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  • Angie Lane

The Rules Of Modern Home Office Design

Updated: Nov 7, 2019

Whether it's your side hustle (ugh, that term is terrible) or your full time business, you need modern home office design that is organized, functional, and comfortable. Keep reading (or skim for the items in bold) for the 3 things you MUST DO to make your home office the perfect place to get sh*t done!


Clutter. It just somehow seems to happen. To function efficiently, you have to eliminate unnecessary items. This is especially important in small office design. All space is critical. I am a person who works well in chaos. But it's organized chaos. I know exactly where that note is that I scribbled on the back of an envelope. The crazy quilt that is my office:

For my modern office, I had to have a serious conversation with myself: what do I actually use when I work? Everything else got put into a pile to be removed. Simple as that. The stricter you are with yourself, the more you will purge and the more organized you will be. I like to think of myself as the center of my work galaxy. The things I use everyday are the closest to me at my desk. Computer, phone, notebook, pens, reading glasses.

The next orbit falls under "used often": code books, reference books, current project samples, printer. The outer rings of my galaxy are delegated to things I rarely, if ever use. This painted Ikea storage bin has business cards, metal samples and some paper marketing goods. All of which, I don't use very often.

No, I don't use the "The Book of Furniture and Decoration" every day when I work but, once in awhile, I refer to it. Never used items include inspiration and Things I Love (see #3 below).


This will instantly and constantly keep clutter to a minimum. Today's technology makes it so easy to go paperless in a modern office. The only files I keep are in digital cloud storage. I can access anything from anywhere and I don't have bulky, messy files to try to store and keep track of. That yellow perforated file holder is my entire paper content. Of course, my notebook and current specs, details, etc are just laying on my desk to be either digitized or recycled when I don't need them anymore.

As a commercial architect, we tend to end up with a gazillion plans and drawings rattling around. But the same rule goes for them: I keep digital drawing sets and don't store any hard copies. Also, as a designer, physical samples tend to accumulate as well. I have to be very strict with myself to catalog (digitally, of course) specific project samples and get rid of material samples once the project is done. Fabrics, tiles, wood finishes, paint finishes, glass samples are all bulky and, in reality, useless to me once a project is over. I've found that school teachers love these kind of samples for art projects. I also have a local shop that sells scraps and they are happy to come pick up any of my junk.


Not an excuse to hoard! As a creative, I am so much more productive when I am surrounded with things I love and things that inspire me. Below are just a few. The layering of meaningful things also makes me feel happy.

No matter how beautiful our office interior design is, we are still there to work. And work can be just that- work. It's so nice to have a modern office where you have things around you that make you happy. Little things to take your eyes off your screen for a moment to gather inspiration or de-stress. Sounds simple but being happy while you work is HUGE!

Here are some of my lovely surroundings...

Feathers from our yard collected over the years and displayed in a frame:

Artwork and architectural models from my college days give this small office design some texture.

This cheeky, peeky squirrel mounted beside me at my desk:

There's just so much! Weird mannequin head and old motorcycle helmet, my husband's old skate decks, snuff from my trip to Scotland, sculpture from my college ceramics class, beer bottles from a dear friend's brewery that were beautifully illustrated, a Tool patch, and of course pictures of my family.


My modern office also houses my husband's workspace as well as a storage cabinet for our tiny bathroom. The window creates a nice visual division between office space and circulation/ bathroom storage space.

The other "accidental" design detail of the office is the way the blue wall wraps the corners and onto the ceiling. There were stencils painted on that wall what went up onto the ceiling and turned the corners slightly. This solution was my lazy way of not having to repaint the whole room. And I absolutely love the way it turned out. Most great ideas are born out of necessity (or laziness!).

My husband's desk is off to the right. He does not work from home so most of the space is delegated to me :)

I love ferns and greenery in a workspace but cannot keep plants alive if you paid me. Spoiler alert: this lovely fern is a fake from Target.

And here is what happens when I build things: errors and imperfections. The office system is an Ikea system that I've had since forever and it works. I changed out the knobs for some hefty marble ones to personalize it a bit. As you can see, I mounted the cabinet doors. Sometimes you have to embrace the imperfections of a modern office and small office design.

Our house was built in 1860. It has the original windows and 10' ceilings. What this means is that it's cold as hell in here. My space heater is crucial to my comfort and gets it's own little nook under my desk.

So. Be organized, be clutter-free, be surrounded by things you love, and you will be productive in your modern office!

#homeoffice #homeofficeorganization #homeofficedesign #diyhomeoffice