Pino Catalano

By Pino Catalano
Lead Designer |

They say there’s no place like home, but a growing movement in office design is proving otherwise, bringing homely spaces into the workplace.

It’s nice being at home: grab a coffee, put your feet up, check your email, make a phone call or just relax. If you can work from home, then all the better – right? But being out of the office means you miss out on the chance to collaborate and bond with colleagues.

This is at best a bit lonely, and at worst a detriment to productivity, so how do you blend the best of both worlds? One solution is to create offices with the look and comforts you're used to, which is a growing trend in office design that encourages people to come into work by creating a sense of ‘home away from home'.

In doing so, people feel happier, more productive, and more inclined to go the extra mile! It can also improve staff retention and help you to attract people who are looking for a destination workplace, rather than just another job.

Making it feel like home

What feels like home for one person could be very different for someone else, and businesses are no different. The style of your office can vary – you could aim for a plush, high-end luxury finish like Taylor Wimpey, or a Shoreditch-cool warehouse style like Anomaly.

What these very different but domestic-inspired offices have in common is a move away from the sterile, uniformity of a typical office, and a move towards something more bespoke with domestic style finishes. Soft touches like cushions, sofas, lamps and coffee tables can provide a more relaxed atmosphere by providing a ‘softer design’ more akin to a living room than an office.

Complementary colour palettes

Colour palettes popular in domestic interiors, like duck egg blue, mustard yellow, and copper have seen a similar surge in popularity in office design aswell. Traditionally, office colours pushed towards more bold, primary colours to reflect a company’s branding.

While this is still popular (and incredibly important), clients recognise that softer tones can be useful to create a more relaxed feel. The two can even work well together in different parts of the office. You can have a bold branded statement in the reception, and then keep the reserved and homely hues for breakout spaces or certain meeting rooms to promote a feeling of calm.

It's all in the kitchen

The kitchen is often considered to be the heart of the home, and it would be fair at times to say the same about the office. Creating domestic-style kitchens with dining areas are becoming increasingly popular in office design.

We’re seeing large kitchen islands and dining tables which work brilliantly as either a space to socialise or a work area to meet and collaborate. These oversized benches are great way to encourage interaction compared to a series of individual tables and chairs. Just remember, when you want to bring your family together, you'll all sit at one big table, not seperately spread out across the room. Why should work be any different? Providing great coffee and free snacks also gives that final touch that makes people feel relaxed and welcome!

Living room or breakout space?

Breakout spaces are also a great way to make the office feel like home. When you’ve been focused or need to take a break at home, you might relax on the sofa or put the TV on whilst you gather your thoughts. After all, you spend most of your time relaxing in the living room!

It's no different in the office, and breakout spaces are often forgotten about in favour of squeezing in more desks. Providing a space for staff to come together and unwind is incredibly important - it lets them take a break then go back to work more focused and energised than before. Or it might be used after work to bond with colleagues - creating invaluable connections that will boost any working relationship. FirstRand transformed their London office's basement into a New York style recreational loft, complete with a bar, ping pong table and jukebox.

By increasing the similarities between the office and home, staff can feel more at ease and in-touch with their surroundings. It becomes a place where they want to be, rather than a space they have to be in to work. By creating spaces that people want to work in, you improve the ambiance and the comradery that makes people feel happy at work and proud to be a part of your organisation.