Cover Maxalto Recipio ‘14 table by Antonio Citterio, from Space Furniture

For Ed Ong of Dwell Interior Design, black hues are best used in a home office—he shares tips on how you can create a sleek look

Black represents the absence of colour, yet it is the most ubiquitous hue and pigment used in everyday life. In both the artistic and cultural realms, it bears much significance with its myriad associations of power, strength and mystery.

In the field of interior design, dark tones certainly make a dramatic impact, creating a sense of intrigue while making full use of the light-absorbing qualities of black to create a soothing atmosphere.

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It may not be the colour of choice for many when it comes to use on walls, but there are many benefits to selecting a dark hue for your furnishings, particularly in a home office. “Black walls can give a sense of focus and add a touch of sophistication to an otherwise plain space,” says Ed Ong, founder of Dwell Interior Design. “That said, not many people will paint a wall black, let alone an entire room (in black). So black furniture is a good choice; pieces in black fit easily into any existing setting.”

Here, Ong highlights the tips to know, while picking out pieces to spark ideas for your next home office makeover.

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1. Game of thrones

Ong believes that the chair you spend the most time sitting on should look as chic as the rest of your workspace. “The way to avoid the ‘office’ look and feel is to not use the typical office chair (with the) high-back profile, hydraulics, the castors,” he says. “Instead, choose a chair with armrests that provides good support and posture, and a chair that’s easy to get in and out of.”

For this reason, he approves of the Baxter Diner armchair by Piero Lissoni, available at Space Furniture; it combines comfort with a stylish form. “The backrest, the armrests and the seat height of this chair are all perfect,” he says. “The look is that of a classic club chair. All you need is a standing lamp next to it to thumb through a good book.”


2. Tidy up

While some may thrive working amid creative chaos, most would benefit from having a neat and uncluttered workspace. Ong recommends moveable pieces such as the Kartell Trays Trolley by Piero Lissoni, available at various retailers including Lifestorey and Space Furniture. “Ultra-clean lines ensure this shelving system will look good in any setting; it’s my top choice for keeping work items and peripherals in sight,” he says.

The designer also admires the Baxter Libelle bookcase by Pietro Russo, from Space Furniture. “The design and details of the shelves and structure are a delight to explore,” he adds.

3. Choose a sleek desk

A good-sized desk is certainly a crucial component of any workspace. Choose one that fits the spatial requirements of your study while providing sufficient space for your computer unit and stationery.

Ong highlights the Maxalto Recipio ‘14 table by Antonio Citterio, from Space Furniture. “Not many designs come close to the simplicity and space efficiency of this study table from Maxalto,” he says. “The Recipio ‘14, with its unique shellac finish, fits easily into any home. The just-enough size of this table allows for focused work.”

4. Play the right tracks

The most important criteria for a home office is its conduciveness to work. Pick a cosy nook with sufficient natural light, where there may be minimal disturbances if possible. “Choose a space in the home where you know you won’t be disturbed or have any family members walking through a Zoom meeting. Having natural light is ideal, and a sense of privacy is important for focus,” advises Ong.

Play your favourite tunes to keep yourself motivated. “Silence is not necessarily golden,” quips the designer, who enjoys having a cup of coffee and working to jazz music. “Having soft music in the background can add lots of ambience to the home office.”

5. Take a Break

If there’s enough room, why not have a lounge area in your study to create a more informal workspace while you’re working on a laptop?

Top picks include the Poliform Kay lounge chair by Jean-Marie Massaud. “A lounge chair to rest on, or to gather your thoughts with a drink in hand, is as important as a desk,” advises Ong. “This lounge chair is perfect for a well-deserved break. Its lines are minimalist, so it can be introduced into almost any home setting.” 

Pair it with the Baxter Calix small table to rest your coffee mug or a laptop on. “These sculptural side tables can accompany a lounge chair, and are useful to have ina study.”

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