How you design your home office has never been more important. With so many people making the switch from in-person to remote work over the past few years, the work from home office space has become a key component in any interior design plan.
This season, in keeping with the general craze for mid-century Modern everything, the best home offices are taking their leads from Modernist trends. And it’s no wonder. Sleek, clean geometric forms, sophisticated materials, elegant lines; Modernist home offices mean you are starting your work day each day in a refined, well-organized setting.
In this article, we will explore the origins of Modernist furniture and interior designs. And we will take a look at the best Modernist home office design trends for winter 2022.
A Brief History of Modernist Office Design
Mid-century Modern design always attempts to unite form and function. So one could argue that there is no more relevant space in the home to feature modernist designs than in the home office. Offices in the 1950s and 1960s often served as homes away from homes. There, office workers spent most of their days, and, particularly for executives, the office was not only a place of work but also of socializing, hosting, and resting. Picture Don Draper napping on his leather sofa in the TV series “Mad Men” and you will have a good idea of what we mean. So comfort had to be combined with professionalism in modernist offices.
Plus, the new German-inspired open office plan meant that office furniture had to be created that was adaptable and flexible. Most employees in the 1960’s now began to work in semi-private workspaces, the precursors to contemporary cubicles. Which meant temporary and adjustable furniture designs. The ‘action office’ plan was initially invented by a former art professor, Robert Probst. And the Action Office furniture line was one of the first to utilize the flexible workspace.
Furniture with clean, organic lines and simple geometric shapes created just the right mix. Sofas and chairs incorporated a blend of organic and synthetic materials. Natural wood, leather, and steel contrasted nicely with resin, plastic, fiberglass, and vinyl. Mid-century modernist furniture emphasized the honest use of materials; in other words, designers highlighted the way furniture items were created, rather than trying to mask each item’s foundations. This philosophical approach to design meant that a professional working in an office building could adopt a similar approach: confident, organic, professional, and with nothing to hide. Pops of bright color in the furniture could indicate to potential clients that this was a worker who was not afraid to make bold creative decisions.
Modernist Office Design Trends At Home
Whereas before the Modernist office was a home away from home, now the home office is an office away from the office. No longer is the principle purpose to entertain clients, impress rivals, or establish a position of power as seen in the office design. The work from home office is all about you, and customization is the name of the game. One of the factors that makes modernist design stand out is its adaptability. So there is no reason why a home office should not also feature modernist furniture and design elements. Here are some current Modernist home office trends.
• Color Scheme
Interior design experts for this season have determined that earthy colors accented with bright splashes are in this winter season. Which is exactly the color scheme most often found in midcentury modernist designs.
Neutral colors like pale grey, white, black, cream, and especially warm brown hues, can be combined with mustard yellow, oceanic teal, burnt ochre, and jewel blue highlights. That way your home office maintains its simple, sophisticated elegance. But it also avoids becoming overly sterile or boring. Try introducing one item of bright color, like a desk lamp or chair, that sets off the neutral hues of the rest of the room.
Since the Covid pandemic, more family members are spending more time at home. Versatility is key for the entire home, and that includes the home office space. If your home office is in a small space, consider adding larger midcentury furniture items, like a secretary desk, that can serve another function as well.
Contemporary mid-century designs tend to include tech charging stations, so you can keep your laptop, tablet, and cell phone powered up as you browse social media feeds and the internet. Vintage midcentury pieces can be adapted to contemporary needs as well; form should merge seamlessly with function.
• Office Desk
Investing in a vintage solid wood desk means that not only will your home office space look and feel like a true modernist office, but you will also likely have more built-in storage space. Take your time finding the modernist desk that best suits you; these desks were built to last, so you will not have to browse the online listings for a long time to come.
Consider whether you prefer a desk that is deep or shallow, light wood or maple. Most mid-century desks will stand on four long, skinny, wooden pegs, but there are other modernist designs that suit any office space. Other popular takes on the modernist office desk emphasize natural curving geometric shapes, with desks shaped like kidney beans that stand on angular legs perpendicular to the floor. Iconic designers like Paul Laszlo and George Nelson for Herman Miller are a good starting point for your perfect office desk.
• Leather Lounge Chair
Mixing and matching natural materials is a huge trend for winter 2022, and that includes leather and wood. Perhaps the most famous single example of mid-century Modernist furniture is the classic Eames leather and molded plywood lounge chair.
The Eames leather lounge chair and matching foot rest was a classic fixture in most modernist offices, and remains a great choice for your home office as well. It is an ideal choice for when you want to take a much-needed break from the computer screen, or to read through documents and reports.
• Modular Organization
Continuing with the themes of multipurpose spaces and aesthetics combined with utility, Modernist designs offer elegant solutions to office organization challenges. Modular shelving units, a mid-mod staple, allow you to customize your shelving to your space constraints and storage needs. Classy solutions to keeping the home organized are popular for winter 2022.
If your home office is a more temporary rotating space, you can look for modernist modular shelving that attaches directly to your movable room divider. Your office supplies and files will be kept organized, but can be wheeled away when you “go home from the office” at the end of each day.
Contemporary Trends, Lasting Designs
Mid-century Modern design is currently experiencing a huge resurgence in popularity. This trend has been influenced by a number of factors; the power of the internet, the prevalence of Modernist furniture in television series, the vintage taste preferences of Millennials, the nostalgia of boomers.
But beyond the trends of the moment, modernist design will continue to last. Its careful design, attention to detail, and embrace of new technology means that Modernist trends can continue to adapt to any age. For the home office or for the office away from home, infusing your space with Modernist designs means embracing the principles of elegance, sophistication, and simplicity that Modernist designers have always sought to create.
About the author: In addition to her interest in mid-century Modern design, Sara Rosenthal is an artist and writer. You can find her artwork at http://www.saratrueart.com/ and @saratrueart. She is also the founder of Lovestruck Literature, where she writes custom romantic stories for people to give as gifts.