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How to Create a Home Office You Love that Inspires Productivity

I don't enjoy sitting still. I prefer to be on my feet and moving, so sitting at my desk doing paperwork or working on my laptop is something I have to be highly motivated to do. Thankfully, I found ways to make my workspace work with me instead of feeding into my shiny object chasing tendencies.

Here's what I did to create an attractive, inspiring and personalized home office that encourages productivity.

A neutral modern farmhouse home office to inspire productivity

Once-dreaded office tasks became more like an escape when I set up a really great home office space. By great, I don't necessarily mean expensive or elaborate. What I mean is great for me personally.

Because I used this space as a home office for years when I worked in the corporate world, I knew its strengths and limitations. Here's The Before:

Before and after home office

I love the view to the front yard and the glass-front interior doors so I could see out even when the doors are closed. The green walls were soothing, and it felt like working in a treehouse, which I loved. But the room is very small and faces north, so it got dark at times. Because most of the room's furniture was pulled from different rooms in our last house, it was a mish-mash of styles. It didn't really fit the space and wasn't necessarily functional for my needs either. My office productivity wasn't inspired and found myself easily distracted by the things that felt "off" every time I sat down.

I really thought about how I used the room and my wish list for it. These were my must-haves:

- ample desk space for laptop, paperwork, client product sourcing and designing, book-keeping

- comfortable chairs for deskwork and reading

- storage for work and home files and supplies

- things that inspire me

Because it's off my foyer, the office is one of the first rooms you see coming in the front door. It needed to reflect the mood of the rest of the house but still function as a working office.

When I thought about how I wanted to feel in my office, I set up a mood board of spaces from Instagram, Pinterest and magazines and looked for a theme. While bold color is energizing and on-trend now, the spaces I was drawn to were white, bright and filled with natural elements. Because I know I do my best work in a calming space with little visual distraction, I chose white walls (Sherwin Williams White Dove), which is what I used throughout my house. I love white walls with a touch of warmth for a neutral backdrop, and although it photographs with a lot of yellow undertones, this color in my home comes across soft and light without being stark or yellow.

Studio McGee Threshold neutral home office decor

To keep the calm vibe going, I selected warm neutrals with lots of texture in my furnishings. A woven jute outdoor rug provided a durable and inexpensive base. I chose a faux hide rug for softness underfoot. The organic shape offers a nice contrast as well.

I also added this bench from Studio McGee's collection at Target. It fits under the desk perfectly and can be pulled out for seating. I also pull it in other parts of my house when impromptu seating is needed. It's lightweight but sturdy, and can easily be moved to the living room for parties and extended family gatherings when we need extra seating.

Desk space is important, but my office isn't huge. At just 10'x13', I needed to maximize square footage. I chose two small identical desks that face each other. That way I have two workspaces available for tackling multiple tasks. Of course, a comfortable desk chair is a must, but typical office desk chairs didn't really go with the look I was after. I found this one at World Market and it was perfect. Comfortable, stylish and durable, it was just what I was after.

Neutral modern farmhouse home office

My office doesn't have a closet or built-ins, so I added storage with an armoire and small chest of drawers. I love the mix of ivory paint, natural wood, matte black metal and glass on this armoire. The cremone door bolt is a terrific finishing touch and it's what sold me on this piece. I've since found cremone bolts can be purchased separately and added to an existing piece. Game changer!

modern farmhouse home office storage

The chest of drawers is a piece by Magnolia Home. The black label-style drawer pulls played off the cremone bolt and reminded me of a library card catalog (as a child I actually organized the books in my room with the Dewey decimal system).

Labeled library style drawer pulls home office storage

I really love a good leather recliner. I've had these beautiful and supremely comfortable Ethan Allen chairs for over 25 years. They're really too big for this office and I have to scoot them out from the wall to recline, but I love them, so they moved on in.

I added this chunky throw blanket my niece knitted for me. I love that it's handmade by her, and the soft, fuzzy texture works well next to the smooth leather chair and rough weave of the rug. Nubby pillows by Magnolia Home and a black metal basket add to the mix of contrasts.

Warm neutral leather home office ideas

What really makes this space a tranquil, inviting home office that inspires productivity are the personal details.

The vintage Nancy Drew books remind me of my favorite childhood series. I'd hide under my bed with a flashlight long after bedtime to keep reading, so absorbed by the stories I couldn't fall asleep. The rulers belonged to my grandfather. I remember we used them when we made my sundial science fair project back in 5th grade. We (well, mostly him) got a 100. The stopwatch belonged to my great grandfather. It's 90 years old, and the engraved message on the back inspires me. It was from the employees he led in his business. "In friendship and affectionate appreciation of his loyal cooperation" they wrote. The image of him affecting others in that way is something I hope to achieve as well.

Decorating with vintage books and accessories

Of course, the joyful feeling I get when I'm in my office only works if it's organized.

Because I generally procrastinate with any type of desk work, It's very helpful for me to be able to sit down and get started working immediately when I step into my office. Spending time searching for my charger or notebooks or digging around for pens that have ink all get me off task quickly. I make sure to avoid that as much as possible with organizing systems. Baskets and drawer dividers keep all my essentials easy to find and put away. I also stock up on supplies that I really like. For me, that's black pens that all work, fun colored clips and my favorite spiral notebooks for project notes.

Modern farmhouse home office organizing ideas

Together, these elements make my office a haven in my home. It's where I get the work of life and business done, surrounded by the things that make me happy. Because I look forward to spending time here, I find that I'm more willing to tackle the tasks I usually dread. I use this strategy in the spaces I work on for my clients as well. Whether it's a pantry that inspires you to create meals at home, or a closet that showcases the clothes that help you look and feel your best, I hope your home helps you make the most of what matters the most to you!


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