How to Fake a Home Office: Simple Ideas From 5 Interior Designers

Shilpa Prabhakar Nadella

In addition to wanting the perfect banana bread recipe and functional face mask tips, you’re probably in dire need of some practical home office ideas right about now since your couch has become your desk and your bed is where you hop on Zoom calls. If we had to find a silver quarantine lining, it’s that, yes, your commute is now 20 seconds from bed to desk, but considering the uncertainty around how long we’ll be working remotely, it’s probably time you figured out a home office solution that doesn’t involve sitting cross-legged on your bedroom floor.

In an ideal world, we’d all take the time to do some home rearrangement and pick out curated pieces to build a perfect home office, but many retailers are operating on a delayed shipping schedule and there’s the chance you want to minimize the amount of packages coming through your door, so this project is challenging, to say the least.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up clever home office ideas from five interior designers to help you create that home office using items you already have at home or are readily available to add to cart. Below, gather some inspiration from the pros at design firms Ronen Lev, Jenny J. Norris Interiors, Carrier and Company, Chango & Co., and Handin Browne, then shop their home office picks.

<cite class="credit">Nicole Franzen Photography, Courtesy of Ronan Lev</cite>
Nicole Franzen Photography, Courtesy of Ronan Lev

Jessica Kamel and Christina Akiskalou, Ronen Lev

The heart of Ronen Lev’s philosophy: “good design, thoughtfully curated, makes life better.” The firm creates sophisticated yet comfortable spaces, including designing Maison (pictured above), a women’s co-working space in New York City. Kamel encourages people to use what they might have readily available in their home to create a functional workspace. “A console table is something a lot of people have. It’s a multipurpose piece of furniture that could easily work well in a small nook that doesn’t [require] a lot of space.”

Kamel recommends placing your makeshift desk under or near a window if possible and suggests “investing in a wall calendar to keep your days in check, as right now every day is feeling a bit the same.” It’s also a good idea to keep “drawing pads handy in case an idea comes to mind and you need to quickly jot it down.”

Appointed 2020 Wall Calendar

$28.00, Appointed

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Angelpoise Original 1227 Desk Lamp

$350.00, Angelpoise

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Rikumo Ito Bindery Drawing Pad

$22.00, Rikumo

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Kinto Ripple Mug

$18.8.00, Commonplace

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<cite class="credit">Brantley Photography, Courtesy of Carrier and Company</cite>
Brantley Photography, Courtesy of Carrier and Company

Jessie Carrier and Mara Miller, Carrier and Company

Husband-and-wife design duo Jessie Carrier and Mara Miller have been the masterminds behind several high-profile homes (Jessica Chastain and Anna Wintour are clients). They were actually tasked with creating office space in their own home, according to Carrier, who says, “We’ve commandeered our dining room to double as our design studio and office, converting our drop-leaf dining table into a dedicated partners desk for Mara and me to work from.” Repurposing items that they already had in their dining room has been key to creating a balance of working from home. “We converted an antique armoire that had served as part bar and part china cupboard into a printer-scanner station and now store all our office supplies in it.”

The ability for them to organize and tuck away work at the end of the day helps to create a balance. “It’s important to be able to close a door, whether in a room, or a piece of furniture, to keep visual clutter to a minimum–it seems simple but is important for mental hygiene,” Carrier says. The duo also believe that organization tools are key to office space. “Google Home Assistant is a must! It sits on our desk and manages all our calendars: our kids’ school schedules, competing Zoom appointments, tutor calls, etc. It also plays the music we want to hear and shares news and weather reports.”

Google Home Smart Speaker with Assistant

$99.99.00, Best Buy

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SunnyInkPaperCo Classic Monogram Notepad

$13.13.00, Etsy

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U Brands Contempo Magnetic Monthly Calendar Dry Erase Board

$5.73.00, Amazon

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Ikea BYHOLMA Basket

$12.99.00, IKEA

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<cite class="credit">Jenny J. Norris Photography</cite>
Jenny J. Norris Photography

Jenny J. Norris, Jenny J. Norris Interiors

Designer Jenny J. Norris is a pro at transforming homes into comfortable, beautiful spaces with a firm eye on practicality. Still, she understands that setting up a multifunction space in your house can be a challenge. The key, she says, is to make the area feel inspiring and calming. “A tidy and organized desk area can make you feel more centered, and curating the sounds and smells around you can help create a sense of optimism, joy, and focus.” Norris is a fan of using an oil burner with some eucalyptus essential oil. “It's invigorating and energizing while you work—and also very spa-like.”

