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How to Add Style and Function to Your Home Office

Learn how to make your home office look more “home” than “office.”

Not so long ago, when someone wanted a home office, it was envisioned to be in dark wood tones with traditional styling. It was masculine in feeling – heavy and sturdy – and in a separate room of its own. Nowadays, many of us work from home from time to time. When people want a home office now, they want a more modern functionality. The home office is often in the center of the home; close enough to keep an eye on the kids, to listen for the dryer to buzz, or to stir the pot on the stove. Multi-tasking and computers have changed the way we work and live. And the style has changed, too. In many homes, it’s lighter and more streamlined, to blend with the style of the home. Sometimes people ask for help figuring out how to harmonize a new home office space with the rest of the home. We put together the tips below—so house harmony can be easier for everyone to enjoy.
Home Office design, White shaker, white built ins, blue walls, custom home office

Collaboration with Wendy Interiors Inc. Photo by Peter Braune.

Give your home office some style

• Similar colors: The paint throughout the rooms is a soothing light blue. The cabinetry in the kitchen, living area, bathroom, laundry and office are all the same color and similar style. The furniture coordinates as well. No matter where you are in the home, you feel like you’re part of a larger whole space. • Style jives: The lines are simple and clean—from the furniture and lighting to the built-ins, the style in all the rooms is similar enough to feel calm and coordinated. The crown molding wrapping around the home office draws the eye up and around the space and adds a touch of character. • Strategic accents: The smooth-looking woodsy brown floors and the liquid glass sailboat in the office offer a soft contrast to the built-in desk units. The strong vertical and horizontal lines of the desk and cabinets are emphasized by the long door and drawer pulls—distinctive details in a simple palate.

Make your home office work for you

What if you don’t have the opportunity to re-design your entire living space at the same time? Work with what you have—where possible, harmonize colors and styles within your existing furniture and spaces. Add built-ins where you need them—they use your space to maximum efficiency, and can blend easily into multiple rooms in the home. Start one room at a time. Pick a room, budget for your upgrade and recruit the right service providers for the project. Get this room to be what you want the rest to become—and repeat one room at a time. Above all, your space should work for you. If you’re working from home, your home office should reflect your specific needs and personal taste. With style and function, the home office no longer needs to be isolated; if it’s truly customized to your family’s needs, it may just become the most used room in your home.

A Place for Everything

house Magazine,

Originally published in HOUSE magazine By Bonnie Reich, President and Owner at Symmetry Closets

We want our homes to look beautiful, to impress our friends and to feel comfortable—we want to feel truly at home. I am a professional designer of small spaces: a professional closet designer. My goal is to use every inch of usable space and have it function according to my clients’ needs. After all, no two people are the same and everyone should have a closet that works for her/his lifestyle. I recommend so many wonderful and beautiful products and accessories that really make the closet function at the highest level. I show my clients the latest materials and colors available for their cabinets. But that’s where my work ends, and the interior designer takes over. When my clients and I work with an interior designer, the closet really becomes a thrilling space. Every detail beyond the cabinets is considered at another level. Interior designers bring their resources and add details that make it sing. Some examples: *    Benches are covered in cushions coordinated with carpeting and window treatments *    Wall paper and interesting paint finishes add layers of texture, making these relatively small spaces feel incredible *    Additional inlay materials are added to the door panels *    Hand selected handles and knobs are introduced to the design *    Even fun and funky pillows and throw are sometimes added to the design to make it a cozy hide away that reflects the owner’s personality Interior designers add other luxuries as well. Planning for an island in the walk-in closet? The interior designer will bring fun, personal touches and accessories that make that incredible center island a real stand out. I have designed, fabricated and installed hundreds of walk-in closets, but the ones that are memorable have all been as part of a team with an interior designer’s vision leading the way. For your next interior design project, small or large, hire an interior designer. The result will be satisfying, function well, and you’ll enjoy beautiful style for many years to come.
Walk in matser closet, custom built in island, floor to ceiling mirror, custom closet

These full-length mirrors add depth to this mid-sized closet. Interior Design by Adam Cassino.

When it comes to your closet, some of us have lots of space for handbags & ties, drawers and an island (pictured above). But if you’re looking to create the illusion of a larger, smarter, and storage friendly space, just read on below…and keep in mind that these tips apply beyond the closet as well!

1-Strategic Use of Mirrors

You know that when you add mirrors to a small space, it creates a sense of openness, and the look of a larger space. But where & how to do it most effectively? Let’s look to the experts! Interior designer Adam Cassino used several tricks of the trade in these photos of a closet project we did together in Melville, NY. You’ll see that his use of full length mirrors pulls the eye upwards, while the reflection does what mirrors do so well–make us feel like the room keeps going. Also remember, you can add mirrors to just about any piece of furniture – but full-length mirrors will be the most beneficial in creating the illusion of a larger space.

2-Free up floor space

When you organize your closet, pantry, or any room that you want to feel bigger than it really is, remember to keep as much as you can off of the floor. The less floor space, the smaller your closet will appear. You can achieve this look by adding shelving to your walls, & if you wanted to take it a step further you can add lighting to some of your shelves to create more visibility. The key here is to create the appearance of a bigger space, so make it feel light and airy.

3-Use Drawers for Smart Storage

Taking a few pointers from the tiny house movement, and from our own storage solutions-a neat way to save on space is to create as many little secret hideaways for your appliances and/or accessories as possible. Slide-out bins help hide smaller items from view, while keeping them easily accessible.  For irons you can purchase a wall-mounted holder-which will keep that item off the floor but still easily visible. For laundry baskets you can use a tilt out hamper basket in a space that doesn’t get much use. For jewelry use a stackable container or something with a lid so you can store it away if you don’t want it to take up space on your dresser or vanity.

