If your living room doubles as a dining room and a home office, you may not be as productive as you'd like to be on those days when you work from home. However, the right home office can help increase your productivity by inspiring creativity and allowing you to cancel out other distractions.
Whether you're considering transforming an unused guest room into a home office, or you have a little nook in a living space you can repurpose as a dedicated work zone, spending a little bit of time personalizing your approach will go a long way.
Here, we've rounded up our favorite modern offices to make Monday morning just that much better.
Add Simple Artwork
One way to make your office space feel more modern and contemporary is by adding a handful of beautiful black-and-white photography or ink sketches. Not only will a simple gallery wall above your computer add a bit of visual interest to your office space, but if you are sharing it with a room with another purpose, it can help define the space.
Before you attempt a gallery wall, lay out all of your photos on the ground, so you can arrange them just right.
Carve a Nook in the Kitchen
Who says a kitchen desk can't feel modern and updated? Here, a lovely little dedicated space in the kitchen creates the perfect desk for those moments when we really need to multitask. The color palette is clean and neutral, and the exposed shelving offers a perch for storage and decor.
Consider a Secretary Desk
If you're short on space, a quaint midcentury modern secretary desk like this one is perfect for nooks and crannies in your apartment. Creating a dedicated office space in a small home can be a challenge, but focus on eye-catching, modern pieces that make a statement without taking up too much real estate.
Try a Scandi Look
If you're hunting for a modern office space look that is streamlined and minimalist, consider a Scandinavian-inspired desk. This look is perfectly simple and understated, and gives you the freedom to accent as you please—without clashing with the larger aesthetic.
DIY a Desk for Two
The great thing about modern spaces is that they can be utterly simple and restrained in a way that makes them incredibly easy to DIY. Here, a simple piece of wood sits on top of filing cabinets to create a custom desk that's perfect for any space. This is a wonderful idea if you want to create a workspace for two or fit a desk into a challenging layout.
Add a Touch of Glam
Modern can mean many things to many different home decorators, which makes it a wonderfully flexible style that can be molded to suit any taste. Mix in a few feminine accents, such as gold-plated hardware or soft pink throw pillows, to add a touch of glam to your modern office space.
Experiment With Abstract Pieces
Splurging on a statement piece, such as this contemporary bold orange chair, is a great way to give your work-from-home space a ton of personality. Pair with a lacquered desk to give your office an ultra-modern feel and create a mirror effect that will make any space feel larger.
Embrace the Storage
The best work-from-home spaces are not only bright and welcoming, but they are incredibly functional as well. Consider what you enjoy about your employer's office space (or your favorite high-end corporate campus) and try to recreate that at home. Here, multiple modern filing cabinets offer the perfect out-of-sight storage.
Consider Storage That Blends In
We love a great shelfie as much as anyone, but sometimes a small office area doesn't have enough visual space for big, bulky bookshelves. Instead, opt for a wall unit in the same color as your wall to create a custom look and feel that won't make your room feel closed-in or small.
Boho is really having a moment right now, so why not embrace this look in your home office? Consider wicker or natural wood combined with a neutral color palette, and of course, plants. Go with cacti if you have the light, or opt for a house plant that requires less natural light if you don't live in a sunny climate.
Fall in Love With Moody Colors
While many modern office spaces tend to lean neutral, with white or gray color palettes, there's just something so soothing and cool about a deep, moody wall. A dark wall color, such as navy blue or hunter green, can help add endless depth to your room and make you feel concentrated and calm.
Bring Back Wallpaper
If you associate wallpaper with your grandma's kitchen, it's time to give it another chance. A bold graphic wallpaper is a great way to add an accent wall in your office and create visual interest without bringing in a lot of extra accessories or objects. For the least amount of effort and mess, consider a removable wallpaper.
Skip the Desk
A big, bulky desk can feel stuffy and outdated, so if you don't need a lot of storage space or extra drawers, consider repurposing a simple table to use as a desk. Because most of your files are probably stored in the cloud these days, you may not need all of those filing cabinets or drawers anyway.
Add a Funky Accent
While modern style is typical streamlined and devoid of unnecessary accents or embellishments, that doesn't mean it is boring. Look for unique pieces like these bookshelves that can offer a bit of personality and unexpected charm to your home office. Remember, if you work from home, you will be spending a lot of time there, so why not make it a room you love to walk into?
Bring the Outside In
A light-filled modern space lends itself beautifully to greenery and natural accents. Not only do plants help clean the air, but they can also help reduce fatigue and stress—which can help you focus on that presentation a little more closely. No natural light? Consider a faux greenery dupe instead.
Mix in Traditional Elements
Sure, modern spaces often rely on clean lines and sleek shapes, but that doesn't mean you can't experiment with adding in a few traditional pieces as well. A vintage desk with a few traditional embellishments can still feel modern if you keep the rest of the space simple and streamlined.
