Home Office Ideas

It’s a tricky time of year; some are going off on holiday and don’t want to think about work, while others aren’t going away this summer, or have already been, and are forced to think about work. I have been helping a friend redecorate his house which has involved planning study areas for his daughters’ bedrooms. But, at the same time, I only want to think about the beach and the endless instagrams from people who are already there are vexing me slightly.

So what to do? Well, I do know you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but here, in a shameless attempt to curry favour with everybody (can’t blame a girl for trying) are some gorgeous home office spaces to inspire the workers and a couple of idyllic holiday scenes that will hopefully relax the senses and not inspire fits of jealousy.


I was ridiculously pleased to rediscover this picture on Pinterest the other day. I had ripped the original out from an old copy of Elle Deco a few years ago and it was on my moodboard for ages (until I lost it). When we were designing the kitchen I had planned to recreate this all along the wall on the left hand side of the photo. kitchen kitchen

I wanted a seamless wall of cupboards, that when closed, would disappear but when the double doors opened would reveal a desk for each member of the family – well the boys would have shared. The idea was not that anyone would be forced to spend hours working in a cupboard, but that it would be a great place for a short bout of homework and, more importantly, storage for phones, chargers, computers, bits of paper, post and all that stuff that just clutters up a kitchen worktop.

In the end we decided it would bring the walls in too much and make the room seem narrow, so we built half cupboards and the top is as predictably cluttered (although clearly not in that show photo) as you might expect.

bookshelves via freya smellie
this is a fantastic idea for a narrow space via freya smellie

I still think it’s a brilliant idea though and I have repurposed for it friend’s daughter who has two fitted wardrobes in the alcoves in her bedroom. She doesn’t, yet, need all that clothes storage and it’s a great place to fit a desk so she can close the doors when she doesn’t need to work. It also frees up floorspace for beanbags for herself and her mates to hang out.

Meanwhile, back in the Mad House, the issue of how to make the spareroom/study/kids’ den fit for three purposes still rumbles on. I would love to work in there but himself has positioned the desk in such a way that I can’t possibly sit at it and the black storage unit – which has never (and will never) made its way into a photograph – practically makes me weep every time I see it.

black and white filing via dustjacketattic
black and white filing via

But we have made a minor break through. Come September there will be shelves. Like the ones below, they will go all along one wall, round the corner and between the two windows so that they will be a feature in themselves. They will be wide enough for white box files (black for him) and with enough space between to prop pictures like this.

white office shelves via decorista
white office shelves via decorista

Once that has been done, the room will start to take shape and, if I can slightly nudge the postion of the desk, I intend to take up residence between the hours of 9 and 3. And in the meantime, as promised:

via desiree vosgeparis
via desiree vosgeparis: summer moodboard

Whether you are on or off holiday, I wish you all a very happy summer.

Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.