Mansion Global tackles an interior design topic with an elite group of designers from around the world who work on luxury properties. This week we look at how to design a room you’ll actually want to work in, too.
Whether you have your own business or an office culture that enables you to work from home on the regular, creating balance is key, both in mentality and design.
When your space is such that you need to integrate both, doing so seamlessly and stylishly is a matter of getting creative. We asked design pros for their top tips on merging form and function.
Consider the Space Itself
“It is important to ensure the materials used in the workspace relate to the rest of the living space. Our clients wouldn’t usually want the working space to be the focal point of the room, so we carefully select materials to ensure the workspace is subtle and balanced with the rest of the living area.
"Linking the finishes of the office to the joinery and furniture of the living space to create the feeling that it ‘belongs’ is key. One way to do this is by using a metal trim on the desk that relates to a side table or coffee table in the space, or a leather inlay to make it more tactile while creating a softer look in a living room.
"Where to put the office space depends on the client’s requirements. If they work in a relaxed manner, then having it in the center of the room allows for appreciation of the views in the space and interaction with others in the room. If they want more privacy or a quieter feel, we tend to position the office space at the back of a room or to one side. Having a desk behind a sofa looking onto the living space is a really nice way to subtly incorporate office space.
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"Furniture should be timeless and work in a space for years to come. Consider an upholstered desk chair that ties in with the look and feel of the living room furniture. For a more traditional feel, a classic writing desk can be finished to accent existing joinery in the room.
— Tabitha Pethick Money, lead senior designer Taylor Howes London
Create a Space Within a Space
"A space within a space needs to be different, but still complement its surroundings. Use textiles with different textures or patterns in the same color family to make a space stand out without feeling disjointed. The same concept applies to lighting fixtures. By using similar finishes or shapes—but not both—you can make the space feel stylistically cohesive while still separate.
"We love utilizing floating desks or corner desks to maximize space—especially in youth rooms. Install a floating desk over a dresser for additional storage.
"I like to separate spaces by giving each area its own light source, carpet or unique art installation. At Woolworth Tower [in New York], we put an office nook in a secondary bedroom by sectioning off with a dramatic gallery wall.
"You can make an at-home office wherever your square footage permits, but we suggest staying away from a master bedroom office. The bedroom is supposed to be a respite from the day; it’s not proper Feng Shui.
"You don’t have to be a wallflower to fit in. The same rule applies to designing a workspace in an existing room. Carry over some, but not all, of your choices and your space will be different without feeling disjointed. You can also add new features to your space like a lighting fixture, textural carpet, or art installation that is in keeping with your existing color palette.”
— Cheryl Eisen, founder of Interior Marketing Group in New York City