Monthly Archives: July 2014

Working in Style: Modern Home Offices That Make an Impact

With 1 in 5 Americans now working from home, having a functional and attractive home office has never been more essential. Even so, for many homeowners, a home office is a drab space where you sit down to do tedious tasks. Design-wise, this space is often an afterthought. However, with a few creature comforts and some thoughtful design elements, your home office can truly be a place to enjoy. Take a look at some of the beautiful ideas we’ve put together for modern home offices:

Soft Touches

modern home offices

Santa Monica Office designed by JAC Interiors

One of the first words that comes to mind when looking at this office is probably “plush.” The cushy, scoop-like swivel chair, the faux fur rug — all of this softness takes the dull formality out of a home office environment. We’ve been seeing people adorning stiff, formal office chairs with textured throws and incorporating a few eclectic knickknacks here and there to add a touch of whimsy to their home office. Here, the use of pink accomplishes the same purpose, ushering in a sense of lightheartedness.

Well-Designed Office Furniture

modern home offices

Girado Office Chair from Wharfside Commercial Furniture

Aside from having a sleek natural wood structure that would easily fit in with any modern office space, this swivel chair is engineered to automatically face your desk when you leave your workstation. This contributes to a feeling of tidiness in your home office. The particular chair is offered in seven different wood varieties as well as a curved, leather-backed version to suit any taste.

Minimalistic

modern home offices

Royal System Shelving Unit B with Desk Cabinet

For homeowners who don’t require a full-scale home office, a multi-functional yet unassuming shelving unit could be all that is needed. The piece above not only displays a sparse collection of books and collectibles, but it also includes a cleverly hidden desk cabinet that opens up to a miniature writing nook or laptop space in a pinch.

Built-in Workspaces

modern home offices

EVOKE interior

In a modern, open-concept home, your home office doesn’t have to be boxed in by four walls. In this EVOKE space, an office workspace naturally flows out of an adjoining living space. A see-through fireplace adds coziness and makes the workspace feel more inviting and less like a cramped cubicle.

Natural Light

modern home offices

EVOKE office space

For small office spaces, natural light is imperative. The spacious window in this EVOKE office breathes a breath of fresh air into this space. A plush chair placed near the window becomes an ideal break spot when you need to step away from your work for a while and reflect.

(Photos via Houzz.com; Wharfside-Commercial.co.uk; DWR.com; EVOKE; and EVOKE)

Striking Silhouettes: Modern Design With Cut Outs

In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed how geometric shapes are used extensively in modern home design. One way to incorporate geometric elements aside from choosing furnishings with an overt geometric structure is to choose pieces with cut-outs.

Carefully chosen pieces with cut outs also fit solidly within a minimalistic design scheme — any time you can break up a bulky piece of furniture to allow light to pass through you are adding to the sense of open space in the home. Here are a few great pieces we find that exemplify effective use of cut outs:

Cut Out Rugs

cut out rugs

Edition Silhouette Rug by Object Carpet

Who says rugs have to be limited to standard rectangular or circular shapes? Many modern design rugs feature abstract shapes, stylized edges and geometric cut outs. The rug above from Object Carpet creates a sense of contrast with circular cut outs that allow large swatches of your floor to show through. This style of carpet is especially effective on hardwood floors. We recommend selecting neutral colors like muted golds, grays and whites so that the cut outs draw more attention than the color.

Cut Out Furniture

cut out furniture

Paige Contemporary Chair by Coaster Fine Furniture

We’re also seeing cut outs being used effectively in midcentury modern furniture. While today’s tufted, low-to-the-ground pieces are already unassuming, we think cut outs further reduce the appearance of bulk in leather furniture, which tends to look heavy no matter how it is structured. Cut outs make this heavy leather furniture instantly feel lighter and airier, which helps to open up your living space.

cut out furniture

In & Out End Table by Global Views

A solid wood end table with cut out spacing between layers gives the appearance that each layer is floating above the other. Aside from allowing light to easily pass through, the end table is practical, as each layer can be used to stow books or small display items.

Cut Out Lampshades

cut out lampshades

Laser-cut wooden lampshade by min-jon

One of the most innovative ways we’ve seen cut outs incorporated is in wooden lampshades. Not only do these laser-cut wooden lampshades show a high level of craftsmanship, but they can also be layered over the top of differently colored cloth shells that can be easily swapped out to create different color themes. While the piece above features a black cloth shell, you can also layer the wooden lampshade over other colors, like blue, green or white, to create different effects.

Cut Out Statement Chairs

cut out statement chairs

Diva Chairs by Colico Design

Aside from offering a pleasant pop of color to a living or office space, these brilliantly designed chairs feature a smooth cut out that creates visual interest. The almost-perfectly-spherical shape of the chairs adds a touch of geometric flair to a space while the cut out adds a dash of playfulness and keeps the piece from being too rigid.

