Designing with Joy: High-Powered Home Office

In each issue of Design & Living, residential and commercial designer Christen Anderson of Live Christen Joy showcases a joyful project of hers. This month, Anderson showcases a home office design that is sure to get you feeling productive for the new year.

Photos by Hillary Ehlen

A fresh new start to 2020 is underway and it’s time to set the stage for a positive and productive year. In interior design, productivity is the result of a well-designed experience. Great design engages your senses and elevates your life in all areas.

When I’m working in beautifully designed spaces I feel more energy, find more inspiration and focus effortlessly to create dramatic results for clients. Because I know and appreciate the power of great design, I was thrilled when a well-known Fargo business owner hired the Christen Joy team to transform her home office upon selling her successful business. It was an opportunity to work in my own newly designed home office to create an extraordinary space for her with the perfect ambiance to set and crush new goals. 

1. Lighten Up

Look up at the lighting. Chances are you don’t have enough and should consider adding more types or layers of light. In fact, most homes and businesses lack proper lighting and many people who use the spaces each day don’t realize how lacking the lighting is.

In this Osgood office, natural sunlight floods the room during beautiful summer days, however, in the winter months and on long workdays, it had dim light with only a two-bulb light fixture to brighten the space. 

Recessed cans are great in office spaces where a central fixture is used as a focal point. The recessed lights provide ambient, even light in areas the fixture does not illuminate. On this project, we added four cans on dimmer switches to control the amount of light and updated the light fixture to a two-bulb hanging shade. To stay consistent with other light fixtures in the home, we chose a bronze finish with matching gorgeous bronze details on the shade.

Lighting is one of the most important elements, so don’t skip this step or save it for last. Ample lighting allows you to be alert and focused, is much kinder and healthier for your eyes and prevents headaches.

2. Sink In

With the lighting done, we focused on something soft to sink your feet into after a day in heels — or something for your feet to enjoy when working from home! From an aesthetic standpoint, I was eager to tame down the medium-dark floors since we wanted the space to feel light and bright. Minimizing the floor tones provided a space where more weathered wood felt cohesive. A large rug was selected with a subtle pattern and muted tones for a warm, soft and welcoming feel.  

3. Be Comfortable

Comfort is king when it comes to office furniture. If it looks good but doesn’t feel good, you’ll end up regretting your purchase quickly and loathing it forever. 

In the Osgood office, a swivel chair in a soft, supple leather was selected in a weathered blue  (a color pulled from the rug). The base is constructed in a weathered wood to complement the new desk and storage unit, as well. 

The client wanted desk space with book storage and somewhere to hide electronics, including a printer. We selected a peninsula-style desk with side storage. The deep drawers have optional file hangers included. The desk left space for pretty pops of color, personal mementos and carefully selected art pieces to build a curated look. The flexibility of the furniture was a perfect fit. The gray wash finish provided the perfect evergreen backdrop for adding personality in other accessories. 

When choosing a home office desk, ask yourself what you need to store. Do you really need paper file folders or can you switch over to electronic versions? How about bookshelves? Inventory the items you’re going to keep, then search for flexible systems. Some provide drawers or cabinets to hide bursting binders, books and electronics. Remember to measure your room to make sure it will fit and select a neutral finish you can be happy with for several years. 

4. Stay Inspired

To bring personality to a room, I add texture. In the Osgood office, a neutral grasscloth wallpaper was selected for warmth, elegance and classic style to enhance the patterned rug and artwork. Two dark-toned baskets fit perfectly in the bottom storage space to corral any clutter and add texture and interest. 

The client wanted color and Christen Joy brought it! Fresh flowers, interesting accent books, layered art and accessories elevated the workspace and can be changed out by season or travels to keep the space interesting and updated.

Stylish alternatives to traditional organization pieces including pencil and mail holders in a beautiful “agency navy” and cognac colors echo the muted blues in the rug and chair and accent the warm tones in the grasscloth wallpaper. Everything flows in the space to create a special experience and provide a launchpad for new entrepreneurial ventures.

So, hello 2020! This office and its fearless leader are ready for a positive and productive year. 


Anderson is a Minnesota native with an eye for decor and design. Christen Joy specializes in new-construction commercial projects, exceptional remodels, furnishing high-end living spaces and creating memorable special events. Anderson is also a passionate art collector, world traveler and home cook who frequently entertains for friends. 

Join me on Instagram and Facebook to see my latest projects and email me at [email protected] for project inquiries.

Read more from Christen Anderson here.

Christen Anderson of Christen Joy Homes

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