The year 2020 forever changed our perception of the home office.
What used to be seen as a small (and slightly underused) luxury quickly became a necessity for millions of working professionals, giving rise to countless makeshift solutions from drop-down desks to laptop trays.
Those lucky enough to have a spare room to convert turned to top-to-bottom makeovers: investing in dedicated desks, ergonomic chairs, and plenty of built-in storage (and turned to IKEA again and again to create custom desks, cabinets, and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves).
If you’re finally ready to tackle your home office makeover in 2021, we’ve got inspiration in spades. To start, six of our favorite creative and budget-friendly home office ideas.
The Sunfilled Nook
Photography: Jennifer Yau; Design: Jill Ellis
If you only have a small corner to spare, take note from Jill Ellis and transform it into a functional workspace. Using IKEA’s Sektion system, the brand’s butcher block-style countertops, and Supermatte shaker fronts in white, the founder of Makeshift Studio built a custom desk and attached media center in her Santa Barbara, California cabana. She finished off the look with cognac leather pulls, white paint, and a rattan chair for a breezy look that blends with the existing aesthetic.
The Moody Home Library
Photography and Design: Annette Vartanian
For a powerhouse home office fit for the full-time entrepreneur, consider Annette Vartanian’s DIY office-slash-library. The founder of A Vintage Splendor crafted her dream workspace using IKEA cabinetry, wood countertops, and our DIY slab fronts, plus brass lamps and a plush velvet chair. Semihandmade floating shelves also line the staircase to create a library atmosphere, and a coat of Dunn Edwards’ Deepest Sea gives it a moody, monochrome feel.
The Minimalist Media Console
Design: Lauren DeBello Interiors
For a low-lift project that requires less elbow grease, try a simple desk and contrasting media cabinet à la Lauren DeBello Interiors. Using IKEA’s wall-mounted Besta cabinets and Semihandmade’s Sarah Sherman Samuel beaded fronts in black, DeBello added some much-needed storage to her home office. The vintage rug, cane Cesca chair, and abstract light fixture polish off the space.
The Double Standing Desk
Photography and design: Chris and Julia Marcum
Dissatisfied with the standing desks on the market, Chris and Julia Marcum decided to create their own. Using IKEA kitchen cabinets, faux marble countertops, pottery barn drawer pulls, and Semihandmade’s Supermatte slab fronts in white, they handcrafted a custom double-sided standing desk suited to their exact specifications. The design duo finished off the space with an IKEA pendant light, adjustable leather stools, intricate wainscoting, and a coat of Farrow & Ball’s Pigeon.
The Floor-to-Ceiling Solution
Design: Making Joy and Pretty Things
For an open home office that utilizes every inch of wall space, turn to Sarah Pawlak’s dream workspace. The creative behind Making Joy and Pretty Things constructed an entire office built-in from scratch, using IKEA filing cabinets, butcher block countertops, IKEA Sektion pantry cabinets, IKEA open Lack shelves, and Semihandmade DIY shaker fronts, which she paired with a medallion area rug, sketch floral wallpaper, and a punchy coat of Benjamin Moore’s High Park.
The Classic Office Bookshelf
Photography: Sarah Weirich; Design: Simplify the Chaos
For a home office that will never go out of style, you can’t go wrong with a freestanding desk framed by a built-in bookshelf. Sarah of Simplify the Chaos built hers from the ground up, using IKEA cabinets and DIY shaker fronts paired with custom-made open shelves. She and her husband Justin also hand-laid the shiplap planks on the walls and ceiling, installed the crown molding, and painted the entire space in Farrow & Ball’s Treron.