How to Choose Home Office Furniture

Inspire creativity and productivity when you make thoughtful selections.

By Jan Soults Walker

Not all home office furnishings are created equal. Select the best pieces you can afford so they'll last for years to come. Here's how to determine which furnishings will optimize your working hours.

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Garrison Hullinger

Room requirements

Consider the tasks that will occur in your home office and who will use the room (and how many at one time) so you can determine individual and collective needs. If you need space to spread out research materials or perhaps two students will use the room, for example, find a desk with a large work surface. Planning to use this space to spark innovative thinking? Then you may only need a small desk and would get the most good out of an extra-comfy club chair and ottoman or chaise longue positioned to take in a great view. (Some of the best ideas come when you're looking out the window!) List everything that will happen in your home office and select furnishings to accommodate specific activities and people.

See our tips on How to Choose a Desk.

Orderly concepts

Make a plan for controlling clutter with good office furniture choices to minimize stress levels and keep your mind free to focus. To ensure you don't fall short on storage, take inventory of your supplies and office equipment and select storage pieces that will provide a place for everything. A combination of open and closed storage and high and low pieces can add interest as well as practicality. A low console, for example, provides organizational opportunities as well as a top surface for storage, display, or spreading out materials. A tall armoire or built-in shelving unit allows you to carry storage to the ceiling. You can make open shelves more functional and orderly by including bins and baskets for stowing smaller items.

Comfort criteria

Make your office homey with the addition of upholstered seating, such as a sofa, club chair and ottoman, or chaise longue. You'll also want an office chair designed for ease and support. Test out the pieces you're considering before you buy to make sure they're as comfortable as they are good looking. Be sure to minimize maintenance by selecting durable, stain-resistant fabrics with good warranties.

Also take a look at How to Choose Upholstered Seating.

Personal touches

Your home office needn't be solely about function. Consider amenities that make the environment alluring and inspiring, such as fabrics to bring in appealing colors and patterns, and artwork and personal photos. You'll also want to include features that accommodate activities you love, such as listening to music and reading. Before you shop, assemble a scrapbook of designs that draw your eye—the ideal sofa, top-of-the-line media equipment, and shelves and other storage pieces for stowing your stuff.

For more home design ideas and advice, check out:
Partners in Design

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