As a professional interior designer, I am constantly
being asked by clients to create a professional, yet personal space
for home offices, because so many of my clients these days operate
The question I have is: What type of window treatments work best in home offices—what suggestions do you have for window treatments that are appealing enough for the home, yet give a professional look for clients entering a home office?
SOLUTION: Trends in home office design demand the design professional be creative, offering the best of both worlds when it comes to style and professional appeal for the homeowner who operates a home-based business. Careful thought must be given to a space as to how private it should be for the homeowner, yet how welcoming in a business sense it should be for visiting clients.
Access is an issue. Ask your client the question, “How is the space to be accessed by his or her business clientele?” The ideal situation would be a completely separate space with its own outside entrance, but that is not always the case. If at all possible, locate the home office near areas that have access to the outside that could work as a buffer between the home and the office. Many homes have a mud room or a butler’s pantry that could serve this purpose—especially when it comes to offering refreshment or snacks to clients.
As for the surface decoration, think about the following:
• Wall Treatments: Not too personal. A wall treatment that would serve both purposes would be wallpaper with either stripes or an overall pattern or texture but not too busy—something such as a neutral faux finish treatment would work well. Remember, neutral colors work best.
• Flooring: Consider wood flooring, ceramic tile or any other hard surface flooring. This type of flooring will not show traffic patterns and will be easy to maintain. When the office area is not in use, a favorite area rug may appeal to the individuals living in the home.
• Window Treatments: Stay away from a frilly look that will communicate “home” rather than a professional look. Window treatments such as wood blinds, shutters, soft shades, roller shades and vertical blinds are a good choice, as you can add a top treatment, such as a cornice or pleated valance that would still offer a detailed, yet professional look. Stay away from multi-floral or lace fabrics. To divide an area, a ceiling-mounted blind also serves as a room divider.
• Lighting: Formal meeting areas require good lighting, but still should offer a warm look. Ceiling fans, spot lighting, recessed lighting and custom light fixtures offer many possibilities. Try to locate conference tables near a window.
• Storage Systems: Be sure to include adequate storage space for papers, filing systems, etc. Do not try to clutter a home office area by using systems that look too residential.
Remember, simple, clean lines in a home office space work best. By using warm colors in your home office, your space will be inviting, yet offer a professional feel.
Many furniture manufacturers now offer lines of furniture that are appealing to both the homeowner and the client. Using woods in your furniture selection also adds a personal, yet professional look. Think about repeating the wood accents around the ceiling with crown molding or incorporate this into your wall treatment.
Editor’s note: This is a continuing series of articles written by Sharon L. Anderson that will answer some of the many questions we receive at Draperies & Window Coverings as well as questions Anderson has encountered in her own business. If you have a question you would like Anderson to address, please send it to:
c/o Draperies & Window Coverings
1724 E. Grand Ave.
Lindenhurst, IL 60046
Fax: (847) 356-9013
Sharon L. Anderson has more than 20 years experience in the residential and commercial areas of interior design. She is currently a faculty member at two Southern California colleges. Anderson has been featured in numerous books and publications.
Want more of Sharon Anderson’s articles? Past columns dating back to 1996 can be found on D&WC’s online archive categorized by author and subject: www.dwconline.com/ DWC/ArticleIndex.html.