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How to Create a Minimalist Home Office: a Designer’s Guide

The one design style that promotes simplicity more than any other is minimalism – and it works perfectly in home offices. The ultra-clean aesthetic offers a surprising number of benefits that improve work performance, which is the primary goal of any home office setup. As an interior designer, I use this modern office style and feel its benefits daily. 

What are all the benefits of a minimalist home office, and how can you create one at home? This article lays out the answers simply; after all, that’s what minimalism is all about. 

Here are the benefits of incorporating minimalist interior design in your office space. 

  • A lack of clutter reduces distractions so that your mind concentrates on your task at hand. 
  • You maintain access to all you need to stay productive. 
  • The beautiful, clean aesthetic keeps you at your desks longer
  • The clean design provides more room at home for others in shared spaces. 
  • A less-is-more work setting works like a blank canvas, boosting creativity.
  • Minimalism is achievable at any price point. 
  • You can still be stylish and creative with your design to create a space you love, taking your productivity further. 

There are many minimalist design styles out there. Examples include Japandi, Wabi-Sabi, and Mid-Century Modern. For this article, I am focusing on minimalism in its purest form. All those other styles branch from it. 

a white minimalist home office with desk and console

Minimalism looks simple, and it is, but putting thought into your choices ensures optimal productivity. Here are some minimalist office design ideas broken down into steps to plan it right. 

An open empty notebook on a white desk next to an iPhone and a MacBook

The most important aspect of an effective home office setup is its ability to support you in business growth. This should be factored in before selecting any furniture or decor. 

Here are some key considerations to keep in mind as you plan your work area: 

It should fit your work requirements and accommodate all your work tools: Don’t worry about how you will store all those items or how everything will look. I cover this topic further in the article. 

It should create the right environment for work: Will your workspace be used for focused tasks, a place for video conferences, or a multifunctional area? Whatever the purpose, it should fit it. I will go into what environments do this best further in the article. 

Know how the room will be used: Will your workspace be an office nook in a living room, family room, or guest room? Maintaining a clear understanding of how the room is used will help ensure you design your workspace to meet all the demands of your home. 

It should fit your taste and personal preferences: The final design should be an environment where you love to be. The more you enjoy your time in it, the longer you will work and the happier you will be. I’ll show you how to create a space you love further into the article. 

a woman sitting at a table with a laptop in a quiet corner of a room with ample light

One of the cons of working from home is distractions. The goal of a minimalist office is to create a calm, relaxed area for working; therefore, the location of your workspace is important. If you are not sure where to put your home office, here are some factors to consider: 

Strive for a dedicated workspace: Avoid setting up your home office in high-traffic spaces to minimize disruptions. Having a designated area also helps you concentrate and separate work from play. 

Reduce noise levels: Evaluate the noise levels in different areas of your home. Ideally, your home office should be quiet and have few distractions. 

Create ample privacy for work: Determine how much privacy you need and stick to it. You’ll want a secluded space if your tasks involve confidential information or frequent video conferences.

Choose spaces with natural light: Utilizing natural light has health benefits proven to improve mood and energy during work. It also allows for more light without electricity, making it a truly minimal solution. 

A clean desk with an Apple iMac, keyboard, and pen

With your goals defined, look at your work tools and other items in the space. Evaluate each item carefully and begin decluttering, limiting them to the bare necessities. This can be the most fun part of the process or the most challenging, depending on who you are, but don’t skip this process. It is the key ingredient for a minimalist space. Doing it helps you recognize what items are essential.

Separating items from those I use most often to those I use least helps me prioritize what I need close at hand and what can be stored away, donated, sold, or tossed. I then follow a travel packing hack of removing 30% to see if anything else can be sacrificed. This trick brings a new perspective to what I truly need. 

clear glass top table with brown wooden base and gray walls

Ultra-clean style minimizes visual disruptions, so it uses a minimal number of colors. You can choose any colors, but the fewer, the better. Black and rich blues, greens, and more intense colors have become more popular lately, but classic neutrals like whites, beige, cream, and gray are the most common. They are inviting, calm, and go with everything. You can still add pops of color if you like. Scandinavian design and Mid-Century Design are famous for their blends of clean backdrops and pops of color. 

The best source for colors and their complements is Pantone. They even offer a color of the year along with a range of other colors that blend beautifully with neutrals. Most paint brands also have their own pics for color blends.

