With most of us spending more time working from home than ever before, there has never been a better time to show your workspace some love. “Your study should be a space of calm and concentration, but most importantly somewhere you actually enjoy spending time,” says Andrea Lucena-Orr, Dulux colour and communications manager.
“We all need different things from our study/home office, depending on the type of work we do – you may want it be a serene spot where you won’t get distracted, or an energising and uplifting one that inspires creativity,” Andrea explains. “This is where colour comes in; if your study is drab and lifeless, a lick of paint is the fastest, cheapest and most effective way to switch up the mood and make it a space you’ll love.”
To show you just how easily it’s done, stylist Julia Green has used colours from the Dulux Colour Forecast 2021 to style three different study areas.
“Who amongst us hasn’t worried about their workspace not being camera-ready when it’s time for that video conference call?” Julia asks. “Fortunately, you don’t need a big budget or lots of time to add style to this space.”
Andrea adds: “Colour can be used in clever ways too. For example, if you don’t have room for a separate study and want to delineate a study nook within an open-plan room, simply choose tones for your nook that are different to, however harmonise with, the palette in the adjoining living/dining areas. You can then use folding screens to tuck your workspace away when it’s time to switch off.”
Whilst the three looks Julia created are all very different, she kept certain elements consistent throughout. “With each look, we fully committed to the colour palette, carrying it through from the walls and artwork to décor items, in order to give it a curated and intentional feel,” she explains.
“Natural light is important for wellbeing, so we used soft sheers on the window that let in filtered light. We added a statement artwork to each look – this anchored the desk set-ups and gave the user something beautiful to look at. Touches of greenery help clean the air and provide that all-important connection to nature.”
Design 1: Inspiration station
For the first look (above), Julia took her cues from the Reset palette and painted the walls a soft grey-mauve, and the ceiling a warm white. These were combined with pink clay and punches of terracotta in artwork and accessories. “These colours will brighten your outlook without being a distraction – the perfect tones to surround yourself with if you’re in the business of ideas,” says Julia.
Design 2: Serene study spot
When it came to the second scheme, Julia looked to the calming colours in the Retreat palette. She made a feature of the back wall by painting it a rich, oceanic blue, paired with a warm white on the ceiling. “Bold colour contrasts generally energise a room, but there’s a lovely muddiness to this blue that makes it feel tranquil and relaxed. It’s a classic scheme that would work beautifully in a traditional or contemporary home,” she says.
Design 3: Cosy workspace
For the third scheme, Julia layered earthy neutrals from the Nourish palette for a look that speaks of warmth and comfort. The earthy hue of the wall combine with tonal shades of tan and clay in the artwork, rug, and furniture. Woven detailing in the rattan screen and desk chair add texture.
“We all respond so differently to colour – the key is finding the hues that speak to you and then having the courage to pick up that paint brush,” Andrea explains. “Like anything, it can feel daunting the first time, but chances are once you start your colour journey, you’ll never look back.”
Julia’s study styling tips
Consider mood: Choose colours to suit the mood you want to create. Warm tones will create a cosy, nurturing feel, while brighter hues are energising and inspiring – ideal for creative thinking.
Personalise: Family photographs and mementos from your travels can add character to your study and make it feel more welcoming.
Buy quality: A comfortable and supportive office chair and an adjustable desk lamp that allows you to see what you’re typing or writing are must-haves for a home office.
Greenery: Add plants or fresh flowers to purify the air and provide a connection to nature.