If there’s one area of the home where you should be channeling mid-century modern design, it’s the office. From Knoll’s classic swivel chair (still found in most corporate settings) to Kardiel’s protractor desk, the era’s penchant for clean lines, quality materials, and comfortable seating lends itself to getting down to business. And with a lot more of us looking toward a future that involves working remotely, there’s no better time than now to give your home office a refresh. The classic setups ahead feature all the different elements (sturdy shelving, hints of velvet) you need to bring the ’50s and ’60s back.
Go for Gold
Vintage boutique owner Brynn Jones embraced the history of her 1963 Robert Lee–designed Los Angeles home wholeheartedly. Across from the highly functional custom desk and the wall unit crafted by a local woodworker is a vintage Theo Ruth sofa clad in a rich mustard yellow fabric. The Etsy-sourced floor lamp and botanical Hermès wallpaper keep the groovy golden scheme going.
Pull Up a Nonswivel Seat
What could be more serene than sitting down in a chair inspired by a tulip? In Yasmina Benazzou’s Manhattan office, Eero Saarinen’s iconic furniture design adds a retro touch to all the wood and picks up on some of the white in the framed Helen Frankenthaler artwork on the wall. If you’re worried about wheels marking up your floors or arms boxing you in, this piece is for you.
Lean Into Brown Tones
There is no such thing as too much wood, at least if you live in a Richard Neutra–designed house, like creative director Patrick O’Neill, or are hoping to re-create a similar vibe. The designer he collaborated with for the restoration, Andrew Gray, was able to perfectly match the tone of the shelves and walls to a Zig-Zag Chair by Gerrit Rietveld.
Simplify a Storage System
Forget fancy built-ins and fussy filing cabinets—basic metal shelves will do for books. While actress Megan Ferguson’s unit is utilitarian at its core, she spiced it up with colorful bindings and large gemstones.
Carve Out a Corner for Lounging
It’s nice to have a place to retreat to in between emails or right at 5 p.m., where you can read or enjoy a well-deserved drink. As far as loungers are concerned, there’s no going wrong with a two-piece set designed by Charles and Ray Eames or Edward Wormley. Fashion designer Patrick Robinson made his nook extra-cozy by piling up his books in a wall-like formation.
See Colors in a Gradient
Meet the millennial pink twist on mid-century: The worktop and shelves in fashion designer Rachel Antonoff’s office are inspired by an ombré staircase she saw and instantly became obsessed with. The moss green accessories in the space add a retro touch to the varying tones of blush, mauve, and peach.
Let Open Shelves Soar
Old Brand New blogger Dabito’s desk-shelving situation looks high-end, but he actually picked up all the pieces at Home Depot and spray-painted the metal tracks gold for an old-timey aesthetic. This spot is prime for note taking.