A Craze Jumpstarted by a Pandemic

Photography by AB-Photography.us

Homeowners are repurposing existing spaces and creating at-home offices in main living areas, such as family rooms and guest rooms. With more people working from home and many kids doing distance learning, home offices are more popular than ever.

Creativity, versatility and productivity

Creativity and versatility are the keys when it comes to designing an at-home office these days, say homeowners and decorating professionals.

“In light of COVID-19, we’ve definitely had more interest in curating home offices,” says Sara Lohse, owner of Rescued Room, an organizing, cleaning and interior design firm located in Rochester. “But honestly, people have always had an interest in getting their home offices well-organized, whether for work or for personal use.”

Sarah Larson of Rochester started out with her home office in a basement spare bedroom but moved it to the downstairs family room for a view of the outdoors and additional light to increase her productivity. She says that making separate workspaces helped the entire family feel more productive and kept their materials organized. Before creating her home office, “I felt like work and my son’s school materials took over the whole house,” Larson says.

Office essentials and potentials

Professionals say more homeowners are choosing versatile furniture pieces, and straying from traditional desks. Many companies have “great multi-purpose pieces in their living room and bedroom collections,” says Katelin Ehler, sales and marketing specialist and design consultant for Drury’s Furniture in Rochester.

“We do hear a lot of customers getting creative with what they’re using,” says Ehler. “Everything from sofa tables to small kitchen islands are being used as desks right now. People are really good at seeing the potential uses of items, especially if they have an unusual nook they’re trying to work with.”

Jessica Curry, owner and designer of Interiors by J. Curry, says that flooring to accommodate a rolling chair is critical and having a comfortable, ergonomic, commercial, adjustable office chair is “great if the budget allows.” Other homeowners prefer a desk surface that changes heights and allows for standing desk use.

Look and feel

Lohse nudges clients to establish home offices in spaces that are both well-lit and convenient to get to. “Bright spaces encourage productivity, while proximity ensures more consistent usage,” she says.

Many homeowners call their home office their “Zoom room,” says Lohse. “Gallery walls and aesthetic bookcases are popular. They’re beautiful and also double nicely as Zoom backgrounds.”

Homeowners are creating simple, minimalist, airy feeling spaces. “We don’t see as many big, traditional executive desk setups as we used to,” Ehler says. “Instead customers are leaning toward streamlined desks with flexible side pieces like mobile file cabinets and bunching bookcases.”

Curry says, “I think with the recent pandemic people are turning toward organic, comfortable and serene spaces for offices, keeping them mostly bright with some wood accents or soft color tones. The gray and white trend is starting to see its day.”

About Author

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Renee is a mom of two teenagers and a freelance writer in Rochester. She has no at-home office but dreams of one day having one.

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