Interior designer Regan Billingsley spends some time in her Washington, D.C., studio, but for much of the past year, she has been doing a fair amount of work from home.
Overwhelmed by the bags of tile and flooring samples, fabrics and other work-related items, she recently decided to turn a seldom-used guest room into a home office.
“It wasn’t the plan to have a home office” before the pandemic, she said. “I include things in my home office that I wouldn’t in my studio, because it’s more personal and I want it to feel like home.”
Many of her clients have also been looking for ways to decorate and streamline their new work-from-home spaces, she said. And what they want most is flexibility.
“People are unsure where we’re going to be working next year, or in two years,” she said. “We know what we need right now, but not two years down the line. So where we might have done built-ins before, now we’re doing more free-standing furniture in case it goes back to being a guest bedroom.”
Here are her suggestions for stylish pieces that will help you get organized, whether you’re starting from scratch or improving an existing home-office space.
Billingsley likes the clean lines and simple look of Ikea’s Kallax shelf units ($35–$374 at ikea.com). They are versatile and affordable, she said, adding that “you can fill the walls with them, and they won’t scream out at you, allowing you to bring attention to the nicer things in your office, like perhaps your desk.”
Kallax units are available in various sizes in brown, gray and white. Billingsley suggests adding the coordinating Ikea Branas Baskets ($13 each) to conceal clutter and bring texture into the space.
Room and Board’s Linear Office Armoire (starting at $2,199 at roomandboard.com) is pricier but worth the investment, Billingsley said. It has multiple finish, hardware and configuration options. “You feel like you have a custom-designed piece of furniture without the custom price tag,” she said.
The armoires are built in a small woodworking shop in Wisconsin. Billingsley gives bonus points for the openings in the back to control cords.
Desktop accessories are key to having an organized space, but they’re also a good way to add a personal touch, Billingsley said. She likes Mecox’s Resin Swirl Boxes ($245–$325 at mecox.com), available in two sizes and colors, pink or green. Kazi Goods’ Bomba Brush Cup ($30 at kazigoods.com) adds texture and interest while corralling pens and pencils.
Billingsley also loves the new Marie Kondo Ori Rattan Collection ($10–$40 at containerstore.com) and Deny Designs’ Bree Madden Simple Sea Acrylic Boxes ($29 at target.com) for more budget-friendly options.
“We like mixing high and low, using inexpensive acrylic storage for things like Post-it notes and paper clips, balanced with more decorative boxes and fun pencil cups,” she said.
“Baskets are pretty much everything for us in the office,” Billingsley said. “We use them for everything from hiding extra cords, organizing things to put away later, stashing snacks and even for trash/recycling.” She suggests the The Little Market’s Classic Market Basket ($88 at thelittlemarket.com), which is handmade in Madagascar from raffia and aravola, and includes leather handles.
Although Conway Electric’s Jax Touch Smart Lamp ($245 at conwaygoods.com) is not a storage piece in the traditional sense, Billingsley likes it for its USB charging capabilities, which helps keep your devices close at hand. The lamp has two power outlets and two USB outlets. Pair it with BlueLounge’s Mini CableDrop Adhesive Clips ($10 for nine clips at containerstore.com) to corral stray cords.
Design Within Reach’s Story Bookcase ($295–$345 at dwr.com), which comes in two sizes and six colors, is the perfect small-space solution to display your favorite books without overwhelming the room, Billingsley said. “These are our go-to shelves for every room in the house for chic, compact book storage.”