(Photo sources in order of appearance: Object-Carpet.com via Contemporist.com; CoasterFurniture.com; GlobalViews.com; Min-Jon.com [also Etsy.com] via Design-Milk.com; and Colico.com)

Add a Splash of Color with a Bold Accent Wall

As with many things in life, balance is the key to good design in a modern home. For example, if you add too much color or texture a home looks chaotic, but if you add too little a home looks stark. One way you can achieve balance in your design is with a bold accent wall. This will allow you to create a striking focal point without saturating your whole home with a single color or element.

Cool Color Tones

bold accent wallFor a bedroom, cool color tones such as this blue-green accent wall add a feeling of serenity, peace and comfort, which are suitable for sleeping spaces. A cool-toned accent wall can quickly bring a room together, particularly if you choose smaller decorative pieces in a space that tie in with that color. In the space above, the woven stools at the foot of the bed add texture while a decorative headboard and throw pillows tie in perfectly with the cool tone of the accent wall.

Vivid Color Tones

bold accent wall

Vivid color tones make the most sense in high-energy areas of the home where you most frequently gather with friends or family. In the photo above, a red accent wall is an ideal backdrop for a living space where families will gather on a regular basis for movies, games or their favorite sitcom. Red accents on the rug, throw pillows and artwork on an adjoining wall tastefully tie the bold red color scheme together. The room’s largest furnishings are neutral to keep the loud color from overwhelming the space.

Playing with Patterns

bold accent wall

A solid color isn’t the only way to add an eye-catching accent wall. Creative stenciling or modern wallpaper are also good options for those who want to create visual interest with patterns. The design above combines two popular patterns — chevron and herringbone — into one unified pattern. If you plan to use a pattern in your home, we recommend sticking with earth tones along the lines of sand and slate. If you like the pattern shown above, you can find a step-by-step tutorial here for your own DIY painting project.

Wood Accent Wall

bold accent walls

Last but not least, reclaimed wood or new, finished wood are also good options for accent walls. Reclaimed wood is a good choice for homeowners looking for eco-friendly options in their home. Wood planks instantly add character to a space. With a little staining and distressing, you can achieve virtually any look you want.

(Photos in order of appearance EVOKE; EVOKE; TheGoldJellyBean.com; and Houzz.com)

Moroccan Décor for the Modern Home

Many modern homeowners look for ways they can add a touch of the exotic to their home to give their home décor a bit of an eclectic flair. One of the ways you can accomplish this goal is through a modern Moroccan motif. We’ve searched out some great items that exemplify Moroccan décor with a modern sensibility. Here are some great examples:

Moroccan Poufs and Floor Cushions

Moroccan Décor

Moroccan Leather Poufs by Graham & Green

Who says traditional seating is your only option in your home? Moroccan poufs or large floor cushions not only allow you to incorporate a splash of bold color in your home, but they are also a great alternative seating option when you’re entertaining guests or simply curling up to watch a movie with family. Low-to-the-ground seating options fit in nicely with midcentury modern furniture, which also tend to sit a bit lower. If you do happen to prefer traditional seating, Moroccan poufs work equally well as a footstool in a pinch. Last but not least, you can add an ornate modern tray to the top of a pouf to create an instant miniature tabletop for tea or a few choice books.

Moroccan Rugs and Textiles

Moroccan Décor

Moroccan Tile Rugs from Gump’s San Francisco

One of the easiest ways you can include a Moroccan element in your home is through Moroccan rugs and textiles for your home’s living spaces and bedrooms. Contemporary interpretations of traditional Moroccan tile-print and Beni Ourain rugs are widely available and come in neutral and bold tones for any color scheme. The cohesive grid pattern radiates order, pulling everything together. You might also consider using Moroccan textiles as wall hangings throughout your home. This adds a touch of warmth to modern homes and provides a unique alternative to canvas art. You can change out these textiles over time (or even as you accumulate different authentic pieces in your travels).

Moroccan Furniture

Moroccan Décor

Tangier Credenza with Moroccan Tile Motif

Those who are fully committed to a Moroccan motif in their home might consider Moroccan furniture, including large entryway consoles, display cabinets or smaller accent tables. While traditional Moroccan wood furniture with distinctive hand-carved arches and cut-outs can certainly be blended into your modern décor in moderation, it is often easier to keep a modern look by selecting modern furniture with a more subtle Moroccan flair.

Moroccan Lanterns and Lamps

Moroccan Décor

Moroccan Tyre Lamps from Graham & Green

Last but not least, Moroccan hanging pendants or floor lamps are a great touch. These lanterns  provide ambient lighting while serving as aesthetically pleasing statement pieces. Moroccan lanterns are known for their characteristic perforations that allow light to peek through and cast beautiful shadows in the spaces they illuminate.

(Photos from top to bottom via GrahamAndGreen.co.uk; Gumps.com; DecorPad.com; and GrahamAndGreen.co.uk)