at hand, but out of sight. Other favorite details include the “green” wallpaper that doubles as a corkboard, and the wood desk top fabricated from a tree that once stood on this home’s property

6. Skip the office altogether

We know not everyone has the room – or the desire – for a dedicated office in their home. Right now, many of us are making do with whatever kind of work space we can manage to carve out for ourselves. And what better way to do that than settling a small desk beneath a pretty window and enjoying the view while you work? It’s simple, smart, practical, and inexpensive. Need we say more?

You can see some of our other work-from-home spaces – including those of our talented architects and interior designers – on Instagram. Take a look and get inspired!

Read other related blog posts from Chicago’s award-winning interior design and residential architects Morgante Wilson.

Morgante Wilson Architects provides architectural and interior design services in Chicago, Deerfield, Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Kenilworth, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Northbrook, Northfield, Ravinia, Wilmette and Winnetka – along with Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Utah, Wisconsin and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Elissa Morgante, AIA

Elissa Morgante, AIA

Founding Partner at Award Winning Chicago Architects, Morgante Wilson