Modern home office ideas – 12 cool and contemporary designs

Supercharge your WFH setup with modern home office ideas. Innovative and luxe looks that will add to your home surroundings.

Under the stairs home office idea by Sharps
(Image credit: Sharps)

It's easy to hang on to old, familiar looks. But the right modern home office ideas will inspire you to let go of dated decor and take your space to the next level. Whether it's a splash of color or a new chair that will make you feel refreshed in your surroundings, this is a crucial spot for your day to day, so it's important to get the look right.

From having the latest smart desk to making sure your working area is not too hot or cold, hi-tech home office ideas are all the rage but brining your space into the present day doesn't need to be expensive or more hard work. You just need to think outside the box and it will be worth it.

1. Create a contemporary office space with muted hues

Dulux brave ground home office idea

(Image credit: DULUX)

Mixing and matching similar shades can add subtle interest to your home office design. Complementary shades such as soft browns, greys and neutrals will soften the harsh lines of an office space – think laptop, desk, etc. – and add a modern touch to even the most trad surroundings for a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

The play of geometric shapes, painted in Dulux's Brave Ground also creates a graphic and visually stimulating study wall.

2. Use your desk as a blank canvas to decorate

Green painted desk in modern home office by Dulux

(Image credit: Dulux)

Decorating your desk is a budget-friendly and creative way to refresh even small home offices. 'Home office decorating gives you another surface to work with: your desk.', says Marianne Shillingford, creative director at Dulux. 'Adding color to your desk can really supercharge a space and inspire you towards success. Painting the table-top alone is all it takes. Try a gorgeous green for a soothing and chic look.'

3. Mix black and wood for a Mid-century modern look

Home office idea by Habitat with red wall paint and black desk

(Image credit: Habitat)

If modern home office ideas feel too cold or sterile, introduce more color with a clever take on a retro scheme. 'This mid-century modern desk caters to those short on space, offering ample functionality within a compact footprint.', says Andrew Tanner, Habitat design manager. 'The magnetic mesh board is great for pinning up to-do lists whilst the single shelf will store work or study essentials. Industrial in style, the powder-coated metal complements the furniture and larger Bauhaus prints and accessories throughout the range.'

4. Turn your kitchen breakfast bar into a home office

Office and breakfast bar in kitchen by Wren Kitchens

(Image credit: Wren Kitchens)

If your current WFH space isn't quite cutting the mustard, it's time to wake up and smell the coffee... Quite literally. Make your kitchen a multi-functioning space with a breakfast bar come modern home office idea, similar to this execution by Wren Kitchens.

You'll be next to beverage-making amenities and in a prime spot to make yourself a quick snack too. To style, add geometric globe lighting to make a statement and invest in the best bar stools you can afford.

5. Scandi chic schemes get top marks

Black and white home office idea by Matalan

(Image credit: Matalan)

Whether you've a spare nook to fill or need to squeeze a modern home office into a bedroom, a monochrome Scandi chic setup will always impress interior design enthusiasts. Keep it fun with a gallery wall, functional wire notice board and statement rattan lampshade. A soft chenille rug also provides a tactile touch for tired feet...

6. Making clever use of an awkward space

Sharps under the stairs Milan Dove Home Office Range

(Image credit: Sharps)

Modern living is using the space you do have wisely. And, transforming dead space under the stairs, an alcove or other area in your home into a WFH spot is contemporary home office design at its best. 

'Color and materials play a huge part in the finished look of your alcove.', says Rachal  Hutcheson, national retail manager, Sharps.

'In bedrooms, harmonious  schemes prove most popular to create a calm relaxed feel. Blending the cabinetry in with the existing wall color or complementing it with natural wood creates an elegant finish and this style works well in living areas too.'

7. Color block your home office spot

Natural Hessian and Decadent Damson Bedroom home office idea by Dulux

(Image credit: Dulux)

Modern home office ideas are often squeezed into small bedrooms and the like. So carve out the area with an accent wall or by color blocking the space to set it apart from the rest.

'One of our favorite home office ideas is painting a feature wall.', says Shillingford. 'Whether your workspace is in the corner of a bedroom or the middle of an open plan living room, a feature wall can make your office both beautiful and functional. Not only can it give your desk area a new lease of life in just one lick of paint, you have a striking selection of colors to choose from.For this home office color scheme, we used Decadent Damson for the feature wall, and as you can see, it instantly lifts the space.'

