Home offices weren’t quite as big a deal pre-2020. But since then, the way we work seemingly changed for good. With many of us working from home – or starting a side hustle from home – having a dedicated workspace is a necessity. And the idea of the “aesthetic office” was something that people quickly realized they craved.
And it’s something that’s blown up on social media like TikTok and Pinterest. The inspiration is literally everywhere.
When you’re in a beautiful space, you’re more likely to feel inspired and get to work. Of course, making sure you get in all the typical needs for an office space – the computer, a comfortable chair, second monitor, etc. – is a crucial part of creating a home workspace. But the aesthetic considerations shouldn’t be ignored.
The psychology of office design
If you’re interested in interior design, I don’t have to tell you that design has a huge impact on how we feel mentally. And this impact is tangible, psychologically.
The whole idea of “environmental psychology” came into focus in the last couple of years. The most basic foundation of this is color psychology, or the fact that certain colors have certain impacts on our mental states. i.e. blue is calming, yellow is energizing and happy, and green communicates balance and nature.
But the psychology behind good office design goes a whole lot further than that.
Elements of biophilic design come into play; it’s proven that spaces with components of nature mixed in lead to better productivity, creative expression and overall health and happiness.
There are also considerations of good boundary-setting to keep you in the zone, the mood booster of natural light, an effective layout, and more.
And overall, being in a well-designed space is good for morale. There’s a reason why they show those ugly gray cubicles in movies when trying to create the depressing and hopeless vibe. An aesthetic office is the exact opposite of that. When your office looks good, you feel good being there.
The components of an aesthetic office
So, if you want to create the aesthetic office of your dreams, there are a few key components. If you get all these pieces right, you have a space that is beautiful, inspiring, and will fuel your productivity.
The right floor plan
Let’s use some feng shui to make sure we get the layout right.
Many people are tempted to push their desk up to the office’s back wall, leaving their back facing the door. This is a big no for feng sui, though. Not only does it lead to subconscious feelings of insecurity and lack of safety, but you’re also jeopardizing your energy. According to feng shui standards, when you face the door, you welcome strong and successful energy. If you just can’t get around it, place a mirror near your desk that gives you a view of the door.
Another major component of a good office layout is natural light. There’s not much you can’t do about how much natural light you have, but you can make the most of the light you have now. Check out my post about making the most of even the shittiest natural light, but in general: don’t obstruct the light that you have by placing bulky items between you and the window. Use reflective objects as much as possible to bounce that light around. And sheer curtains are your best friend.
And we can’t talk about feng shui without touching on the flow of the room. Of course, arrange your office in a way that allows you to natural flow through your work process. Walk through your process and make sure that everything is accessible in an intuitive place.
But aside from the function, your office should have a visual flow. The easiest first step to achieving this flow is to make sure everything is balanced. Don’t put big, bulky furniture all on one wall with the other areas of the room left bare. Just like music, a furniture layout should have a rhythm.
The perfect desk
The foundation of any good office is obviously the desk. Whether you’re using your office for doing work on the computer, sewing, painting, modeling, or anything else, you need a good workspace. And on top of the functional considerations, the desk is also a prime focal point for the room.
In my office, my big, bright orange desk immediately draws the eye as soon as you enter the room. And that’s the impact that brings your office from ehh to wow.
Pick a desk that suits your aesthetic. If you’re hoping to go the more natural route, try out a raw edge wood desk for your statement desk. For a bigger work desk, I love the idea of one plank of wood spanning a whole wall. This gives you plenty of opportunity to accessorize and create different zones without sacrificing workspace.
Here’s a peek at a desk of a friend of mine and content creator Dani who pretty much has the textbook definition of an aesthetic natural desk.
But a statement desk could look different for everyone. You could go retro, you could go boho, or you could go sculptural.
The best desk setup
Once you have your desk picked out, it’s time to fill it up. This is where you can make a difference in the details. Whether you’re a minimalist or maximalist at heart, you should definitely still take advantage of this styling opportunity.
The easiest but most effective component of your desk setup is a good riser. This raises your computer of monitor to a comfortable height for your neck, but it also elevates the look of your desk. (Pun not intended).
As for the other accessories like a mini desktop trash can, a pen cup, or a stapler, try to coordinate these styles with each other. They don’t have to all be matchy-matchy, but they should go. On my desk, I have mostly wood accents with a touch of rose gold in my pen cup to keep it interesting.
