The design is full of try-it-for-yourself ideas.
Home office with black and white family photo gallery on back wall
Mike Radford for Staples
Jasmine Roth may be an HGTV star who’s famous for her clever design solutions, but when the start of the pandemic prompted a sudden shift to work-from-home, she did what many others did at the time. “I worked at my dining room table for a year-and-a-half,” she says. “I sat on a hard, vintage wooden chair. It was awful!”
Roth oversees multiple renovation projects at once, so she’s either routinely hunched over a screen or reviewing paperwork for a site. “I love a good printer—I’m one of those people who still likes to print everything,” she jokes. As the time passed, though, she realized how uncomfortable and impractical it was to continue to work in her makeshift office. It was necessary to devise a better solution, while still leaning into the flexibility she had unwittingly adopted. “Like everyone, my husband Brett and I are making it work,” she says of the home she shares with him and their daughter Hazel in Huntington Beach, Calif. “I feel like everyone is embracing multi-functional rooms, and for us, that meant carving out an office for me in our game room.”
The game room had been home to the shuffleboard table the couple built years ago, which stood as a fixed object amidst Hazel’s toys. Roth felt that a wall in a corner of the space could act as a backdrop to a stylish-yet-functional workstation. “I love color and I wanted to use pops of it in this design, but I wanted to start with a neutral base,” she says. A wide, white desk became that anchor, and she and Brett arranged it until they found an ideal spot. “The easiest thing to do would have been to put the desk facing the wall, but we thought it was best to avoid that,” she says. “When we put it perpendicular to the wall, it felt like it best defined the space.” Matching midcentury filing cabinets were placed against the wall to create an L-shape, as well as a landing pad for a printer, and a coordinating chair was brought in to complete the area. “What a difference a comfortable chair makes,” she says.
Roth used accessories to add texture, color, and a bit of fun to the design. She introduced plants, colorful folders, and bowls that corral odds and ends (including the chips on her desk!). The open shelving gallery wall of family photos and the faux cowhide rug were already part of her home, but these features made the office feel even more intentional. “Construction in general is stressful, so it’s nice to look over and see my friends and family,” she says. “It’s always good to bring in a personal touch.”
Roth also considered one major detail that differentiates working in an actual office from working at home. “Lighting is usually harsh in offices, while at home, it can be too dark,” she says. “When you’re staring at a screen or looking at documents all day, that can strain your eyes and affect your mood. So I spent a lot of time troubleshooting the lighting in this area, and there are various options above and around me.”
As it turns out, the office space Roth outfitted in her home didn’t end up being a major project, and that’s why she hopes it inspires other dining-room-desk-dwellers to tackle similar upgrades. “Just taking the time to figure out the furniture, layout, and organization has really improved my productivity,” she says.
Get the Look:
A Low-Profile Lamp
As Roth notes, good lighting is crucial in a home office. But that doesn’t mean light fixtures need to be the stars of the show. This modern floor lamp illuminates the desk, but the slim design and small shade won’t distract from the gallery wall behind.
Modern White Floor Lamp
A Cozy Cushion
Comfortable floor cushions provide a spot for Roth’s daughter Hazel to lounge and play with toys. If your kids (or even pets) like to keep you company while you work, set out a cozy seat.
Floor Cushion in a Variety of Colors
A Dimmable Desk Lamp
The brass finish on this desk lamp helps the office shine, no matter if the lamp’s switched on or not. A built-in dimmer switch lets you set exactly the right brightness for reading, typing, or drawing up design plans.
Gold Dimmable Desk Lamp
Curate a selection of family photos from the camera roll on your phone, then have them printed in black-and-white. Once framed, line the photos along a set of open shelves to create a versatile gallery wall you can reconfigure as often as you like.
Desenio Black Frames Gallery Wall