When choosing a color template, remember that the largest areas of color will have the largest impact on the room, so work your way from the largest items to the smallest. The three largest in terms of color are the walls, ceilings, and floors. Color can come from wall paint, wallpaper, wood paneling, or flooring material like wood, tile, and carpet. Some recent trends are having ceilings match walls, but ceilings are typically kept white or are between 50% to 20% lighter than the walls. The brighter the room, the less lightness you need.

If you think you may change colors over time, keep a record of all your favorite colors and remember them when selecting furniture. I will go into furniture selections in a bit. 

green plant on white pot beside white study lamp and bookshelf

Storage solutions play a significant role in keeping needed work items nearby and your workspace organized and clutter-free. You can maintain a minimal look by matching surrounding wall colors, using clear glass, or choosing simple, clean designs of painted metal, rich wood, or storage cubes with clean labels. I cover a full range of shelving and cabinet options in my home office shelving article.  

silver iMac ad wireless keyboard in bright room near desk lamp

As mentioned earlier, proper lighting is essential for both productivity and ambiance in your minimalist home office. The simplest and healthiest solution is natural light, but you can supplement it with strip lighting, task lighting, and a monitor lamp bar. I’ll cover these options more in a bit. 

tilt shift lens photo of glass bowl with plant

Minimalism is about using less while maintaining a harmonious, balanced space. Greenery is an integral part of the process, ensuring a balanced connection to nature while adding a spot of color and improving the health of the room.

The good news about minimalism is you can find less-is-more solutions for displaying plants. From glass planters on walls or desks to white or natural wood pots for plants of any size, you can achieve the look you need. 

handmade wabi sabi art in wave patterns

Nearly all interior design styles today focus more on displaying personal items to enrich the experience. Examples include momentos, photos, heirloom furniture, hand-made crafts, and personally-made art. Minimalist interiors help items stand out in all their glory, like items in a museum. Add any personal touches you like to make your space uniquely yours. They enhance the look, add richness, and make your office where you want to work all day. 

person using MacBook Pro to shop online

Now that you clearly understand your work tools, storage needs, and personal items you want to display, it’s time to shop for any items you need.

Some tips While shopping:  

  • The performance of your workspace is by far the most important consideration, so prioritize items with the right size and functionality you need. Ergonomic furniture provides healthy comfort and support for long hours of work. Once those items are found, you can dial into the looks you love most. Prioritize clean lines or curves over designs with embellishments or excessive details because busy designs distract from the feeling of openness. 
  • Multi-purpose furniture and accessories ensure you maintain the functionality you need with the least clutter. Examples include a sofa bed for a guest room, a standing desk, a side table that doubles as a second desk, and an all-in-one charging device that powers your phone, watch, and earbuds while keeping all of them within easy access. A modular reclining office chair provides comfort for work and rest. The more uses you gain from one object, the better. 

Choosing Furniture and Accessories

Here are some sources for minimalist items:

  1. My article on minimalist decor items is great place to see some of today’s best designs. My website focuses almost exclusively on minimalist design, so you are sure to find products there.
  2. Some brands worth considering are Oakywood, Govemade, Artifox, and Balolo
  3. Pinterest is a terrific source for minimalist items. Use it to save pictures of furniture and accessories you love. The app will then provide more solutions based on what you save.
  4. Other good strong sources are Instagram and Google Images. Save them as screenshots and add them to a Word document, PowerPoint doc, or Google Sheets doc to create a vision board. 

Lighting

The goal is to provide ample light at your desk for note-taking and supplementing the light of your monitor while reducing blue light for more comfortable work. Minimalist lighting includes strip lighting, monitor light bars, and a cleanly designed table lamp and floor lamp. Place the lighting throughout the space for a calmer work experience. Check out my article devoted to home office lighting.  

Artwork

Artwork is a personal decision, but clean, simple, abstract designs with a minimal number of colors work exceptionally well in minimalist spaces. Again, you can add a personal touch by creating your own artwork, such as textured wall art.

There you have it: a quick and simple guide to creating a minimalist home office. Be sure to also check out all of my other articles on my website since I focus almost entirely on minimalist products. You will find that designing an office in this style enhances your productivity and brings a sense of tranquility to your daily tasks.