Thinking about my home office - Juniper Home

Thinking about my home office


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Do you work from home like I do? A ton of my friends and their spouses do, too. And here’s another question: Do you work from home… on the couch? Be honest! I do sometimes even though we have an office space here at the loft. Sometimes I even work from bed when the kids are playing loudly and I need some quiet. I used to work really long hours in a more traditional office setting, so I know how lucky I am to get to answer emails in a sea of feather down and soft cotton (that is, until one of my arms falls asleep and my back starts rebelling!).

For the first time in almost seven years of working from home, when we move to Brooklyn I will have an office space that is very separate from our living and sleeping spaces (on it’s own level, and in a room with a DOOR!). While there are trade offs there too, it will probably be better for my mental health and productivity levels to have more separate work space. It’s just time, I think. Working in the loft’s office for the past two years has been great, though. It’s pretty and functional and I like that the look of the space compliments the living room and rest of the house, which is all open to each other.

Anyway, all this to say, I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of home offices, or maybe, more like a home base, where you can keep all your office stuff and maybe even sit down at when you really need to get things done.  One of my consulting clients has an adorable, but teeny apartment in the cutest neighborhood. She sometimes works from home, so we had to carve out a niche for a desk/console table that also functions as a dining table. That’s a hard-working table! And it looks great! It really is possible to fit in a work space into even the smallest city apartment. I’d love to share some ideas, but first, I’ll lay out some completely-biased-and-probably-not-fair-to-all-of-you personal opinions.

What I think you need in a home office:
– A pretty desk, with a place to put away your computer
– A cool-looking filing cabinet or other storage piece with large drawers (love the look of this one)
– An armoire or cupboard for storing your printer/scanner (vintage preferred – scour your craigslist!)
– A comfortable chair that provides good support (if you must have an “office chair”, invest in something good with a name like Miller/Eames)
– At least one lovely and interesting table lamp (sort of obsessing over this one)
– A rug to keep things soft underfoot
– Inspiring art

What I think you don’t necessarily need in a home office:
– A boxy, cubicle feeling computer desk unit with a million drawers and cubbies
– A cheesy, gooseneck “desk lamp”
– A rolling office chair
– A rolling chair plastic mat thing
– An inspiration board.

I can feel your eyebrows raising over the inspiration board comment. :) I think inspiration boards are cool. I even put up a couple cork boards in our old office. Here’s what I discovered though. It was just one more thing to keep up with. I never ended up changing or adding to the things on the board and I never really used them for work ideas. Looking back, some beautiful, inspiring art would have been a way better choice for me. Also, there’s this thing called Pinterest… :)

So, here are some options for you, depending on your space constraints.

If you have no floor space to dedicate to your home office, you can use your dining table to work on during the day. This wall-mounted laptop storage unit would be really helpful for putting everything away at night and keeping organized, and it requires absolutely zero floor space. I would paint the wall unit the same color as your walls so it blends in nicely.

IKEA also makes this great little laptop desk with a drop down, perforated bottom drawer. Cute as is in gray, or would paint up fabulously like any of the colorful options above or maybe try the DIY inlay painting?

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If you have even just a little bit of floor space, try using a secretary desk!

Elle Decor/Carrier and Co

I am a huge, huge fan of the secretary. Especially for us laptop users that like to roam around the house. Write a blog post during Conan and then shut that laptop away for the night. Out of sight, out of mind. 

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Hopefully, you also have space to keep a comfortable, upholstered side chair next to the secretary when not in use.

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I also like what Jordan and I came up with for her SF apartment.

If you do have room for a desk in your living room or bedroom, try adding a beautiful, leggy writing desk with just a couple drawers for lighter storage.

Sara Tuttle in High Gloss
Style at Home

Make the desk a focal piece instead of an eyesore. I would opt for a vintage or antique desk, something like these:

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Also don’t forget the bedroom as an office option! Try using a desk as a nightstand, just make sure you have a place to tuck away your work at the end of the day. It would be miserable sleeping next to a big pile of stress-inducers!

House and Home

And if you have an extra closet, by all means, have the hardware store cut you a piece of thick MDF to size and make a desk nook! This is an especially good idea for less-organized people. Just shut those doors when you want the mess gone.

Elle Decor

What’s your home office set up? Did I miss any small space/home office tips?

If you work from home, do you feel like it’s necessary to actually have a home office? Or are you more relaxed about your set up? One of my blogger friends technically works from home but she goes to a cafe everyday for a few hours to get her writing done and for a little change of scenery. What do you do?

What did you think?
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42 thoughts on “Thinking about my home office

  1. What a comprehensive post today Jenny! And TWO (!!) AWESOME posts in one day? I hope this is the new format for you blog! :) j/k i know you need a life! :)

    Amazing posts and thanks for taking the time to share with us every day!

  2. I agree with Sharon! It's a great twofer day! I'm excited to read this post again as I just got laid off and will be working from home myself now. Nothing like getting fired to encourage a leap of faith. Can't wait to start my interiors business.