She also stresses that any good workspace should incorporate visual inspiration “Lean or hang a photograph or work of art you particularly love. If you have a collection of images you’d be inspired by—photos, a meaningful letter, magazine tears—but don’t necessarily want to put holes in the wall, use some washi tape to display them.” Norris also suggests that if you’re repurposing a piece of furniture to act as a desk, consider purchasing an inexpensive chair to freshen up the space and make it feel like a truly new addition to your home.

Jenny J. Norris Italian summer Framed Art Print

$68.99.00, Society6

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Maison Balzac Glass Oil Burner

$45.00, Coming Soon

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MoMA Heng Balance Lamp

$85.00, MoMA

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Legare Bent Plywood Blue Stack Chair with Chrome Plated Metal Legs

$49.84.00, Home Depot

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<cite class="credit">Raquel Langworthy Photography, Courtesy of Chango and Co</cite>
Raquel Langworthy Photography, Courtesy of Chango and Co

Susana Simonpietri, Chango & Co.

For Susana Simonpietri of Chango & Co., design projects start with understanding the needs of an individual or family to help ensure their space will work for their everyday lives—especially now. “While it’s usually up to personal preference, keeping your workspace attached to the main living areas of the home can help you—or the kids— feel engaged throughout the day while still focusing on work and staying productive,” she says. “Consider carving out a corner in your bedroom or rearranging the living room to accommodate your nook. Since our homes are being utilized in so many different ways during this time, rearranging furniture temporarily might be very helpful.”

Simonpietri also recommends noise-canceling headphones to combat any disturbance and encourages creating a workspace near natural light if you can. Other important tips for making sure your home office is functional: enough storage space, comfortable seating, and “a few inspiring pieces of artwork and decorative accessories, which helps in bringing some creativity and customization to the space.” If you’re working with limited footage or necessary floor seating, Simonpietri suggests filling your favorite corner with sofa cushions and using a laptop stand to create your own little workplace nook.

Chango Shop Black Square Leather Coasters

$60.00, Chango Shop

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Asaad 24" Floor Pillow

$102.99.00, Joss & Main

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Bloomscape Ficus Little Fiddle

$65.00, bloomscape

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Soundance Laptop Stand

$33.99.00, Amazon

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<cite class="credit">Sean Litchfield Photograph, Courtesy of Handin Browne</cite>
Sean Litchfield Photograph, Courtesy of Handin Browne

Samantha Goldman and Samantha Polkow, Handin Browne

Design duo Samantha Goldman and Samantha Polkow met during their final semester at the New York School of Interior Design. Ever since then, they have been inseparable and have been working with clients throughout the Tri-State area to create modern, clean, and comfortably designed interiors. Goldman is the mastermind behind spatial planning and creative floor plans, and Polkow is the sourcing expert, an encyclopedia of knowledge on rugs, furniture, and textiles. They complement each other perfectly to bring innovative and fresh designs to their clients workspaces. “Take advantage of your entryway right now,” says Goldman. “Almost all of us have a nook, an entryway table, somewhere that’s a small space that we use to greet our guests, but right now no one is coming in and out of your space, so utilize that space to create a temporary workspace.”

Goldman adds that if you want the space to feel new and fresh, “Purchase a minimal chair and some baskets that can be tucked underneath a table to make it functional, or if you are working with what you have, grab one of your existing dining chairs and add a cushion to make it more comfortable.” One of the easiest ways to create more space out of an existing small table or desk is a monitor riser. “This gives you more space to organize even when you have a large computer screen on your desk, and it also helps with back and neck pain by bringing your computer screen closer to eye level.”

The Container Store Black & Natural Water Hyacinth Storage Bins

$16.99.00, The Container Store

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The Container Store Dark Grey Poppin Monitor Stand

$39.99.00, The Container Store

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Bludot Clean Cut Seat Pad

$59.00, Bludot

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Tom Dixon London Medium Candle

$100.00, Bloomingdales

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Originally Appeared on Glamour