Design Recipes: Functional workspaces

An industrial styled space serves as an office and den in an urban apartment. (Scott Gabriel Morris/TNS)
An industrial styled space serves as an office and den in an urban apartment. (Scott Gabriel Morris/TNS)

Often in a home there is a clear space for play and a designated space for work. For many, the desire for a space exclusively dedicated to work may be dictated by the size and available space within one's living environment.

Whether your workspace is a wall or entire room, design and function should still play a prominent role. In designing the ideal work environment, think of the function first and then let design be your guide.

Design Recipes home office tips

Define the type of work you wish to do in your work environment.

Think about function first. Is this a space where you work privately, or do you need to design a space where clients may potentially visit?

Ask yourself how you want your work environment to make you feel. This element will help you to select appropriate colors depending on the mood you wish to convey.

Add personal touches. Whether it's family photographs or personal mementos, personal touches can help to make a work environment feel more welcoming.

Add plenty of light. Typically, a work environment is used during different parts of the day so be sure to have adequate light.

Choose a space with good natural light. If possible, choose a workspace with a window to allow for natural light and fresh air.

Hire a professional for special technical needs if necessary. In some cases, there is a need to have a full "at home" work environment that mimics the same capabilities of a traditional office setting.

Look for a quiet space if possible, to avoid disturbing others or being disturbed by outside noise or distracting.

Choose colors that speak to your personality. Many people spend hours each day in their workspace so you will want to fill it with colors that enliven you.

Design your work environment as you would other spaces within your home to include elements such as artwork, area rugs, quality furniture and accents or accessories.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design home staging expert and short-term rental/vacation home designer with offices in New York City and The Hudson Valley. Contact her at or visit her website at

photo An open bright office is highlighted with classic colors to include taupe, black and red. (Scott Gabriel Morris/TNS)
photo Soft muted pastel artwork is paired with an indigo lacquered desk to create a sense of glamour in this office space. (Scott Gabriel Morris/TNS)
photo A guest room with a hidden desk and bed, serves as a multiple purpose space for both work and guests. (Scott Gabriel Morris/TNS)