Joining the UK's growing home-worker community some time soon? Here's Gabrielle Fagan's guide to stylish home office essentials

Opting to work from home may seem an easy way to slip away from the time-wasting and stress of commuting, office politics and irritating bosses, but to be successful, it's essential you do your homework first.

That work space can be anything, from a designated room to a small corner on a landing, or even a garden shed. Whatever your base, it will need to be well-equipped and functional to ensure you're able to be productive, organised and efficient - but also stylishly designed and comfortable, so you enjoy the experience when you join the estimated four million people who've already made home their work base.

"The average person requires a lot of discipline and motivation to successfully work from home, often because of the lack of separation from the distractions of home," says Emma Brindley, group interior design manager at Redrow Homes. "But when the balance is right, the results can be profound. There's less stress, no difficult colleagues to contend with, and you can tailor your environment to perfectly fit your needs.

"You should aim for a setting which inspires you, appeals to your taste and, if necessary, is also suitable for hosting meetings," she adds. "Often we find these areas may be multipurpose and used as a library or study for children in the family, somewhere to deal with household admin, or a place to enjoy a hobby."

Follow our guide to three winning styles for home offices...


Your work space can be a haven of calm if you choose a soft pastel colour scheme and avoid clutter.

"It can be difficult disciplining yourself if you're working from home, as there are often so many distractions around you. The right decor's key when creating a motivational environment, and a simple colour scheme with pastel shades can really make a difference," says David Roebuck, managing director at online blinds retailer, Direct Blinds.

"Use a window blind which tones with the rest of the colours used for the walls or furniture, and add a rug in complementing shades. That will give the space an identity and you can conjure an informal style enlivened by colourful touches, which will be a brilliant contrast to the grey uniformity of a standard office."

Tip: If your desk is in a living area, it can be hard to distance yourself from work at the end of the day - consider disguising it with a folding screen.

Work wise: A dining table which doubles as a workstation is a good choice if you're space-starved. Furniture Choice's Vila White Gloss Table, £369.99 (available in March); could be paired with its white Leon Leather Dining Chair, £39.99.

George Home's Sadie Dining Table with four chairs, £249, comes in three appealing shades: pink, grey and duck egg (available from February 20). Its grey wooden Wyatt Dining Chairs, £130 each, would also look good.

Express your personality with accessories: A wall-mounted white Cloud Storage Pot, £11.90, Red Candy; a bright pink Leitmotiv Z Lamp, £29, Furnish, and for clock-watchers, a Hometime Light Pink Wall Clock, £19, JD Williams.


A monochrome scheme, a compact desk and slim storage will integrate easily into an open-plan living area.

"We've noticed a rising trend on Houzz for flexible work stations in kitchens, living rooms and even hallways," says Victoria Harrison, editor of online home design destination,

"The kitchen's undoubtedly one of the most popular areas to site a home office, as our research found around a third of homeowners used that area, while seven per cent were specifically renovating that area so they incorporate a work or study space into it."

Tip: Transform a wall with chalkboard paint, which will not only 'zone' the office area but help you stay organised if you use it to display lists, plans, notes and dates. Colours Black Matt Chalkboard Paint, £11.73 for a litre, B&Q; or Rust-Oleum Black Chalkboard Paint, £11.99 for 750ml, and Magnetic Chalkboard Paint, £14.99 for 750ml, both from Homebase.

Work wise: A smart office needn't cost a fortune. JD Williams Pemberton Computer Work Centre is a snip at £119, and you could stay within budget with a Brooklyn Office Chair, currently reduced to £69 from £99, Very.

If you want to splash out on finishing touches, Furnish has a Nordic Desk Lamp Charcoal Shade With Brass Stand, £180. Refurb a window with a black and white stripe Roman blind, from £123, Apollo Blinds.

Dramatic backdrops for a home office can help spark creativity: oversized graphic motifs, images, paintings and mood boards will make your space pop and create an inspiring atmosphere. Photowall has a stunning Himalaya canvas, from £82 a square metre.


"With many more people opting to work from home to achieve a more positive work-life balance, the office is starting to become a staple part of our personal space," says Brindley.

"A substantial office at the back of the home, hidden from the hustle and bustle, is fast becoming an essential feature in our show homes. It's about making it as inspirational as possible, and in a style which suits your taste and needs.

"If you're creative, you'll probably want to display work, so consider cork boards and chalk boards and frame in copper for a contemporary effect. A bookcase filling an entire wall is a classic addition to an office, whether you opt for a traditional dark oak, a more modern pale wood open shelf feel or luxurious gold finish. Wire baskets and weathered wooden crates will conjure an on-trend industrial look."

Tip: Personalise a space with a small wall gallery of family and friends, or consider a shelf for personal momentos.

Work wise: Even the most awkward spaces, such as under the stairs or roof eves, can be utilised as a bespoke fitted work space. Neville Johnson are specialists, and a polished and painted wood Watts Barn Home Office starts from £3,000.

A desk to impress is essential if clients visit your space, and a classic partner's desk, an Edward Weathered Oak Desk With Cupboard, £2,495, OKA, could be a good choice. OKA also has excellent desk accessories, including a Rattan A4 Paper & Letter Tray, £38. A Blaine Kneehole Desk in a striking rustic pine, £599, Alexander & Pearl, is equally handsome. Old school Hanson leather desk accessories, including a Pen Pot, £17, and Storage Box, £33, Neptune, would add an air of a luxury.