    You are an inspiration Jenny!

  3. Love thinking about how to make my home office more efficient and better looking!! You always have the best tips Jenny. And I TOTALLY AGREE about the billboards! YES.

  4. Jenny, I love that you included that IKEA desk with the ventilation drawer! I've been eyeing that one and I'm so glad it has your stamp of approval! I'll probably paint it Safety Red! :)

    love LGN!

  5. love this post. We also found a lovely desk at West Elm that fit the modern look we were going for in the apartment. It's dark wood so it blends in to the apartment a bit and then we put lamps or books of bright colors on top. I don't work from home, but wish I could!

  6. I don't work from home (unfortunatly I am a typical cubicle rat) but I have a 2 bedroom condo and one of the room is basicaly a junk room where I put extra clothes a sofa bed and the cat's litter box (pretty pathetic). I'm the queen of procrastination so I haven't done anything with it but I dream of making it a home office/library (I collect books…..which takes a lot of space for some reason). These are great ideas and I have been looking around for an affordable antique desk. When I find the one I'll probably style the office around it. It'll be great…..when I get around to it.

  7. Jenny, Thank you for your wonderful posts!! I continue to marvel at the amount of valuable information your blog provides. I am in the midst of attempting to create an office/sewing room, so this post is extremely helpful.

    The amount of time you spend researching is very apparent, you are a true asset to the decorating industry. Thank you!!!

  8. It's so hard to work from home, I think, for the long term, without changing it up every once in a while. I have done so for 17 years, and I have done it all – dining room table, living room, separate office with door (heaven!) and cafes. My very least favorite was the bedroom, night table scenario — It was so depressing because I didn't have anywhere to "go" to relax at the end of the day. But in the end, yes, it is great to have the work at home option at all!

  9. My dining table doubles as my home office and my sideboard houses all my paperwork. When I don't want to see my piles of to-do lists, I just stuff it all in there. Also, because I don't have a legitimate office space, I can roam around the house and work where ever makes sense that day.

  10. I love this post – thoughtful, thorough, and timely as always! I primarily work in an office but need to bring work home a lot. After much searching I found the perfect drop-leaf dining table for my apartment that I re-purpose as my desk when I need to (with a TV tray for additional documents). But I'm lacking the right chair, which is everything when logging long hours on a computer. Love your suggestions for non-rolly chairs.

  11. These are all fab ideas! Great sources too! I have the west elm parson's in white…..I bought 2 and made an L shape…..ok…LOVE!!! One I use for my computer and the other one for actual writing (letters), paying bills…..It actually doesn not take up too much space and they look cute! with a grea lamp of course…fab wall paper!

  12. Wow this post is right on point for me right now as we're about to embark on a major remodel which will partially involve my current home office which is in the family room, and afterward we will be switching up the bedrooms of the kids – we have one room currently dedicated to toys which will become ALL MINE! I want to create a space (or spaces) that can accomodate an office (I work from home) as well as a homework zone, an art making zone, and also just a place for spacing out online which usually happens late at night while also watching tv (couch)! Trying to wrap my head around all these uses is confusing, but your post really helped me realize that some of the "stuff" of my home office can easily be hidden in the back room and we can just keep plugs & wifi accessible in our public spaces. Love the secretary desk idea and so many great photos. Thank you for this excellent and timely post!

  13. Very helpful Jenny. Thanks! One question though, we have room for a big desk and we often have 2 to three people wanting to work at the same time. Wondered what your thoughts are for purchasing or building a desk for something like that. Any thoughts on corner desks?

  14. hi, love your post about having a open home office. I am updating our old corner desk and am thinking of buying 2 vintage wooden bistrot tables (i live in paris) for this purpose.

  15. I gotta say your loft office space is absolutely incredible!! I'm going to pin it right now! So colorful and bright! All of your tips are right on time. As I move into a teeny tiny lease for interior design school in the fall, my bedroom will be doubling as office duty!

  16. Great Post full of ideas! I work from home and have a desk area, but find that a lot of my creative "thought" work takes place on the couch in the living room… And my desk becomes more a place where things get done.

    I also like the corner hutch/desk in Jordan's living room. It is decorative and versatile while also seeming to work well.

    Thanks for making this post so interesting.


  17. Nice, timely post – I actually have a home office, with a door, that I've been working on the past couple of weeks (got TIRED of all the pic's leaning against the wall and piles of things on the floor) – but I most often work at the dining room table (office is upstairs, but everything else is downstairs!) – so I probably don't need it! I'm SEARCHING for a chair in there. Currently, a spare dining chair is performing that task, but it's not so comfy for all day. I actually created my desk by covering a door with a faux leather and propping it on two sawhorse type bases from Ikea – I really like it,and like that it's not officey/cubicley.

  18. I am so glad to see this post – I need to redo our former bedroom, now office/guest room so I can actually work in it without screaming. I will bookmark your ideas – you have such great taste!

