Designing a productive home office: balancing work and living spaces

Brand-new home office in Telok Blangah by Shan Wong
Brand-new home office in Telok Blangah

In recent years, the concept of working from home has become increasingly prevalent. With the rise of remote work and the need for flexible arrangements, creating a productive home office has become a priority for many individuals.

In this article, we explore the key factors that impact the design of a home office, focusing on the expertise of boutique interior designer Shan Wong, based in Singapore but serving international clients. We will delve into the tradeoffs involved in balancing work and living spaces, discuss the challenges of designing a private work area, and highlight the importance of considering the impact on productivity when making decisions about the home office.

Working in the living room
It's generally a bad idea to work where you "live" – like a living room

Understanding the importance of a dedicated work area

Creating a dedicated work area within the home is crucial for maintaining focus and separating professional tasks from domestic distractions. A good designer emphasizes the significance of carving out a distinct space solely dedicated to work. This separation helps establish boundaries, allowing individuals to mentally transition into a productive mindset when they enter the designated work area.

Bad working desk
Small desk, hard chair. Not very ergonomical...

The Role of Ergonomics and Standing Desks

Ergonomics play a vital role in designing a home office that promotes productivity and overall well-being. Shan recognizes the importance of incorporating ergonomic principles into the design, considering factors such as proper desk height, comfortable seating, and appropriate lighting. Additionally, the growing popularity of standing desks is an area of focus, as they provide the option for individuals to alternate between sitting and standing, promoting better posture and reducing sedentary behavior.

Study room at Kim Tian Road by Shan Wong
Small, moveable desk space for a study and music room

Balancing Work and Living Spaces

One of the challenges of designing a home office is achieving a balance between work and living spaces. Shan's approach involves creating a seamless integration of the office within the overall design aesthetic of the home. By blending complementary colors, materials, and textures, she ensures that the home office harmonizes with the rest of the living space while still maintaining a distinct professional identity.

Condo with big home-office and bookshelf
Even in smaller homes, like condos, it's possible to create a sense of division

Dividing the Living and Working Areas

To create a private work environment within a shared living space, careful consideration must be given to creating physical boundaries. Interior Designers explore various design solutions such as room dividers, bookshelves, or sliding panels that can separate the working area from the rest of the home. These elements not only provide privacy, but also serve as functional design features, adding visual interest to the overall space.

Family interrupting work
It's important to create a space where one can focus

Designing a Private Work Space

In addition to physical boundaries, Shan recognizes the significance of psychological separation within the home office. She explores design elements that create a sense of privacy, such as incorporating soundproofing materials, optimizing spatial layout to minimize distractions, and integrating smart storage solutions to keep work-related items organized and out of sight when not in use.

A colorful space for a creative
Colorful space

The Importance of Project Management

Shan's expertise extends beyond design, as she also offers project management services. This ensures that the construction and implementation of the home office project meet the highest standards. By overseeing the coordination of contractors, she guarantees that the client's vision is realized and that the final result aligns with their expectations.


Designing a productive home office requires careful consideration of various factors, from creating a dedicated work area to balancing work and living spaces. Shan Wong, a boutique interior designer based in Singapore and working with international clients, offers a comprehensive approach to home office design. By considering ergonomics, incorporating physical and psychological boundaries, and providing project management services, Shan ensures that her clients' home offices are not only aesthetically pleasing but also conducive to productivity and well-being. Whether it's standing desks, room dividers, or personalized touches, Shan's bespoke approach guarantees a tailored solution that meets the unique needs of each individual client.

Contact Shan today to learn more about her bespoke, boutique interior design services. Stay connected with Shan on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn for updates, inspiration, and expert insights.