Too often, offices are uninspiring, corporate spaces where a chrome printer classifies as a cool accent piece. Even home offices can be tricky to design. It’s tough to maneuver the line between personal and professional. If you find yourself in the latter position and want to make your workplace a more design-friendly yet efficient space, look no further for inspiration than Katie Rodgers’s stunning studio.
Rodgers, an artist whose brightly hued, whimsical pieces are instantly recognizable, found the light-filled Upper East Side studio after a two-year search. Having worked from home for seven years, she was ready to take the plunge and move her workspace to a different location entirely.
“It was just a mess, all the time!” says Rodgers of what made her want a separate workspace. “I love to host people, so between that and making a mess creating art, I felt like I was cleaning 24-7.”
This space ticked off all her wish list items: tons of natural light, an outdoor area where she can grow the plants that inspire her artwork, and wood floors. She added a farmhouse sink before moving in to add extra character to the charming space and kept all her furniture neutral and wooden to allow the color from her paints and art pieces to steal the show. It’s a place where she feels inspired and motivated to work.
Yet despite the separation of work and home, her studio still feels homey—like the loft of your coolest friend who always hosts the best dinner parties and says things like “I picked up this cavatelli recipe when I lived in Tuscany for a month”—and anything but corporate.
For this reason, it’s the perfect space to pull inspo from for anyone designing their own workspace, whether that happens to be in a separate office or in the basement of their house. And while this more creative layout might not be for everyone, there are certain lessons we can pull from how Rodgers crafted an environment that feels like an extension of her home.
Keep reading for tips on creating a workspace you’ll actually want to work in.
Pick pieces with character
Eschew traditional office furniture for more elevated items. Rodgers is a big fan of vintage and antiques, taking to local shops as well as online retailers like One Kings Lane (which has a vintage section) and 1stdibs (“I got my flat file cabinet from there; I like that you can negotiate for things, and it’s fun to set up alerts for different things”).
Incorporating a bit of old-world style via furniture and decor that doesn’t feel corporate is an easy swap—just be sure to be thorough. “I recently made the mistake of buying an antique and finding out it didn’t fit in my building,” says Rodgers, whose number one tip for antique hunting (especially online) is to measure everything extensively. “Also, I typically look a lot before I decide to buy something unless it’s something unique and special.”
Bring a bit of the outdoors in
If you couldn’t tell from her gorgeous paintings (many of which heavily feature floral motifs), Rodgers is a big fan of incorporating live flowers and greenery into her studio. It’s an easy way to squeeze a bit of life and color into even the tiniest of offices.
Buy the essentials—then take your time with the rest
For Rodgers, the essentials were a work table—which she found in the form of a beautiful antique farmhouse dining table—and storage to make up for the studio’s lack of closets. But once you have the things you need to actually get your work done, don’t rush into designing the rest of the space. “You don’t need too much stuff. You can slowly build it over time; I did things slowly and I’m happy I did that instead of rushing in and finding things just to find things,” she explains. “I photoshopped everything I bought into one page to visually set it up and make sure everything went together.”
“Homey” doesn’t literally mean “a replica of your home”
It’s all well and good to incorporate certain comfortable things that will put you at ease in a work environment, but you also want to ensure your office is going to force you to be productive. “The one thing I decided not to do was have a couch,” says Rodgers. “Instead, I sit at the table, and it puts me in the mindset to work and do what I have to do.”
See more stunning studio spaces:
Antiques Feel New Again in This Drop-Dead Gorgeous Studio
Inside an Eclectic Studio That Transports You to Another Gallery
How Fashion and Art Inspired This Chic Studio Shop