  19. Thank you Jenny for this post (and for EVERY post of your amazing blog ; you are one of my dailyreads!!)!

    Wanna show this to my man.

    My husband "need" a desk for "working" (aka : playing computer games :'-(). We don't have a separate office, so it is in our livingroom. And it is a nightmare to make it attractive.

    My man DO think he needs this :
    – A boxy, cubicle feeling computer desk unit with a million drawers and cubbies
    – A cheesy, gooseneck "desk lamp"
    – A rolling office chair

    AND he doesn't like thrift ( = vintage) :'-(((

    However, I managed to find a very lovely unexpensive office chair (this one but with weels : )

    and a ikea pull out frame ( to hide the printer in our besta TV/bookshelve/stoarge unit.

    That's it for the moment!!!! I am still struggling for a decent desk….

  20. I am fortunate to have a separate office the size of a bedroom, just off of the kitchen. I got this sleek white desk, which I'm super happy with. For storage I have the white IKEA Expedite cube shelves, kinda matchy-matchy, but I added reupholstered French chairs for color. Then I threw in more green accents – baskets from Target fit perfectly in the EXPEDIT shelves.

  21. Hi Jennny, I have been hoping to see your desk! I contacted you recently in hopes that you would post it. "I posted recently what's on your desk?" to try to see what bloggers do for work spaces. For me, I am mobile and though I roam my home so to speak I definitely love my office! Thanks for sharing.


  22. Hi Jenny! Thanks so much for the great post on offices! I couldn't agree with you more about inspiration boards! Being a Home Stager, I thought for sure that I should have an inspiration board in my home office. So, I bought one, and to this day, I haven't put one thing on it. Not one thing!! As you say, it's just another thing to keep up with. And, I'm sure that if I put a few things on there, I would never add to or change the board. So, I'm planning on taking the board down and putting up some fun, inspiring artwork! I love your blog…it's my very favorite! Have a great vacation, and good luck with the big move to Brooklyn!! Cheers, Barb xx

  23. Hi Jenny! Thanks so much for the great post on offices! I couldn't agree with you more about inspiration boards! Being a Home Stager, I thought for sure that I should have an inspiration board in my home office. So, I bought one, and to this day, I haven't put one thing on it. Not one thing!! As you say, it's just another thing to keep up with. And, I'm sure that if I put a few things on there, I would never add to or change the board. So, I'm planning on taking the board down and putting up some fun, inspiring artwork! I love your blog…it's my very favorite! Have a great vacation, and good luck with the big move to Brooklyn!! Cheers, Barb xx

  24. The office area of our home is definitely lacking but at this point I'm not doing much about it. If we're in this home for much longer then I will be doing something about it b/c it's bad. Our "office" is in the basement – bad desk, bad chair, bad light. The plus side is that I have a shelving unit that is functional and serves its purpose. I don't work at my full-time job from home, so I do my interiors work on the side from home at nights and on weekends. I really hope we have a dedicated space in our next home that will be for the office. If not, I'll use a few of these ideas as inspiration.

  25. Jenny, does your little antique folding step stool have a maker on it??? I have been trying to find one for years… I've been looking on eBay relentlessly and am just about to give up… Would love your input!

  26. I love your blog and look forward to reading every day. I just recently stopped working from home to be a full time SAHM and i must say that not having an actual office space made it challenging, Especially conference calls with a toddler running around! I adore the Inspiration Board pic! This was actually my inspiration picture for a dresser to media console project that I just completed.

  27. I just recently subscribed to your blog and I love it!! You have so many great ideas (that actually come in at my budget!!). Have you ever limed anything (I am thinking about doing a wood framed chair)? If so, do you have any product recommendations?

  28. My husband just built me a counter/desk in our very tiny guest room. It is the height of the windows, so I have natural light while taking pictures of the vintage items I sell online! He used laminate flooring that looks like wood to line the top, and it is super cute. I don't think it cost very much, because he took apart an old small ikea table and used the legs and the part under the top (the apron?) to support the plywood desk! I am a lucky duck!

  29. I don't work from home but I spend a lot of time blogging so I really need a space of my own (I currently blog with my laptop on my lap on the sofa and my arms and legs regularly go to sleep)! Since we have a tiny London house, space is limited so I love the idea of using a secretary's desk. Thanks for the fantastic inspiration!

  30. My home office consists of a vintage desk and a bookcase that's been painted chocolate brown on the outside and celery green for the interior.

    I'm happy to see that I'm not the only one who doesn't care for inspiration boards (and for the same reason). I've lined my shelves with storage racks full of colorful supplies, which is almost as good as artwork.

  31. Ah yes, the comfort of working at home is such a privilege. And yes, I do admit that a lot of times when laziness hits me, I become a couch potato and spend half of the day sitting or burying myself under the pillows. It's nice to know that you were going to have a real office inside your home. By the way, I'm also thinking of renovating my old room to an office and your post just gave me a lot of ideas. Thanks for sharing this, Jenny!

    Clayton Steadham

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