May 22, 2024

The steady cadence of companies announcing options for permanent remote work is an indicator that WFH is here for the long-haul. Which means investing some extra time and money into turning a makeshift space into one that is designed for long-term focus, comfort and success. Whether it be a smartly set up living room corner or a fully curated home office, there are a handful of tools that can keep any WFH space mindful, beautiful, comfortable, healthy and clutter-free. Below, interior designers and work-from-home experts share some of their best advice and top product recommendations for creating a space that promotes ultimate focus.

Clean Air

Jairo Vives, lead architect at Pininfarina of America, suggests, “Air quality and sources of natural light are more important than ever, now that most of us have spent months in our residential environments. Some of the ways in which we can improve air quality is by filtering natural air through plants, such as English Ivy, aloe vera, and chrysanthemums. There are also various versatile air purifier systems on the market, ranging from desktop fans to state-of-the-art advanced machines.” Coway’s Airmega air purifiers regularly receive top marks for both the heavy duty 400S model as well as the more affordable 200M model.

Comfortable Seating

As someone who spent the first half of the pandemic sitting on a too-tall, too-hard iron saddle stool before finally upgrading to something a little more ergonomic, a comfortable chair makes all the difference. Nearly every interior design agrees. Designer Alison Giese of Alison Giese Interiors suggests, “chairs that have casters for easy movement, as well as the ability to change the seat height.” Kendra Ovesen of furniture rental startup Feather recommends, “a chair and a desk that can sustain you through long stretches of focus time.” Many designers, Ovesen included, recommend Herman Miller chairs for their marriage of form and function. But for  those working with tighter budgets, new DTC furniture startup Branch makes the more affordable Branch Ergonomic Chair. It’s become a hot ticket with WFH, having already sold out five times since the beginning of March.

Desk Storage

Designer Anne Carr of Anne Carr Design recommends, “Large desks that are open, more similar to tables, and you can buy a drawer cabinet or filing cabinet from the Container Store to place under them.” Their minimal designs are simple and stylish, and almost every item is offered in neutrals, so they really fit into most home office designs.” On-desk storage options for corralling paper clutter include sturdy, cheerful wire baskets and accessories tray by Open Spaces

Pictures to inspire 

Designer Erin Hackett suggests that, “When it comes to working from home, organization is key… Additionally, keeping a beautiful workspace that feels good is just as important. We’re huge fans of implementing playful art, pictures, fun frames, colorful vases, pencils, etc. that can easily add enjoyment to your space.” An easy solution for adding in pictures that bring joy with maintaining a clutter-free workspace is a digital frame. Aura’s Carver Frame, available in black and white, can store unlimited amounts of images uploaded from anyone invited to contribute to the frame. As for budget-friendly artwork to display, Minted offers a large selection of limited-edition photography and prints by up-and-coming and award-winning artists in a range of styles.

Soothing Wall Color

Designers are aligned on the fact that a soothing wall color promotes focus and alleviates stress, but exactly which color family is where opinions differ. Ashley Banbury, Senior Color Designer for HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams suggests that, “Shades of blue are great choices for workspaces, it promotes productivity and great for concentration. Honest Blue (HGSW2386) from Softer Side Color Collection is a beautiful blue that feels sophisticated and elegant!” Erika Woelfel, VP of Color and Creative Services for Behr Paint, suggests looking into neutral, restorative tones from the brand’s new Color Trends 2021 Palette. She suggests Behr’s Modern Mocha, a grounded brown, or Almond Wisp, a comfortable buff shade. To touch on biophilic trends of pulling the outdoors in, she suggests Royal Orchard, an olive-inspired green for a restorative sense of nature.” 

 Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams recommends, “If you want your space to feel a bit more soothing and promote focus, I recommend a soothing neutral like Fawn Brindle SW 7640. It’s a lovely warm greige that will calm the mind and it pairs well with everything, so it will fade right into the background behind your other office décor”

Clutter Management

The best of clutter-free intentions can seem to undo themselves as soon as we dig back into our desk habits. Cord-free (or at least cord-lessening) solutions can help keep the tech clutter at bay. HGTV interior designer Leanne Ford of ‘Restored by the Fords’ suggests that, “To stay focused, I like to keep my phone and cords out of sight but accessible (and of course, nice looking!) and the Legrand radiant Wireless Charger is perfect for that. Clean desk, clear mind.” Courant’s wireless Catch:3 charger is a chic wireless charging device and accessories tray.

Calming Scent

Designer Mary Patton of Mary Patton Design suggests that the recipe for creating a quiet and organized home office, regardless of whether it’s a stand-alone room or part a bedroom or dining room is simple. She recommends acrylic desk organizers, a house plant and ‘a beautiful, scented candle.’ Tennessee-based Thistle Farms creates a Healing Collection line of soy-based, natural ingredient-rich candles with individual scents named for Balance, Calm and Focus. Each purchase of a Thistle Farms candle go to support the non-profit organization’s mission to help women survivors of abuse, trauma and addiction.

Intentional Lighting

Studies have shown that natural light has been proven to boost productivity, and trained eyes are not conducive to long hours of screen-staring. Designer Patrick Planeta of Planeta Design Group shares, “When working from home, good lighting is key. My go-to desk lamp is Juniper’s Thin Task Lamp. This lamp redefines minimal lighting providing great light with a heavy base to allow for a no tip solution. When designing a space for my clients, I also want to make sure that each piece is both aesthetically pleasing, and functional.” Scott Goldblatt, Director of Marketing for furniture rental brand Fernish suggests to, “Start by replacing harsh overhead lighting with a variety of floor and table lamps (or even candles!) to create a sort of “magic hour” light quality indoors. Not only is this lighting more soothing and better for concentrating, it’s also more flattering.” Designer Anne Carr suggests on-desk lamps can be ‘calming’. I’ve found that for desk lamps that prioritize form and function with plenty of options under $100, has solid options, such as the Miller.


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