Designing your home office: Tips, Ideas, & Inspiration

If you work from home, your home office is one of the most important spaces in your house. So today we’re bringing you more tips, ideas, and inspiration for your home-office. I’ll be taking you through a design I did recently for a gentleman’s home-office renovation, so you can see what the process is like from start to finish!

Choosing a Space

The first step in designing your home office will be choosing where to set it up. Home offices are most effective when you’re able to use an entire room. Having a whole room as a dedicated work space will increase your focus and productivity, by creating a physical separation between work and rest. If possible, choose a room with lots of windows so that you can work in natural light. It’s nice to have some extra space to move around during the day. And if you’re the kind of person who likes to walk around while on the phone, having enough space for that in your office will be a big help!

Starting With the Base

When designing any room, I like to start with the base and work my way from there. Choosing one base element to design the rest of the room around makes it easier to coordinate the design. For this gentlemen’s home office, we decided to keep the layout of the room, which meant the focus was on redesigning what was already there. I started with this beautiful rug full of blues, beige, and mocha colors. Starting with this rug meant that I was able to hold the paint samples and other fabric samples directly against it and see that it would all match. For more tips on choosing the perfect paint color for your home office, check out this article.

For the windows, I chose a beautiful valance with three Roman shades under it. Now that the base of the room is all done, we can start turning it into an office!

Furniture & fixings

The most important part of every home office is of course, the desk. Depending on what type of work you do, it’s best to get a desk that’s large enough for you to work without getting too cluttered. For this client, we opted for a large dark-colored desk with beautiful brass details that match the mocha color of the walls and in the rug. This desk was large enough for him to keep his office essentials on the desktop while still having plenty of space to work. They say working in a clutter-free environment helps increase focus and efficiency. We got a matching cabinet for the corner of the office as well, which provides good storage for any documents and office supplies, as well as a place to keep the phone and other bits.

This room already had built-in bookcases, so we left those, but I added a grass cloth behind the bookcase to add color and texture into the room. We also added a window seat cushion upholstered in a textured mocha linen, as well as two throw cushions in a leopard print cut velvet. This added more texture and provided additional seating in the office. We added in a couple of lamps, for those days when work spills over into the evening. All that’s left is the decor!

A Personal Touch

The decor in your home office should motivate you to work, bring you comfort when it gets stressful, and provide an appropriate background for any video-calls, all without becoming too distracting. It’s a delicate balance. We recommend keeping the decor minimal. For this gentlemen’s office, we kept the wall behind his desk simple, with this gorgeous American flag painting. It provides a lovely splash of color and is appropriate to appear in any video calls he may attend.

The bookshelves are filled with books, pictures, certificates, some sporting decor. The baseball bat, balls, and golf clubs are that extra personal touch to inspire my client throughout his workday!

Interested in renovating? Head to our services page to see how we can help you create and design the home office of your dreams!


Cozy Design Ideas For Winter

Whether you’re a fan of winter or not, the colder months mean spending more time inside. You want your home to be a comforting place to welcome in snowy mornings and long nights. Here are four easy design ideas and tips to transform your home into a winter haven!

Lamps & Alternative Light

Ceiling lights are very bright and great for getting those last few hours of work done after the sun has gone down. But after work when you want to wind-down, they’re usually a bit too harsh. Having alternative sources of light is the easiest way to create a cozy atmosphere. Get a few lamps for different corners of the room. Compliment the lamps with different sized candles placed on tables and mantles. Another easy way to achieve softer, cozier lighting is by switching to dimmable light bulbs in your overhead lights. Many of them can be controlled on your phone or with a remote control, so transitioning from work into evening can be as easy as a swipe on your phone!

If you already have some lamps and are looking to change a room up, consider getting some new lamp shades! One of my favorite places to get lamp shades is from a British company called Vaughan Designs. The owner, Lucy Vaughan, is a wonderful and inspiring British woman. I have purchased lighting, chandeliers, lamps, and lamp shades from Vaughan for over 25 years. I couldn’t recommend her products enough! They are sold in the DC area exclusively at Hines Showroom at the Washington DC Design Center.

Tip: When setting up your lighting, be sure to purchase all light bulbs in the same hue: fluorescent lights offer a different experience than warm lights. I would always recommend warm lights for a cozy, winter atmosphere.

Create a Reading Nook

With more time to spend inside, the winter is always a fantastic time to catch up on some reading! Setting up a corner of your home dedicated to reading will make it easier to focus when you do sit down to read. If you have an armchair or even some comfortable cushions, find a corner in your house to set up a reading nook! Dress the armchair with a throw blanket or a cushion to curl up with while reading. Bonus points if you’re able to find a corner by a bookshelf!