A small touch that I notice in most of the best aesthetic office setups is that there’s often a nice tabletop lamp on the desk. This has so many benefits. 1. If you’re a content creator, this immediately ups your lighting game. 2. It gives you multiple light sources in the space, making it look more expensive and intentional. And 3. it’s a great opportunity for a nice statement piece on your desk.
Speaking of statement pieces, we can’t talk about accessorizing a desk without mentioning how it is one of your best opportunities to really add in elements of you to the design. I mean, our catchphrase here at homey homies is “design with personality,” so you know I had to go here.
Use your desk as a place to display tchotchkes from your travels, polaroids with your friends and family, your favorite candle – even your desktop picture is a moment to put something up that represents who you are and what you want this space to say.
A comfy but stylish chair
No more ugly ergonomic desk chairs. I promise you, it’s possible to find a comfortable and practical chair that is still beautiful.
If you want to make a statement with your desk chair, let me introduce the kneeling chair. When I first saw this chair, I was blown away. It looks so comfortable, and it will immediately draw someone’s eye when they walk in. It’s unique and intriguing, so it makes a great statement piece.
A whole differently shaped chair may not be everyone’s cup of tea. So if you still want to keep the shape pretty traditional, I’ve got some tips for still making it stand out.
Desk chairs are the throw pillows of offices in my opinion. Meaning, it’s a great place to add a pop of color in an otherwise neutral space. So feel free to have fun with it.
Choosing a chair made out of luxury fabrics is another way to elevate your aesthetic office. Materials like velvet, leather, tweed, or boucle will give your office that ~rich~ feeling. You could also opt for a chair with silver or gold elements to give it a little bit of shine.
Another pro tip about seating: If you have enough space, fit in a seating area in your home office. This will give you a space to relax and read or just change locations when you need it. But it will also up your home office game. Anyone can throw a desk in a room and call it a home office. But when you add in a cozy seating area, you carve out this zone as its own distinct place to brainstorm, work, and create.
A place to display your best work
This is how you can really add some personality and make this space your own. If you’re on this post right now, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you are creatively inclined. Even if that’s not what your 9-5 entails, you’re likely using this space as a creative studio to some extent as well. So use the space available to put your work on display.
Bookshelves are a great place not only for books, but also to display other pieces of work like framed pieces of art, pottery, sculptures, or any other small things that make you proud.
More of a floating shelf person than a bookshelf person? This is another option for displaying things that can help you save a lot of space, especially in really small office spaces.
And we can’t not mention a good gallery wall here. If you’re an artist, fill your walls with your work. This gives your design so much personality and makes sure that no one’s space looks quite like yours. It also has the added benefit of inspiring you when you’re tackling your best project. I personally think there’s no better source of inspiration than basking in how much you nailed a previous project.
Aesthetic office organization solutions
You’ve got lots of stuff floating around an office. Paperwork, supplies, cords. So even though organization may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to an aesthetic office, it’s so important.
The trick is to find storage solutions that add to the beauty.
The possibilities are truly endless. But if you need hours of inspiration, seriously just binge Get Organized with The Home Edit on Netflix.
If you’re someone with a lot of important physical files to keep track of, no worries, there actually are good-looking file cabinets. My personal favorites are the Poppin systems that are simple but so so good. But even Ikea’s simple white storage drawers are a simple but beautiful solution.
If you just need to organized some papers on your desk, I’ve got some suggestions for that too. No more of those ugly black wire task baskets or clear plastic drawers. It’s 2022, there are so many other options for desktop storage like the ones below.
And if you’re someone with lots of supplies – I’m looking at you painters, sewers, rug makers – you probably have more supplies than you even know what to do with. It’s tempting to just shove it all in a closet, but you can make it look nice! If you display things right, it actually adds so much depth and character to the space. Like, who wouldn’t want a wall of colorful thread on display?
Inspiration: the most aesthetic office spaces
Itching for some more inspiration? I compiled some of the most aesthetic office spaces I could find on the internet below. So keep scrolling and I hope you get the inspiration and drive you need to create your own beautiful office full of personality.
If you have a space you think is worthy of being on this list, send it on over to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll make sure to add it here!
Hey my name’s Hannah Michelle Lambert, the voice behind homey homies. I’m an LA-based blogger and interior designer. I’m passionate about fun, adaptive, and affordable design that is filled with personality. And I’m a huge believer in a good DIY. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you find the inspiration you’re looking for – and maybe a little extra 😉
Note: This post may contain affiliate links, so I may make a small commission if you make a purchase. But this does not increase the cost to you at all – it comes out of the seller’s pockets.