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8 Practical Ideas From Spring 2020’s Popular Home Offices

For many people, working from home is the new reality. In fact, nothing in recent memory has transformed how we use and think about our homes quite like the sudden, demanding integration of remote work — for adults and kids. And everyone’s needs are different. For some, a slim tabletop to hold a laptop and a few supplies will suffice. For others, a full-on office with built-in storage, printer space and a door that closes is required. With that in mind, we looked at the most popular home office photos uploaded to Houzz in spring 2020 and gathered eight practical ideas you can use to update or inspire your workspace.

1. Design With Video Meetings in Mind

Videoconferencing has prompted many people to rethink their home office. Sure, you should spend some time thinking about how your background looks on camera (or you can download a virtual background from Houzz). But how you integrate your preferred videoconferencing screen is also important.

In this inviting two-person home office by JMorris Design, several screens offer flexible options for sitting or standing during video meetings, virtual events or online classes. Another nifty feature worth mentioning is the magnetic wallpaper installed behind the custom desk for posting notes, schedules or inspirational images.

2. Maximize Wall Storage

As you’ll see, wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling storage units play a big role in a lot of the most popular home office photos.

In this Boston home office designed by Eleven Interiors, a white-oak-and-steel storage system maximizes wall space. Drawers and cabinets conceal files and supplies, while shelves hold and organize books and decorative objects.

This beautiful Rhode Island office by Thayer Design Studio is light, bright and well-organized thanks to thoughtful built-ins. Bookshelves lend a library look, cabinet doors hide unsightly items and the tops of the cubbies and filing cabinets serve as work surfaces. Knotty wood provides warm contrast to the white.

3. Add Biophilic Elements to Promote Wellness

It’s important to stay energized and feeling good in a home office space. Adding biophilic design principles, which help a person feel connected to nature while indoors, is a good way of ensuring that happens.

Sharon Fox Designs integrated views of nature and natural elements in this San Diego office. Live plants, natural woven textures, wood, lots of light and a watery blue rug promote a soothing work environment.

Molly Solich Design created a serene nature-inspired workspace in this Houston home. The designer incorporated woven baskets and window treatments, botanical motifs via the drapes and light fixture, a natural fiber rug and bamboo wallpaper behind the shelves.

4. Consider an Office Nook

If your home doesn’t have a separate room that can serve as a hardworking office, find a spot for an office nook. A quiet room with few distractions is your best bet.

Interior designer Jannat Vasi created this beautiful office nook in a bedroom in an urban apartment in Mumbai, India. Walnut laminate cabinetry offers space to tuck everything out of sight — and mind — at the end of the workday.

Interior designer Jess Hunter created this office nook in an out-of-the-way spot off a kitchen in New South Wales, Australia. Black-painted wall slats and cabinetry help camouflage a large computer screen. A natural wood shelf, woven basket and creeping ivy add warmth.

5. Believe in the Benefits of Black

When balanced by other colors and natural light, black can be a good option for a home office because it’s said to have a grounding and calming effect.

In this raised office nook by Samalex in Adelaide, Australia, warm wood, lots of sunlight and white ceiling and trim paint help keep the black-painted walls from feeling too cave-like.

6. Collaborate in a Shared Office Space

Working couples, and working couples with kids, know that a divided workspace is key to having a productive day. If you have a busy household, consider splitting up a single large work area into multiple smaller ones so that more than one person can work at a time.

In this San Diego playroom and lounge by Cathie Hong Interiors, two designated homework spaces provide room to work in tandem. The design worked out so well that the homeowners asked Hong to design a similar setup in their own office space.

7. Make It Multifunctional

When designating a separate room for office work, consider optimizing the room to serve several functions. For this cheery room in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Meadowlark Design+Build created a high-functioning space with work, crafting, sewing and quilting in mind.

Custom cabinetry provides storage for all sorts of supplies. There’s extensive countertop space for projects. And a rolling island can serve as a standing workspace that can move to face different views or be closer to other stations.

8. Set Up a Reading Space

Even if you have the most ergonomic office chair, you still should take a break from sitting in front of a screen all day. Try to integrate a lounge chair with a footrest to take phone calls, open mail, read printed reports or meditate. Albers Design did just that with a comfortable armchair and ottoman in this home office in Mound, Minnesota.