Tip: When visiting your reading nook, leave your phone in the other room, switch on a lamp, and enjoy a break from the screens!

Chintz is In!

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I love Chintz! This timeless, floral pattern has a certain British charm to it that can brighten up a room and bring a lovely nostalgia into a design, perfect for winter. There are endless ways to incorporate Chintz into your home. Whether you opt for Chintz curtains as seen here, a more subtle look with chintz pillows, or full-out chintz wallpaper, there’s an option for everyone. These curtains here are lined with Bump Cloth, a heavy flannel material from England to add extra insulation and warmth. These curtains are definitely one of my favorite parts of my master bedroom and always brighten up my day! The chintz pictured here is from Lee Jofa.

Tip: Layering or juxtaposing different patterns, like this flannel pattern to outline the chintz, provides texture and depth to the design, and makes the chintz pop.

Kilims & Rugs

Kilims are a type of flat-woven rug traditional to the Persian empire. They typically have beautiful geometric designs, and are an easy way to add some color into a room. Having good rugs is most important in winter to provide additional warmth to the space. Walking on cold hard floors is hardly the cozy feeling we’re trying to achieve. Rugs are also a great way to separate a space into different sections. A rug or kilim is often the first place I’ll start when designing a room, because of the variety of colors they offer. I can choose different items in the room to coordinate with each of the separate colors.

Tip: Place a smaller kilim underneath your arm chair to section off the corner as your reading nook!

The Possibilities are Endless!

These are just a few ways that you can create coziness in your home. As always, the best place to start is with yourself. When you close your eyes and think about feeling warm, comfortable, and safe, what comes to mind? Allow that to be your starting point and make sure each element you incorporate will help you achieve that feeling!

For help in designing your winter home, visit our services page to find out how we can help you!


Celebrating the Grand Millennial: Ideas & Inspiration

This New Year we are challenging ourselves to grow, finding new ways to design, and celebrating all the victories! In 2020, I had the pleasure of working with Nicole Catherine, a young professional who was looking to build a home for her new family. Nicole is a big fan of mixing older items with a modern flare. She considers herself a Grand Millennial: a younger person who loves all things old AND new!

What is a Grand Millennial?

After working with Nicole, she told me, “Since I was a little, I’ve always loved to collect vintage pieces here and there. Now having my own home to make ours, I am always searching for the details that will complete the room and bring it character. I proudly wear the title of “grand millennial” a love for everything antique and what you might find in your grandmothers home. Combining decor from today and yesterday/year makes the home feel collected and unique. The hunt is also one of my favorite parts of collecting as well as watching a home come to life!”

Nicole’s Grand Millennial Home – The Dining Room

This view of her dining room gives insight straightaway into how vintage and modern items can work seamlessly together. People flooded her instagram calling her home, “a literal dream.” The French chest is a vintage piece, paired with an antique mirror and vintage oyster plates. The table and chairs are kept in a neutral tone to allow the eye to be drawn to the decor and beautiful chandelier. Lighter toned furniture and wood naturally feels more modern. And although the chandelier is also new, she’s matched the bronze with the bronze around the mirror. Green tones from the oyster plates match seamlessly with the green in her house plants.

The tiger statue is reminiscent of vintage decor, but provides a lovely pop of color against the grey vase, which matches the grey marble on top of the French Chest.

Needless to say, this Grand Millennial room is an absolute delight to look at, and even better to sit and have dinner in!

Grand Millennial Cushions

In a different corner of her home, she features cushions made by Kelley Astore Interiors! To help her achieve the Grand Millennial look, I chose a green and white check to be paired with the delicate green and off-white floral printed cushions. Going for toned-down florals is a great way to achieve a modern-vintage look. The floral pattern reminds you of older chintz, but the design is subtle. Pairing these cushions on this white bench with a shiny bronze mirror above allows them to fill the space without taking too much attention!

Upcycled Furniture

Another easy way to achieve the Grand Millennial look is by upcycling antique furniture! We had the pleasure of restoring these chairs (we were brought the image in the left and gave her the chairs on the right!). Restoring an item is more sustainable, and allows you to choose which features to keep. We stripped them down and gave them new springs, webbing, and fabric. But we were able to keep the beautiful wooden frame. I chose a green and white check pattern with some more neutral toned cushions. Once again, both of these patterns date back decades, but presenting them in brighter more neutral colors really does give them a modern spin.

Remembering the past, Looking to the future

We had so much fun working with Nicole, and we are looking forward to incorporating more Grand Millennial designs into our work in the future!

Interested in renovating? Head to our services page to see how we can help you create the home of your dreams!


Kelley Astore Interiors

Expert Interior Design & Renovation Services of Every Style.

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Northern Virginia, Washington, DC,
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