6 Ways to Make Your Home Office Smart and Stylish
1. Go With the Grain -- Use Wood
Commercial offices often employ hard, shiny surfaces and metal, but that industrial look can appear uninviting in a home. Warm things up by opting for wood whenever possible, even for filing cabinets. Use a length of butcher-block countertop to fashion a sleek desk. "The narrow width fits easily into snug spaces, and it's sturdy," says Gillingham-Ryan (check out Ikea's Lagan or Numerär styles, and pick out legs to go with them -- the cherry red metal Vika Adils design adds a fun burst of color). Or shop Tablelegs.com to customize from an affordable array of legs and wooden surfaces.
English Tavern table base kit, Classic Designs by Matthew Burak, from $289; tablelegs.com. Strut filing cabinet, Crate & Barrel, $499; crateandbarrel.com.
2. Express Style With Color and High Design
Follow Gillingham-Ryan's quick route to a chic office by incorporating a few key personal touches -- vibrant, mod desk accessories, a stylish clock, artwork you love, a vase of fragrant flowers. He adores the oversize (almost 3 feet wide!) calendar put out annually by the San Francisco design firm Studio Hinrichs, with its eye-catching typography and bold graphics, especially in a small space. "It's a showstopper and has an expansive effect," he says.
Cordless phone, Jasper Morrison for Punkt, $245; ameico.com.
Typography calendar (22" x 33"), Studio Hinrichs, $55; kenknight.com.
Calendar Clock Big Flip, High Fashion Home, $290; highfashionhome.com.
Buro desk accessories set, Lexon, $175; lexonusacatalog.com.
3. Draw Up a Drawer Plan
To maximize your drawer storage to the very last inch, use a marker to trace the dimensions of the drawer interior on a piece of newspaper. Take that template with you when shopping for inserts to devise a custom configuration that exactly fits your needs. So smart!
Squish silicone organizational boxes, Chris Hardy, $20/set of 5; momastore.org.
4. Wrangle Those Loose Cords
Clever new gadgets -- including mini spools and an ingenious grid that attaches to the bottom of your desk to train loose wires -- help control unruly cords. No tangles, no tripping, no problem!
Above: Cablox cable management, Jens Sorensen for Cablox, $12; sirtified.com. Right: Cordctrl organizer, Control Your Wires, $13; okthestore.com.
5. Brighten With a Quality Lamp
Don't make the mistake of buying a cheap one that tips over easily or doesn't bring anything aesthetic to the table, says Gillingham-Ryan. The perfect lamp not only illuminates the space but enhances the look of the whole scheme with just the right design details, be it a sculptural shape or a dazzling color.
You don't have to stick with task lights in the office. A pretty table lamp with a 40-to 60-watt bulb does the job beautifully.
From top: Trapeze LED table lamp, Peter Stathis, $395; ameico.com. Scout lamp, Arteriors Home, $210; arteriorshome.com for retailers.
6. Take the Best Seat in the House
Find (and splurge on, if necessary) just the right desk chair -- it will make getting down to business that much more inviting. Besides keeping you comfortable all day, says Gillingham-Ryan, "a quality chair gives your office the seriousness it deserves." He's a fan of the classic Eames Management chair (Herman Miller, $1,299; hivemodern.com), with its dozens of hues and slick Mad Men vibe. But if you're not sitting for hours at a time, a stylish dining chair with a cushioned seat does the trick nicely.
Macau armchair, Ballard Designs, $249; ballarddesigns.com.
Boulevard armchair, Lilly Pulitzer Home, $859; horchow.com.