Opt for light walls and simple accessories to prevent any vintage, bulky furniture from feeling too heavy.
Carve Out a Corner
This modern boho office is everything we love about minimal and eclectic spaces, but we can't get enough of that oversized wicker chair in the corner. Not only does it add a fun element to the office, but it also provides a wonderful perch for those times you need to change it up and work from a different location.
Studies say that moving around during the day can improve productivity, so an accent chair can be a great addition to your office.
Pare it Down
Modern spaces work extremely well with pared down, minimalist decor. Opt for a few pieces of simple wall art or a few accents to create a neutral, calming space that doesn't feel cluttered or overdone. A monochrome color palette is another great way to keep your space clean and understated.
Add a Light Fixture
Getting the lighting right in your home office is essential for productivity, and swapping out an outdated light fixture is one of the easiest upgrades you can make to any room. This DIY can be done in a few hours and can take your work-from-home game to the next level.
While you can swap out some light fixtures on your own, it's worth calling in an electrician if you have a particularly difficult setup or you want to move your light fixture.
Paint the Ceiling
Painting your ceiling a darker color than your walls can create a cozy feeling in your office. This is a great option if you have a larger space that feels too cavernous or you want to add a touch of warmth to your modern office. Consider a cool blue or sophisticated, medium gray to give your room a touch of elegance.
Take Advantage of Natural Light
If you have a few rooms in your house you're considering turning into a home office, pick the one with the most natural light. Natural light not only makes a room feel bigger and more open, but it can aid in productivity and help ward off fatigue when that 3:00 lull starts to hit.
Lacking natural light throughout your home? Consider swapping out your standard lightbulbs for natural light options instead.
Find the Perfect Desk Lamp
Every desk needs adequate lighting, but you may want to stay away from oversized tabletop light fixtures in a modern office space. Instead, look for lamps with a small profile that offer directional lighting, so you can switch it up for any task at hand.
Keep it Monochrome
While some colors have been known to inspire creativity, a crisp, white office space can offer fewer distractions and allow you to introduce color in different ways. Add in a lot of greenery or colorful accents throughout the textiles in the room to ensure it doesn't come off feeling sterile or unfinished.
Utilize a Gray Color Palette
Another great monochrome color palette approach is to stick with a neutral or cool gray throughout the space. Gray is a calm tone that can reduce stress or tension, so it's perfect for an office—especially during those endless Zoom calls that can leave you feeling frustrated. Accessorize with white or black elements for an incredibly contemporary and chic look.
Add Open Shelving
While you may be reluctant to try open shelving in the kitchen, it's a great choice in a home office. Not only can a floating shelf add a custom look and feel to your office, but it provides a landing for accessories and helps add visual interest to a modern space without taking up too much real estate.
A few floating shelves are a simple DIY, but if you want a full wall, you may want to call in a handyman to get it right.
Go All Black
There is just something incredibly chic and cool about a black wall, and we can't get enough of it in an office. Black can give a home office a masculine edge and offers a wonderful backdrop for all of those Zoom calls. Ensure you have enough natural light in the space so it doesn't feel dreary, and mix in natural elements like wood or greenery.
Orange is a bold color that can spark energy and creativity in any room. Add it to a modern office space for the perfect palette to wake up your senses and keep those creative juices flowing all day long. Either paint an accent wall in a bright peach or rusty orange, or go all out and cover all four walls with a bold color while keeping the rest of the elements toned down and neutral.
Shiplap is a wonderful accent wall material for a modern farmhouse office space. It offers a lot of visual interest and a little bit of rustic elegance to the space, while still keeping it sleek and modern. Shiplap is a fairly easy DIY, and can be done as an accent wall or on the ceiling to create a cozy vibe in an otherwise clean, modern space.
Fit Furniture to Your Space
If you have a small New York apartment, you probably don't have room for an oversized corner desk, but that doesn't mean you can't carve out a WFH-friendly office space. If your square footage is at a premium, pick a desk that provides just enough workspace for what you need and nothing more. Unless you're frequently using your desk for other projects, room for a laptop is often enough.
Focus on Your Desk Chair
We know office furniture can be, well, less than beautiful. But hear us out—you should definitely prioritize your desk chair if you're spending hours sitting at your home office desk. The good news is that you can find a beautiful desk chair that's just as ergonomic as what you're used to at your corporate office. Look for options with great back support that promote good posture.
An M, Colarelli SM, O’Brien K, Boyajian ME. Why We Need More Nature at Work: Effects of Natural Elements and Sunlight on Employee Mental Health and Work Attitudes. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(5):e0155614. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0155614
Designing Your Office Space for Movement. Harvard University. 2016