For our September 2020 issue, Good Housekeeping teamed up with Chatbooks, an app-based photo-book company, to scour the U.S. and Canada for the smartest and most beautiful home office setups. What we found, done by both apartment dwellers and homeowners, just may inspire you to take your own work-from-home space to the next level.
Add a Cozy Sofa
Kari Bancroft, a stay-at-home mom in South Jordan, UT, decided to think beyond hard, uncomfortable chairs in her home office. Instead, she outfitted the space with a plush emerald green sofa that pairs well with her beloved animal prints and global-inspired pottery. The sofa works for her lifestyle too: She is mom to eight kids, ages 4 to 20, and uses her office space to read and to organize her many family photos. “My overall home office decorating approach is to showcase an eclectic mix of the things I love and make sure it functions as a versatile space,” she says.
Hang a Desk on the Wall
Rachel Mae Smith, whose blog is The Crafted Life, created her low-profile New York City office with a wall-mounted desk for two supported by a track shelving system. Pops of color, including brackets spray-painted in bright hues and dyed fabric swatches, pull the fun look together.
Consider High Shelves
Graphic designer and new mom Ashley Smith transformed a cedar-lined closet with white paint and high shelving for books and decorative storage. Ashley elevated the look with DIY display boards made from wood scraps. “I added some stain, wire and clips, and they became the perfect spot to hang anything important, like bills, invites and children’s artwork,” she says. Plus, she made a simple built-in desk for her large desktop. “We used inexpensive 1″ x 2″ common boards as supports underneath, then added a nice maple 3/4″ plywood top and 1″ x 3″ trim board to the front,” she says of the desk design in her Pittsburg, KS, home.
Take Advantage of a Chic Nook
Kaitlyn Fast of Birmingham, AL, let a large mirror set the foundation for her minimalist office nook. “It reflects all the natural light we have in this room and makes it easy to switch out the decor and flowers as each new season arrives,” she says.
Put Your Office by the Stairs
With the help of her husband, Russel, Lindi Vanderschaaf turned an empty wall next to the stairs on the first floor of their Grande Prairie, Canada, home into a functional workspace. Russel made the desktop and shelves from stained plywood, which balances the design’s black-and-white color scheme. “The white of the desk drawers and walls really helps define the space,” Lindi says. “It almost feels like its own room now.”
Paint a Brick Wall
Megan Leonard of the lifestyle brand Our City Nest lives in Baltimore, a city known for row homes with exposed brick walls. So it only made sense to showcase this detail in her office space. “It provides an instant texture throughout my home that I love to pair with wood accents,” she says.
Make a Desk Out of Two Basic Dressers
After Sara Johnston’s 5-year-old son began feeling left out with her and her husband working from their Ontario, Canada, home, they decided to make an office for him right in the living room. “We painted two old IKEA dressers with leftover white paint and asked a local lumber provider for the top, which just happened to be shelving cut down to this specific size,” she says.
Turn Your Closet into an Office
Party stylist Kelsey Klos, who lives in Petaluma, CA, with her husband and three daughters under 5, transformed a closet into a simple but vibrant workstation. She used clear refrigerator organization bins to store supplies, cake stands to stack work projects, and playful accessories, like a rainbow garland, to show off her style.
Set Up a Workspace in Your Kitchen
Heather Keeling and her family of five decided to turn a corner of the kitchen in their Portland, OR, home into a bright and comfy work area. They opted for contemporary touches to achieve contrast. “The baby-blue penny tile is the perfect bridge between the 1960s and the modern day,” Heather says. Custom shelving, inspired by a mid-century modern credenza, completes the look.
Capture Your Home Office and More!
joined forces with , a company that makes affordable, high-quality photo books. These albums are great for displaying your favorite family photos or even before-and-after shots of a recent home project — think of them as personalized coffee table books. Just download the and create an Ongoing Photo Book Series, and then for every 60 photos uploaded from your Instagram or camera roll it automatically creates a new book (starting at $10).
Monique Valeris is the senior home editor for Good Housekeeping, where she oversees the brand’s home decorating coverage across print and digital. Prior to joining GH in 2020, she was the digital editor at Elle Decor. In her current role, she explores everything from design trends and home tours to lifestyle product recommendations, including writing her monthly column, “What’s in My Cart.”