How to design a home office

Whether you work from home or you're in need of space to manage life admin, we explain the home office design layout and style options you need to consider before building a work space.

By Emily Brooks | 4 March 2019

We show you how to incorporate home office design that’s functional, productive and looks good too.

A home office and library with wooden desk and built-in storage units

Image: Richard Chivers

Of the 32 million people currently employed in the UK, around 1.5 million work from home, according to the Office for National Statistics – a figure that is up by almost a quarter of a million from a decade ago. And there are many more who would like a dedicated workspace for life admin, like paying bills, Skyping friends and family, doing the weekly online shop or any of the countless other things we need a computer for.

Some might just need a laptop, a power socket and a place to perch, but most full-time homeworkers will require a more professional set-up, an ergonomic space that has the right equipment and storage, designed to ensure they can be productive all day long.

If you’re in need of a practical workspace, read on as we explain the key factors you need consider when planning and designing a home office.

Assess your needs

A home office, work space creates as an extension of a kitchen with yellow and blue cabinets

Image: Andy Stagg

Space planning starts with working out your needs. Considerations include: a desk or desks; the computer itself (if you work on a laptop, do you want to hook it up to a separate monitor and keyboard to make it more comfortable to use all day?); a printer and scanner; a speaker if you want to listen to the radio or music; and storage for paperwork and books. Think about how many plug sockets all these will need and where they should go in relation to the desk area. Good internet connectivity is a must for almost every vocation.

Home offices are notorious for their clutter of paperwork and equipment. If yours is on show in an open-plan room that has other functions, it can look less than pristine, so consider storage carefully. Open shelving can look good with neat rows of identical filing boxes and it allows you to intersperse decorative objects for a more homely feel. If you’re messy by nature, it’s probably better to have closed shelves and cupboards.

‘It’s essential to create a practical space which caters for all technology needs, from pull-out drawers for scanners and printers to shallow shelving for stationery,’ says Simon Tcherniak, senior designer at Neville Johnson, which specialises in built-in joinery. ‘However, we must find the right balance between the practical elements and allowing the space to become an inviting and pleasant place to work in.’