Whether you work from home all the time or pop into your home office for an occasional project, it’s hard to get excited about your task if you’re tucked into a dark corner of your house staring at a blank wall. To feel truly energized before you log on to check your email, dive into data, or participate in an hour-long Zoom, you need a vibrant, inspirational space for your work. Plus, who doesn’t want to have a place with a lot of pizzazz for their video chat background?
If you’re in need of a great organizational system or a wow factor to impress your friends and co-workers, here are a few suggestions to get your creativity flowing.
Create a Secret Entrance to your Office
Nothing will make your work feel as important as having a hidden door into your space like the one posted by TikTok user @finishedbasementnj. Whether you need the ultimate in privacy from your family or your work is truly top secret, you may want to replicate this door that pushes open from a closet into a surprisingly spacious office. Add in more hidden storage spaces and pop-up electronics to add to the speakeasy feel.
Add a Textured Ceiling
The same video also features a coffered ceiling — an elegant feature typically found in a family room or dining room instead of a secret office.
Keep Refreshments Close at Hand
A built-in coffee bar showcased by @duccustoms on TikTok provides a caffeine hit when needed and includes a refrigerator to keep water and juice close at hand. If you miss your old, shared office, you can also put a lunchbox in there with your name on it for nostalgia.
Customize Your Library
If you’ve ever fantasized about the library in Beauty and the Beast, now’s your chance to build your own. For inspiration, check out Gravel Lane Design’s TikTok video of a custom library with blue cabinets and shelves lining the wall from floor to ceiling, complete with an authentic library ladder to reach books on the upper level.
Add Extra-Tall Shelves
For the ultimate in an organized office, don’t stop at a single bookcase. In this home office shown by @deluxuryclosets on TikTok, extra shelves are tucked just under the ceiling and line every possible bit of wall space.
Add an Aquarium
Really! A super-cool office highlighted on TikTok by @lindydenny includes a cabinet with a built-in aquarium. An aquarium can provide a bit of stress relief on a busy day or creative inspiration when you need to just sit and think about your next strategic move.
Install Recessed in your Cabinets
Built-in bookshelves and cabinets can give your home office a professional look and keep your supplies organized, but for extra lighting and customization, ask your builder to install lights inside the upper shelves like @yndesign_n_build displays on TikTok.
Try Floating Shelves
Not every house comes with a large room to function as an office. If you’ve got a nook that your builder can customize, add in some floating shelves like those featured in @theclosetqueeneva’s video. These will create extra storage while avoiding that closed-in feeling that you might get with cabinets or large bookshelves.
Don’t Forget Natural Light
When you’re choosing a room for your home office, you may be tempted to pick a less desirable space to keep other rooms available for guests. But if you’re planning to work from home regularly, natural light is essential to keep you energized and connected with the outside world. Take a look at this TikTok video from custom home builder Rembrandt Homes that features a home office with two walls of windows for maximum light.
Maximize the Space with Pocket Doors
Your builder can install pocket doors instead of traditional doors and you’ll benefit in two ways: Your doorway can be left wide open when you’re in the mood for a wider view or you’re home alone, and your space inside and outside the office won’t be constrained by an open door. That same home office from Rembrandt with the big windows also has pocket doors to allow for a more open floor plan when desired.
Create Texture with Wainscoting
To add interest to plain walls, add wainscoting as @tori.gerbig did in her new home office. Bonus points: The wainscoting hides the door to the attached storage closet where she keeps a ring light for video calls and other office necessities.
Update your French Doors
A classic home office look is to install French doors that allow light to filter through but add a measure of privacy because of the grids in the glass. In Tori Gerbig’s office mentioned above, modern French doors provide a similar function but with black frames and clear glass for an updated look.
Install Unique Sconces
Lifestyle blogger @helloeveadams also has contemporary-style French doors leading into her home office, but another cool feature she includes in her TikTok home office reveal video are the sconce lights installed above her built-in bookshelves. The sconces not only brighten the shelves as in-cabinet lights do, but they provide a chic focal point for the office and provide general lighting for the room.
When you’re ready to design your custom office with your builder, a little imagination and creativity can make your workplace also your happy place.
Michele Lerner is an award-winning freelance writer, editor and author who has been writing about real estate, personal finance and business topics for more than two decades.