November 13, 2020

How to create the perfect multi-functional home office space with IKEA.

Paid partnership with IKEA.

multifunctional home office with seventies style
Welcome to my home office – a neutral 70s haven with a bright pop of pink!

I have a confession. Since stepping foot in our rented abode just over a year ago, I haven’t sat at my desk once. Not for the lack of wanting to, or because there was anything wrong with the desk itself; it just simply didn’t work with my new home. It’s hard to think ahead when you’re renting, right?

The desk that came with me from our tiny one-bed flat in Earlsfield was very much made for a small space, and well, this new home of ours just really isn’t that small. I felt a little silly sitting in the middle of a room (still filled with moving boxes might I add) and getting down to a productive working day. ‘It’s okay,’ I said to myself. ‘Join the local co-working space, you’ll be grand’. Enter COVID-19 and lockdown numero uno.

Whether you are a freelancer or one of the many working from home due to Covid-19, chances are that you’ve had to take a good long look at your home office space. It’s also likely that you’re potentially sharing said space with at least one other person. With Josh furloughed and myself unable to head to my office, I decided it was time to tackle the room of doom and turn it into a beautiful workspace that is both adaptable, flexible and in tune with both mine and JJP’s needs. Here’s how we created a multi-functional home office space that worked for us both, and how you can too!

neutral taupe home office with mint shelving and pink decor
Kindness really is the new rock and roll!

Think about function.

So, what did we need our new office to be? By day (well, normally anyway) JJP works in hospitality and hence, no office required, but by night, he’s a musician and needs space for writing, recording and editing. Throughout lockdown we carved a makeshift area for him upstairs in a corner of the loft, which will be staying for recording purposes, but I also wanted to give him a light and airy home office to get inspired and write. As I flit between writing, editing, styling, designing and everything else in-between, I’m not always sitting at a desk either. There was no point in overloading the office with furniture, so we decided to keep things simple so that we can dip in and out of the space. If we decide that we each need our own desk at some point, so be it. That’s part of working together. 

neutral taupe home office with beige ALEX IKEA desk and pink decor
The bright pink ceiling is the perfect contrast to the neutral walls.

Choose productive colours.

Colour choice in an office is extremely important, but it’s something that should be personal to you. What are the colours that make you feel most productive? We decided a neutral that we could add pops of colour to was the best call of action, and JJP chose the light beige – Donkey Ride by Earthborn – as the base colour. Me being me, I needed to make a statement somehow, so countered with the idea of a bright pink – Delilah by Earthborn – ceiling to keep things interesting. The mix of beige and pink is a pretty big statement, yes,  but means we’re not so distracted when sitting at the desk itself. A glance up gives a feeling of total joy though, FYI.

multifunctional home office space with artwork on walls
close up of artwork and ALEX desk from IKEA
The ALEX desk in beige is the perfect match for the neutral walls.

Find the right desk.

While I said that we don’t often sit at the same desk, I did want a desk big enough for the both of us, should we decide to get down to work together. I’d say that the ALEX desk is around the same size as a desk you’d share at school (remember those?) and we could easily both sit here if required. I was drawn to this desk thanks to its beige colourway and the huge storage drawers in the front, which don’t have too much impact on the overall profile. The desk looks sleek, modern and could easily be upcycled if we ever fancy a change.

I made use of my existing storage furniture, adding in rattan accents and pink decor.

Don’t forget about storage.

I don’t know about you, but I find office storage can just be SO boring. As soon as I saw the SMARRA storage boxes,  I knew I had to have them. The rattan weave is gorgeous and perfect for all of my bits and bobs, as well as leads and extra stationery. Part of finding the right storage is having somewhere to put it, so before ordering I double checked to ensure they would fit into my existing storage unit.

pink poodle candle on sleek white table lamp
70s style lighting in multifunctional office
Lighting is an integral part of good office design – make sure you have a desk lamp and ceiling fixture.

Light it up.

Lighting is an integral part of a good office scheme, especially in the winter months. While a ceiling light is an essential part of a room scheme – I chose the seventies style JACOBSBYN pendant lampshade in light brown – it’s often the task lighting that does all the work. At first glance, I wasn’t sure about the white NYMÅNE table lamp, but when I saw it styled up, I thought it would be perfect for our workspace. The dome shape is super current and adds to that laidback seventies feel that I’ve created with the textured rug and earthy colour palette.

Sonos x Ikea bookshelf speaker in green tylko unit
The SONOS x IKEA collaboration is perfect for streaming our joint playlists.

Master your Spotify playlist.

As the office is also being used as a studio space, there’s no question that a high-quality sound speaker was required within the space.  I listen to pop music to get myself motivated (guilty pleasure playlist on repeat) and Josh listens back to his own creations. We use SONOS in the rest of our home, so the SYMFONISK bookshelf speaker was an easy decision for us. It sits on a shelf and blends in, or you can attach it to the wall and use it as a shelf itself. As I write, I’m listening to the sweet sounds of Olivia Dean, and can confirm it’s a treat for any audio buff. 

vases and decor with dried flowers
DIY pinboard in plant stand with faux botanicals
I used the KRYDDPEPPAR plant stand to house my DIY pin board and faux plants.

Add a combination of real and faux plants.

Plants help with your productivity and will also help to purify the air, but if you’re not naturally green-fingered, faux plants are a great alternative. I mixed in some faux options from the range at IKEA with some real ivy to instil a sense of the peaceful outdoors. You could also try dried flowers, as seen above.

collection of earthy decor with pink artwork
collection of earthy decor with pink artwork
Make your office personal with items you’ve collected over time, and new pieces that you love.

Make it personal.

As well as finding the right desk, lights, storage, it’s also important to create the right atmosphere in your home office. Make it personal by filling the walls with your favourite artwork, adding in vintage pieces and objects you’ve picked up on your travels. As this space was for the both of us, I’ve added in some postcards picked up on exhibition visits, gig posters, some of our favourite album artwork and photographs from holidays. It’s these little details that will make your home office feel like yours.

instax camera on top of stack of magazines
A fresh stack of magazines will provide all the inspiration I need for the future.

Source list:

Want to know how to create the look in your home office? Shop our home office space below. All items are available at IKEA.

ALEX desk in beige | £129

JACOBSBYN pendant lampshade in light brown | £15

KRYDDPEPPAR plant stand | £29

NYMÅNE table lamp | £35

OMFÅNG blue vase | £7

KAFFEBÖNA bamboo plant pot | £3.50

ÅTERSKEN table lamp | £40

SYMFONISK bookshelf speaker | £89

SMARRA storage box | £13

FEJKA fern artificial potted plant | £7

FEJKA string of hearts artificial potted plant | £9

STENBAER plant pot | £15

FEJKA artificial eucalyptus potted plant | £7

For more interior inspiration, colour clashing and general life admin, check out the rest of my blog. Follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter for more of the EJP in your life.


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Emma Jane Palin is a freelance art consultant, interior stylist and multi-award-winning blogger residing in Margate, UK. She has worked with various home and lifestyle brands not limited to West Elm, Apple, John Lewis, Habitat, MADE, Caran D'Ache + No.3 Gin. Emma is also a regular contributor to Hunker where she writes about design trends and interior advice.

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