Add soft seating and colorful pillows to balance out the hard lines of a home office.

How to Decorate Around Boring Office Furniture

by Anne Goetz

Your home office shouldn't be an ugly blight on your otherwise beautifully decorated interior. Add color, texture and personalization to liven up this important space where you likely spend a good part of each day. The best part of having your office inside your home is that it doesn't have to conform to the industrious feel of work spaces in the outside world. Make it a reflection of your personality by decorating with reminders of the people and activities you love.

1. Soften Hard Lines

Use fabric and upholstery to soften the plain, harsh lines of typical office furniture -- the hard surfaces of desks and filing cabinets only make a space feel barren when there are no contrasting elements in the room. Bring in an upholstered reading chair or small sofa and switch out your functional-yet-boring desk chair for seating that is upholstered in a bright, sturdy fabric. Carry this theme to the office's windows by hanging curtains in place of wooden or plastic blinds. You can even use the softness of fabric on the walls by mounting a rod to hang an antique quilt or an old, interesting tapestry.

2. Add Color and Texture

After your soft, comfortable seating is in place, introduce color into the space by adding throw pillows in varied textures -- burlap, chenille or polished cotton are all sturdy enough materials to withstand the daily comings and goings of a home office. Next, add a pair of floor lamps with patterned shades, a small colorful rug that you can change out with the seasons and curtain tie-backs that coordinate with the upholstery in the space. You might dedicate the wall behind your desk as a feature wall by covering it in a lovely vintage wallpaper.

3. Bring in Greenery

Nothing makes a space feel more put together than the addition of live, potted plants. Certain plants, such as the pothos plant, thrive indoors under low light. This vining variety is a subtle choice that can trail along the shelving in your office. Meanwhile, a large, potted fern in an elegant planter will make a bolder statement. Consider keeping a vase of fresh flowers on your desk or side table, and adding a simple urn tucked full of tall branches in a corner.

4. Personalize the Space

With your new design elements in place, you can begin personalizing the room with framed family photos and children's cherished artwork. These are the things that will encourage you to return to the room on a daily basis. Also consider bringing in your collections -- whether they're made up of Grandma's old china, or antique toys from decades past. You can make room for them on built-in shelving or in a cabinet brought in for display purposes.

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