8. Invest in a smart desk to alleviate 'low battery' scares

Smart desk with integrated chargers and USB sockets by Cuckooland

(Image credit: Cuckooland)

No matter how you work, reliability is a must when it comes to plugs, USB ports and charging stations. Invest in a smart desk to hide unsightly cables and mess. Complete with an integrated wireless charging pad for Qi compatible devices, touch controls for the two hidden Bluetooth speakers, and an AUX cable to play your favorite playlist, this Koble Silas Smart Desk is the piece of furniture you wish you had sooner.

9. Create a mindful modern office space

Home Office - After Albers Cornflower Rug by Sonya Winner Rug Studio

(Image credit: Sonya Winner Rug Studio)

If you're wondering how to organize your space to improve your well-being when working from home: Bring the outdoors in. Use nature-inspired patterns and lots of photographs to create a familiar space. Placing the right rug under a window can create a visual link between your office and your outdoor view. 

This green and blue rug from Sonya Winner Rug Studio combines cornflower blues, deep purples and rich greens that interact with one another to create new hues with a sense of depth and tranquility. As can the benefits of houseplants with their air-purifying, anxiety-soothing and mood-boosting qualities.

10. Vibrant touches for energy

Modern home office with wooden wall slats, green patterned abstract rug and velvet taupe chair

(Image credit: Rugs' Society)

You don't have to change a lot to add a modern touch to your office space. Invest in a maximalist rug to bring energy, color and texture to your surroundings. Soft underfoot and inspiring on the senses.

11. Control light levels

Piroutte blind window treatment in modern home office by Thomas Sanderson

(Image credit: Thomas Sanderson)

To avoid screen glare at all costs, considering the best home office window treatment ideas is a must. Depending on the room's aspect, choose the right dressing to add style but also to block out brightness, UV rays and to keep the space at a comfortable temperature. ‘Pirouette blinds are an ideal solution for home offices and studies.', says Lisa Slack, head of product, Thomas Sanderson. 'The horizontal fabric slats provide privacy and security, and the slats can be opened or closed to control light levels and minimize glare throughout the day. Natural light in home work spaces has been shown to improve satisfaction, productivity and overall well being. We recommend workspaces which allows in natural light framed with custom-made smart powered blinds, enabling you to effortlessly adjust the amount that comes in helping to reduce glare, whilst creating added privacy.’

12. Keep your cool with a smart thermostat

Google Nest Thermostat in home office idea

(Image credit: Google)

'We’ve seen a massive transition from office to home working over the last year and this has a significant impact on heating and hot water costs,' says Christian Deilmann, co-founder and chief product officer for tado°. 'The good news is that there are technologies that improve energy efficiency in homes. This saves people money while keeping homes nice and warm. Switching to a smart thermostat can ensure that only occupied rooms are heated, while also making additional savings through weather adaptation, open window detection and other features. 'Studies have shown that this can reduce heating bills by up to 31% without the homeowner or tenant giving up an inch of comfort.'

How can I make my office look modern?

Even just a few simple additions like contemporary accessories, current task lighting and paint colors on the walls can help bring your home office design into the present day. It's all about choosing the decor that suits your style needs and your working habits also. 'If you really need to knuckle down, dark home office colors are the way to go. A deep, intense blue can help you concentrate and bring a sense of calm to your new WFH oasis.', says Shillingford.

'You should also consider this idea for a small home office design. If you think dark colors can make you feel boxed in, they actually have the opposite effect. A dark color palette can give a room depth, so it feels even bigger.'

How can I keep my living and working spaces separate?

'If your bedroom is now also your working area, a clutter-free tidy desk space, in a previously unused corner will aid a healthy work life balance', says Hutcheson.

'Opting for a built-in desk solution, with the same design as your wardrobes, will create a cohesive look while having the desk in close proximity to the cupboards allows for easy-to-reach office storage and helps to maximize productivity.'

Christina Chrysostomou
Former acting head ecommerce editor

Hi, I'm the former acting head ecommerce editor at Real Homes. Prior to working for the Future plc family, I've worked on a number of consumer events including the Ideal Home Show, Grand Designs Live, and Good Homes Magazine. With a first class degree from Keele University, and a plethora of experience in digital marketing, editorial, and social media, I have an eye for what should be in your shopping basket and have gone through the internal customer advisor accreditation process.