How To Style Your Home Office


It’s 2016 and it’s back to work. Nothing beats the blues like giving your home office a spruce-up.

Working from home? Studying? Or just trying to keep up with your life admin? Have you considered whether your work environment is – well – working for you?

The home office is the haven for entrepreneurs, artists, and all scholars of life. Plus it’s the perfect place for locking the kids in with their homework… (Kidding. Not kidding.) A home office doesn’t have to be huge or even have it’s own room. And just because it’s a place of work doesn’t mean it has to bypass style! Putting a little thought into the set-up can lift your efficiency without limiting your aesthetic.

Classic Bulldog Bookend from Zuny, available online at Zanui.

In the interest of re-energising our state of mind for the New Year, designer James Treble has styled our back-to-work home office. And it’s pretty inspiring, if we do say so ourselves. 🙂

Whether you’re wanting to surf Wikipedia in peace or study the breeding calls of blue whales in your own cone of silence, these hints will help you create a space to suit and coax greater capacity from your intellect!

Attic Wall Clock from London Clock Company, available online at Zanui.

Match your home office to your overall aesthetic

It’s easy to get caught on either side of the home / office fence. Whilst creating a productive space that’s functionally driven is key, this doesn’t have to preclude style.

Create a seamless journey from room to room by carrying across colours and referencing your overall style in your decorative accents.


“Remember to think of your workspace as an extension of your living areas,” James says. “It’s a “home” office, so it should reflect who you are and the feeling you have created in your house.

This can work really well in open plan areas, so you don’t need to lock everything away if visitors arrive. It simply looks like it fits in with the rest of your home.”

From L to R: Vintage Map & Framed Print from Urban Nest Designs and Dahl Dining Chair from Zanui, available online at Zanui.

Consider ergonomics…

Ask yourself how often you intend to use this space. If this is an occasional alternative to your office, by all means opt for a svelte leather armchair and a vintage style desk. However if you’re going to be in residence for upwards of 50 hours a week, invest in an office chair that supports your spine.

Additional hints: your chair and desk height should enable your keyboard and forearms to sit parallel to the floor. And the top of your computer screen should be eye-level. This way as you scroll down your screen, your lids close slightly keeping your eyes moistened, avoiding eye fatigue.

Can’t argue with sense!

From L to R: Griffith Office Desk from Zanui and Heather Jute Rug from FAB Rugs, available online at Zanui.

Don’t OD on colour

There’s long been debate over which colours promote superior brain performance, with folks splitting for the large part into red and blue camps. In actuality, both these colours assist the grey matter.

According to a 2009 survey by the University of British Columbia, red gives rise to greater attention to detail (in accordance with its cultural association with danger – think WARNING, STOP signs and the like), whilst blue prompts creative and out-of-the-box thinking (blue connotes peace and tranquillity encouraging greater risk-taking and bold brainstorming).

Why not opt for a bit of both in your wall art or accessories?

Double Strap Tub Large from Amigos De Hoy, available online at Zanui.

Splashing your home office with bold block colours, however, is not advised. Too much visual stimulation can be distracting. Instead add in colour pops through rugs, throws, cushions and other décor accents like vases.

Pair timbers with black + white

James exploits organic textures and opulent neutrals in our home office to promote an open and inviting aesthetic. “It works so well in any Australian home and the mix of natural finishes creates a calming backdrop to keep you stress-free.”

A monochromatic colour scheme is clean and sleek – “It creates a calming workplace which you will be happy to spend time in!” he says.

From L to R: Chelsea Adjustable Desk Lamp from Casa Uno and Paperbag Kiki Pot (medium) from Serax, available online at Zanui. 

Banish clutter

Providing sufficient storage goes a long way to creating a cohesive look. And clean surfaces pave the way to clear thinking. At least so say the experts

Filing cabinets are not your only option. Bookshelves can also house your paperwork with the added advantage of showcasing decorative bowls and framed pictures. In this way, they add visual interest to your home office.

Dixon Chest of 5 Drawers from Dulton, available online at Zanui.

“I love using a mix of baskets and stylish tubs for storage needs!” James says. “It allows for heaps of hide away storage in a really interesting and elegant way, and provides lots of texture.”
From L to R: Caged Round Basket – Set of 2 from Mes Homewares and Recycled Paper Round Box – Set of 2 from Mes Homewares, available online at Zanui.

Stimulate thought through diverse lighting

A study by OSRAM and the Transfer Centre for Neuroscience and Learning in Germany (2011) found that light also affects our performance. Emulating natural light assists in achieving optimum alertness and concentration.

Our eyes also respond particularly well to multiple light sources, so lighting your space from above and simultaneously utilising desk lamps is advised. Desk lamps open up greater design opportunities as well.

Chelsea Adjustable Desk Lamp from Casa Uno, available online at Zanui.

For the uber-nerds like me (flick forward now if this is not you!): our eyes are “excited” by light sources with a high colour temperature. Cool white light sources with a colour temperature of over 6,500+ Kelvin, or 8,000+ Kelvin for best results.

Halogen lamps and other warm white lights can also be used, but higher intensities are needed to achieve the same optimum brain function.


Single Strap Canvas Tub Mini from Amigos De Hoy, available in raw and black  online at Zanui.

Mix metals and leather

Metals and leather spice up a neutral palette and add a dash of Mad Men style to your space. If all else fails, add whiskey – with just one rock – and have an affair. Or, if you’re a bit on the old-school side like me, start something new with your current squeeze. 😉

Adding in space for chillaxing is also advised – think a comfy armchair for browsing through your latest reports/trashy mags over a much-needed cup of caffeine.

Double Strap Tub Large from Amigos De Hoy, available in black, raw and khaki online at Zanui.

Finish up with a flash of green

Plants in chic pots and planters are a nice touch – they remind you that the world exists outside your own work-haven… 😉 Not so green in the thumb department? Artificial flowers and plants are your answer.

Voila! Your new home office is complete! Working hard for the money never felt so great!

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.