4-Play with lighting

For the project shown in the photos above and below, the designer selected shelf lighting to enhance the space & to allow the client to show her pretty things.   He also installed a beautiful quality lighting fixture, a chandelier that also pulls the eye up, expanding the feeling of vertical space. Thoughtfully plan out your lighting situation–if it’s a larger space, there’s nothing like working with an expert.  Depending on the location of the light source and the mirror, you will almost double the amount of lighting just by adding a full-length mirror to the closet door. Any room that is poorly lit will seem smaller and less appealing over all.

Last, but not least… Consider all your options

If you’re playing around with different options or design concepts, one effective time saving solution might be to hire a professional to do the heavy lifting for you. That way you can ensure it’s done correctly and avoid spending even more money on repairing mistakes in the long run. If you have the right attitude and perseverance for DIY projects then go on, take the wheel, and add some lux to your space!
Press release via Hafele
  • Häfele brings innovation to the smart home space

  • From RGB and Multi-White strips to pucks and flat fixtures, Loox lights all

  • You can easily design with Loox. Or we can do the design work for you.

We describe Häfele’s Loox LED Lighting System in three simple terms—smart, easy and convenient. Whether it’s a fixture, puck or LED strip light, our products hold to that motto—and we think you’ll feel the same. Häfele is always thinking ahead, and with the addition of the Häfele Connect app, any current or future Loox lighting installation can be easily controlled by a Bluetooth enabled smartphone or tablet—a system like never before.
“The ability to control any Loox light from an app is a huge step forward into the connected home,” said Jeff Ratkus, category manager for Häfele. “This advance has a tremendous effect from the perspective of functionality and design as well as everyday livability and use.”
Now available in the Android and iOS app stores, the Häfele Connect app allows users to easily bring smart home technology to their home and work spaces. The app allows for real-time, programmed and customizable control of all Loox LED lighting fixtures and components through an easy to navigate and intuitive interface. Whether on a tablet or smartphone, the Häfele Connect App will make all current and future Loox LED installations smarter and enormously more functional.
Smart Home lighting, app controlled lights

Control lighting anywhere in your home

The combination of the Häfele Connect app and the Häfele BLE Box—the hardware that makes the magic possible—means that lighting in cabinets, drawers and cubbies in any space can be infinitely customized and personalized. Whatever the fixture, color temperature or color, it can be controlled with a simple swipe of the finger from your device. The Brightest, Boldest Kitchen Opening a drawer and having it immediately light up and then turn off when closed adds wow. As well as convenience and functionality. The same goes for pantries, cabinetry and any other darkened recess of the kitchen space. Under counter lights? Of course Loox can do that. All elements can be brought together to ensure years of brilliant, reliable and efficient performance for you and your customers.
Custom lighting, app controlled lighting, color changing lights, Hafele

With the addition of innovative switching options such as a Loox Push Button Dimmer or Loox Door Switch, you can add and control light in any scenario at any time

Know That Your Socks Match Your Outfit Being able to integrate Loox strip lighting, pucks and fixtures into closet designs is a game changer for you and your clients. With the range of color temperatures available with Loox, it means that colors on the hanger and in pull-outs and drawers are as true in your closet as they will be when you step outside. Every time. Have items you’d like to highlight or call attention to? Add a Loox Glass Edge Profile light for accent and awe. Shine the Light You Want Where You Want Whether it’s a child’s little league trophy case, your collection of top shelf spirits or the album collection you’ve tireless collated, Loox is an ideal system for illuminating your particular sources of pride and joy. With the addition of innovative switching options such as a Loox Push Button Dimmer or Loox Door Switch, you can add and control light in any scenario at any time. With plug and play installation, it’s also easy to place anywhere a standard outlet can be found or installed.
House Magazine, rewards
Originally published in HOUSE magazine By Bonnie Reich, President and Owner at Symmetry Closets We want our homes to look beautiful, to impress our friends and to feel comfortable—we want to feel truly at home. I am a professional designer of small spaces: a professional closet designer. My goal is to use every inch of usable space and have it function according to my clients’ needs. After all, no two people are the same and everyone should have a closet that works for her/his lifestyle. I recommend so many wonderful and beautiful products and accessories that really make the closet function at the highest level. I show my clients the latest materials and colors available for their cabinets. But that’s where my work ends, and the interior designer takes over. When my clients and I work with an interior designer, the closet really becomes a thrilling space. Every detail beyond the cabinets is considered at another level. Interior designers bring their resources and add details that make it sing. Some examples: *    Benches are covered in cushions coordinated with carpeting and window treatments *    Wall paper and interesting paint finishes add layers of texture, making these relatively small spaces feel incredible *    Additional inlay materials are added to the door panels *    Hand selected handles and knobs are introduced to the design *    Even fun and funky pillows and throw are sometimes added to the design to make it a cozy hide away that reflects the owner’s personality Interior designers add other luxuries as well. Planning for an island in the walk-in closet? The interior designer will bring fun, personal touches and accessories that make that incredible center island a real stand out. I have designed, fabricated and installed hundreds of walk-in closets, but the ones that are memorable have all been as part of a team with an interior designer’s vision leading the way. For your next interior design project, small or large, hire an interior designer. The result will be satisfying, function well, and you’ll enjoy beautiful style for many years to come.