Read on for home office ideas design tips from interiors experts on making your home office wall decor as attractive as the rest of your home – and perfectly functional, too. 

Office wall decor ideas

Over the past year or two, those of us lucky enough to have a dedicated room in which to shut ourselves away have gratefully recognized the peaceful retreat they provide.  However, now working from home is likely to be the new norm for many of us, we are thinking about the aesthetics of our office walls. But how to add beauty to what is, after all, a functional space? It can be done. Here, we investigate the vital elements of wall decor ideas for an office space.

1. Add art to office walls

‘When introducing art to a modern home office wall, think about the kind of medium, scale and style you’d like while walking around the space – never decide off-plan,’ recommends Camilla Clarke, creative director at Albion Nord.  ‘This way you’ll feel the natural spots for art to be. This may be next to a window or vista through the house. Remember, art doesn’t always need to be hung on the centre of the wall; it can rest on top of desks or be layered next to sculptures or on bookshelves and joinery.’

2. Layer up materials

A home office wall must be designed as a space to induce thought. Rather than opting for a blank canvas on the walls, add to the creative inspiration by way of artwork or patterned wallpaper. ‘This year we’re embracing combining a wide variety of materials to create an super luxe and inspirational workspace,’ says Martin Waller, founder of design brand Andrew Martin. ‘From paneling ideas for walls and large-scale artwork to tapestries and shelving ideas, there’s an abundance of looks to choose from.’

3. Decorate with an energizing color scheme

Soothing home office paint colors, such as greens and blues, will offer tranquillity and that all-important link to the outside. However, while these shades suit south- or west-facing spaces, and even light-filled north- or east-facing rooms, you may feel a home office that only receives cool daylight is better suited to warmer colors, as in this home office created for Homes & Gardens by stylist Katrin Cargill.

4. Prioritize storage for your office wall

There’s little point in conjuring a beautiful working space only to find, a year or two later, there’s nowhere to store things.  Mundane as it might sound, consider the matter of home office storage ideas right from the start, says interior designer Kate Earle, co-founder of Todhunter Earle. ‘Everyone files in a different way, but whichever way, it requires lots of space.’  She favors built-in joinery on office walls over furniture: ‘It can accommodate all the cabling and sockets for IT equipment and maximise the available space.

5. Transform an office wall with pattern

We all well know the transformative power of color and pattern, and wallpaper is sure to maintain the softness of a space.  For small home office ideas, a clever solution can be a combination of wallpaper and panelling; this is visually interesting and also ensures the room is not overpowered by a loud print. If your desk sits in the corner of a larger space, then paper can be used to define the work area.  In terms of color, choose calming hues to ground the scheme and encourage thoughtfulness. Blues bordering on grey are successful: color theories suggest these tones increase the ability to focus. Dark green is another contender, as it’s meant to boost creativity.

6. Use a mood-boosting green 

According to color psychology, beige greens and yellow greens are the most stress-reducing shades – so they are ideal for a home working environment. They also make a good neutral background for displaying art.

7. Install a wall of books

Home library ideas are perfect for those who want to have a learned backdrop for online meetings, but they need not be staid in character or sombre in color. In this example, K&H Design (opens in new tab) scaled up the atmosphere by painting the fitted joinery in a bold blue and cladding the chimney breast in hand-marbled bookbinding paper for extra character for your office wall decor ideas. ‘Given that we all spend an increasingly long time in our home offices, they need to be comfortable and visually pleasing – you don’t need to make a choice between practical and aesthetic,’ adds interior decorator and fabric designer Flora Soames (opens in new tab). Consider the character of the person who will be using the space, and the job that they do, when deciding on a scheme. Build the room up from there. ‘A clean white space will never work for me; I need to be surrounded by lots of things to think creatively.’

8. Enjoy the view

Office wall space limited? Don’t worry, just use make the most of the view to boost your home office productivity.  If the office layout allows, positioning a home office desk facing outwards so that you can either see outside or into the room itself will be much more inspiring than facing into a wall. At the front of the house, hanging sheer blinds or fitting shutters will reduce distractions and obscure the view for passers-by. At the back, you can take full advantage of garden views. Style consultant Katharine Howard’s home office, shown above, occupies what was once an unused side return; its narrow proportions are mitigated by the swathes of glass that offer a foliage-filled vista, echoed in the green walls.  ‘I wanted to create a space that wouldn’t impact on any other rooms in the house. This sliver of space worked perfectly, the huge window and skylight creating a wonderful sense of openness,’ she says. Whether you are able to enjoy a view of a garden or not, you can still create a visual link with the outside by using pretty biophilic wallpapers and fabrics, such as the one on this month’s front cover, to conjure a garden indoors

9. Use your office wall for sophisticated storage

Your office wall is a great space to create a sense of order, but that doesn’t mean it need not be beautiful or inspiring.  Here, soothing hues with a confident hit of metallic glamor combine to create a sophisticated home office in this scheme by interior designer Tamsin Johnson. Creating niches for books will encourage them to be organized by subject or style. 

10. Zone an office with wallpaper

Wallpaper ideas are a wonderful way to add color, pattern and interest to your office wall decor ideas.  As more and more of us are working from our houses, home offices are becoming much more prevalent. Whether you have a full-blown study at home or have adapted a nook in another room, there are options for decorating with wallpaper. Add an elaborate pattern without overpowering the room by using colors from the same tonal scale. Gentle, soothing colors will add a zen feeling to the space, while a mural or super-sized repeat will add interest when you glance up, but due to its size won’t be distracting.

How do I decorate my office walls?

Office walls are easy to decorate than you might think. Just because it’s a workspace, don’t take a utilitarian approach to the design, recommends interior decorator and fabric designer Flora Soames.  ‘Given that we’re all spending more time in our home office, it needs to be comfortable and visually pleasing – you don’t have to make a choice between practical and aesthetic.’  Consider the character of the person who will be using the space, and the job that they do, when deciding on a scheme – then add color, art or storage to your office walls for inspiration. ‘A clean white space will never work for me; I need to be surrounded by lots of things to think creatively.’