The perfect home office

How to design the perfect home office according to Instagram

Bright home office with stylish desk and houseplants.

But, when it comes to our home office set-ups, it seems many are less than ideal, which could affect our productivity and motivation as well as our overall health and happiness. 

Well over a third (38%) of UK residents are planning improvements to the design of their home office this year. So, to provide a unique piece of analytical inspiration, we studied more than 100 of the most stylish and most-liked home office designs on Instagram to discover the core components each of them shared – from the optimum number of houseplants, to the most motivational wall colours, and even the best art to have on the wall.

Recipe for success

To arrive at the perfect formula, we looked at seven key design elements in each image, including: wall colour, floor colour and material; style, features and colour of the desk; chair type, colour and material; the total number of houseplants, type of shelves, and key decorative features such as artwork.

And, the results are in! The formula for the most stylish home office is:

White walls + medium wood bare floorboards + a wooden, writing style desk with no drawers + a white, fabric fixed leg chair + two houseplants + fixed simple shelves + a framed print of the outdoors
The elements of the most stylish home office according to Instagram users.

The analysis shows the calming aesthetic of Scandi styling is increasingly popular for home office design, with neutral colours, a couple of houseplants and simple furniture shaping up to be key trends for 2021.  

White walls

The overwhelming choice for an office wall colour is white – helping to maximise space, and providing a clear and professional backdrop of calm productivity.    

Home office with white walls and big window.

1. White 54%
2. Grey 11% 
3. White + colour accent 9%
4. Green  7%
5. Blue 5%
6. Cream 5%
7. Pink  3%   
8. Black 2%   
9. Brick 2%
10. Wood 1%
11. Orange 1%

Medium wood bare floorboards

Wood flooring was the front runner for a work from home space, particularly medium and pale woods. When not simply bare, floorboards were usually paired with a rug.

Medium brown wooden floorboards in a home office.

Top floor colours  

1. Medium wood 16%
2. Grey 14%  
3. Pale wood 14%  
4. White 14%  
5. Dark wood 8%  
6. No floor pictured 8%  
7. Black + white 6%  
8. Brown 4%  
9. Cream 4%  
10. Multi-coloured 4%  

Top floor materials

1. Floorboards 43%  
2. Rug 25%  
3. Carpet 18%  
4. Tiles 9%  
5. Concrete 1%  

A wooden, writing style desk with no drawers

Wooden writing desk with typewriter.

A simple writing desk was the most popular choice – typically with a modern minimalist design.   

1. Writing desk 47%
2. Computer desk 15%  
3. Built-in 13%
4. Floating shelf  10%
5. Table 6%
6. Stand-up 5%
7. Corner unit 3%
8. Other 1%

White desks were popular but natural materials eventually won out with the most common desks featuring a wooden top, if not all completely wooden.   

1. Wood 44%
2. White 34%
3. Black 10%
4. Brown 6%
5. Grey 4%
6. Pink 2%
7. Clear glass 1%

From drawers on one side to floating shelves, there were a myriad of different design features for desks – mostly incorporating storage. Here are the top 5.  

1. No drawers 23%
2. Thin drawers underneath 11%
3. Drawers on one side 9%
4. Statement design 6%
5. Set of drawers underneath 3% 

 A white, fabric fixed leg chair

White executive swivel chairs appeared a lot – and with 39% of chairs having some kind of swivel/free movement design, it showed ergonomics play a big part in home offices. However, fixed chairs were seen even more frequently, particularly fabric ones.  

White fabric chair with fixed legs.

Top colours   

1. White 21%
2. Black 19%
3. Grey 15%
4. Brown 14%
5. Beige 7%
6. Blue 4%
7. Yellow 4%
8. Pink 3%   
9. Cream 2%
10. Green 2%

Top materials  

1. Fabric 31%  
2. Leather 27%  
3. Plastic 20%  
4. Wood 9%  
5. No chair featured 6%  
6. Wicker 4%  
7. Metal 2%  
8. Rattan 1%  

Top styles  

1. Fixed 54%  
2. Swivel 27%  
3. Exec Swivel Office Chair 12%  
4. No chair featured 6%  
5. Armchair  2%  
6. Rocking Chair 1%  

Two houseplants

Some offices featured as many as 12! Whilst 28% didn’t feature any, another 28% featured three or more house plants, but the average was 2 plants in an office space.

Young woman working on a computer in a home office surrounded by green houseplants.

Fixed simple shelves

Over a third of the Instagram home offices didn’t have any shelving units, but those that did opted for simple fixed-to-wall flat shelves.   

Six simple wooden shelves on the wall in a home office.

1. Fixed to wall 35%
2. No shelves 35%
3. Built-in cabinetry 20%   
4. Free-standing shelving unit 9%   

A framed print of the outdoors

The use of artwork and photography was the most popular principal design feature – ranging from outdoor landscapes to block colour geometric prints. A mini trend was the use of pinboards, displaying post it notes, letters and photos.

Framed print of the outdoors in a home office.

1. Art 34%    
2. Nothing 20%    
3. Window 16%  
4. Shelves 15%   
5. Pinboard 10%   
6. Fireplace 2% 
7. Mirrors 2%  
8. TV 1% 

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