4 Home Office Tips from Cochineal Design’s Sarah Mendel

May 12, 2020

As the world spends more time doing a wider variety of things at home, investments in home offices and strategies for interior design are becoming more invaluable.

Sarah Mendel, principal of Cochineal Design is expert at making any size space work well and look even better. Having wide-ranging experience in residential, hospitality, and commercial design, Cochineal offers a uniquely informed point of view.  Few are better equipped to offer tips on how to achieve a work-from-home space that maximizes space use and looks terrific.

1. Make every square inch count

In its Half Townhouse project, every inch of space was prime real estate. Cochineal saw a hallway as an opportunity to create workspace and storage solutions. Putting amenities in the walk-though area transformed it from a room connecter to something with more purpose and personality. Paneled walls help to define the space and create a cozy, working moment. Pro tip: A table lamp instantly accessorizes a workspace with personality.

Millwork-paneled walls: HenryBuilt; Table lamp: RH Modern
2. Get creative with storage

When we think of design-worthy libraries, we usually imagine halls of mahogany shelves and rows of tables neatly arranged with brass banker’s lamps. In Cochineal’s hotel project, she reinterpreted this imagery to meet the brand’s young and vibrant culture. Custom shelves were laid out in varying lengths and heights and backed with a 3D-textured wallcovering. The traditional study setup is modernized with recycled plastic chairs. Pro tip: Get creative with decorative looking storage and you’ll find yourself better organized with improved aesthetics.

Recycled plastic chairs: Emeco; Wallcovering: Phillip Jeffries
3. Give office chairs a whole new look

Traditional office chairs have arms, swivel, and are on casters. Mendel asks, “Why? We aren’t sure either. How often does anyone roll around the office (without hitting a wall)?” and encourages considering other comfortable chair options for a more stylish and sophisticated look. She often uses comfortable, vintage dining chairs. Pro tip: Always sit-test a work chair for comfort before purchasing – it may look good, but you’ll want to be able to sit in it for long periods of time, too.

Chairs: found upstate New York (left); Atelier 2+ (center); Vintage Moller (right)
4. Give yourself a break (space)

Make somewhere your break room or area – your no-work zone when you’re working from home. It can be a drag to sit at your dining room table all day. At the office, you might take a coffee break to stretch your legs. Mendel points out, “at home, it’s important to remember to allow yourself some intentional pauses during the day.” Pro tip: No matter how much space you have, dedicate a comfy chair for long calls or 15-minute breathers.

Chair: Vintage Gigi Radice

Resources like Cochineal Design transform basic living environments into dynamic, purposeful, gorgeous places where you’ll be happy to spend more time. Of course, using tips from the experts and your own ingenuity you can add home office makeover-ist to your ever-growing list of multitasking monikers.

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