As we navigate the future of office life, we understand the importance of refreshing and elevating the workstations and workspaces we have created for ourselves this past year. That means stylish yet functional desks and chairs, soothing tones, and lots of dynamic accents intended to provide a creative spark. That is why we were so happy to collaborate with Kayla Seah, one of our favorite lifestyle digital creators, to refresh her and her partner's home office. The Los Angeles-based Kayla is the creator and driving force behind Not Your Standard, a curated lifestyle blog that focuses on fashion, wellness, food, and decor. She started her blog in 2012, starting with photos of her daily outfits, recipes, and DIY ideas. A three-year stint in Berlin proved to be transformative as she honed her personal and design style.
Kayla's signature refined and minimalist aesthetic and her use of inviting neutrals made us so excited to partner with her for this office refresh. Starting with the earth-toned elegance of the Esha Rug, she then adds standout furniture pieces in warm finishes and many eye-catching accents. Read on for Kayla's guide to designing your home office (although a lot of her tips work throughout your house!), from identifying your style and palette, selecting your anchor points with careful intention, and choosing elevated finishing touches. As a bonus, watch her new office reveal here.
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Create and Stay Loyal to Your Own Visual Style
I think I most developed my design aesthetic during my time abroad. While I was in Berlin and trying to sustain my blogging dream, I took a job with a decor company where I was hired to be on their styling team. I think that’s where I realized I didn’t just have a strong eye for fashion, but decor as well. It took me time to develop my palette and understand what really inspired me. I learned that if you stick to your gut and not necessarily chase the “hype,” you begin to develop a brand that is recognizable and strong.
Define Your Color Palette
I would say my home and office aesthetic is inspired by the principles of wabi-sabi mixed with a touch of rustic. It’s very neutral and features hits of deep browns and blacks to break up the whites and creams. And this is pretty much exactly how I dress too!
One of my favorite pieces to look at in my office is the Akila Swivel Chair. I love that it’s a neutral piece that still makes a visual impact. A lot of neutral pieces can fall flat, but this chair—and the Renzo Chair in my bedroom—has texture and curves that make a statement.
Choose Your Space's Anchor Points Carefully
We have a few styles that anchor our office redesign. The first is our set of matching desks, of course—I love their curved shape and the warmer wood finish! They are so streamlined and functional but it is their curved edge detailing which caught my eye. The Alama Bookcase is another. I wanted it to be a lighter wood, so it wouldn’t overpower the room and just creates a nice accent. Our chair is the last focal point. We are both taking so many calls all day long that I wanted a comfortable chair by the window!
Opt for a Simple, Streamlined Desk
Our office is not a massive room, so I knew our desks would be the main focal points of the room. Finding the perfect desk was very important to me. I wanted a simple, clean-lined shape, but I wanted it to be a darker wood finish to add warmth. My number one thing is to not collect things. I feel like this Polley Desk is ideal because it only has one drawer, so I consistently minimize what is staying and what is going. The rest of the essential yet non-aesthetically pleasing items I tend to keep in the closet, haha.
Play With Color To Style Your Shelves
We sit across from the bookshelf, so I wanted that to be pleasing to the eye without being too busy. My tip: never put the same color or similar shape above each other, so don’t have a cream vase above a white bowl. It works much better diagonally. Plus, layering in dark pops of black and brown add more depth!
Finish With Tactile Accents
For the finishing touches, I didn’t want to overcrowd anything, I feel as though our large-scale pieces make enough of a statement. So, I decided to compliment the desks, shelf, and swivel chair with ceramic pieces, like lamps and vases.