Traditional Home Office Design Ideas

Traditional Home Office 2

What Is A Traditional Home Office?

Home Office Design Store is reader supported. If you make purchases from links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more

The most defining features in a traditional home office are the furniture. That would include the chairs, desks, shelves, cabinets and even the rugs that tend to feature most prominently. 

Furniture in a traditional home office is mostly determined by legacy – furniture that has been passed down from generation to generation. Here are some of the more prominent characteristics of a traditional office.

The Darker The Room The More Traditional It Is

Most offices that fall within this niche do not have a considerable amount of natural light coming into them. Many of them are actually completely closed off – with no windows at all – to help enhance that conservative and masculine tone. 

If the room you have chosen for this style of office happens to have particularly large windows, the best option is usually to find curtains that are dark. 

If you find that curtains are not the most suitable option – for whatever reason – there is also the option to use a set of conservative blinds for your traditional home office. It is quite important that the blinds fit in well with the mahogany tone that is normally the strongest feature of an office like this. 

Your office should have an air of sophistication about it and the lighting of that home office contributes significantly to that business-like aura. 

We will touch on desk lighting in the paragraphs below but equally critical is the lighting on your ceiling in such an office. 

You probably want dimmable ceilings lights, which will help you gauge how light or dark it should be to best blend in well with the predominantly mahogany colours that feature throughout a traditional office.

Lights in an office like this could work well off a hanging pendant (which is a more masculine feature). 

Track lighting is also still a popular option in this environment, while we feel the most compelling option remains the use of an antique chandelier – which is best at giving off that aged and sophisticated feel. 

Each Office Should Have At Least One Desk Lamp

Traditional Home Office 3

Contrary to popular belief, you do not actually need to limit yourself here. The existence of a desk lamp is what makes the home office traditional and not so much the kind of desk lamp. 

If you are feeling whimsically archaic – which we would respect – there are still numerous antique options on the market…assuming of course that you have not inherited one from your great uncle that you never actually met. 

Among those antique options are the Tiffany Style Lamps, the Traditional Banker’s Lamp or the Edison Style Industrial Desk Lamp. 

Being traditional does not mean you have to feel old though. There are modern desk lamp options, like the bendable LED Styled Table Lamp. The modern desk lamp options are more energy efficient and more versatile too. 

The critical detail here though, is that the lamps should be on desks and not on the floor, as is often the case with modern lamps. 

There should also be lamps available for the smaller tables that are usually additional features in stately rooms like this – probably for a guest of yours taking tea or coffee with some biscuits.  

Art On The Walls Gives The Office Character 

Traditional Home Office 4

A traditional home office is about the finer details – artwork, mirrors, wall sconces, antiques. It does not have to be Van Gogh, Monet or Picasso but it must be respectable – something that could go up into an art gallery worthy of the name. 

As if we could not be any clearer on this, but posters are out of the equation! 

In keeping with this theme, your office should have artwork or mirrors which are ornately framed. What should not be lost on you is that you could conceivably be spending a considerable amount of time in this workspace and plain frames are frankly dull and totally mundane. They kill brain cells! 

Find A Desk That Fits The Tone Of The Office

Traditional Home Office Desk

For many, this kind of office is not just where you plan to get some work done – although that would be a priority of course. 

The workspace is also YOUR personal domain, the one place in the home where you are totally in charge and anybody entering that space should be completely aware of that. 

There is no more compelling way to send that message than by purchasing a solid oak wood desk for that office, with drawers and compartments already built in. 

The suggestion of a solid oak wood desk is certainly a power play but it will also have something to do with blending in with the remainder of the furniture and the traditional wall design in that office. 

Speaking of which…

Wooden Paneling Gives Off A Warm And Cozy Feeling

Every traditional home office worthy of the name should have wooden panels on the walls. 

While this might depend on your taste, you will likely find that the most compelling wooden panels are always darker shades – something that would go well with a solid oak desk. 

Along with the wooden wall panels, these rooms will invariably also have wooden floors. The more conservative the colours of those wooden floors, the more traditional the feel of said home office. 

Suffice it to say that the whole room doesn’t need to be panelled but if you do have the cash to splash, then splash it. 

The design is not always going to be cheap and that is because the whole purpose of having a traditional office is to avoid looking cheap or dare we say it common. 

Antique Rugs Will Make Your Office Feel And Look Bespoke

You will find that most of the features in your workspace serve to create that bespoke feeling or look. That is partly why we would put it to you that the older the furniture (including the desk lamps) the more traditional that home will look and feel. 

The thing about a bespoke look is that it also creates an air of warmth and comfort, which you should be able to feel when you are at home. For example, those among us who have a few extra bucks in the pocket will venture for the option of also including a fireplace in the workspace. 

The fireplace contributes to the warm feeling but can also be remarkably therapeutic at times when you feel like you just need to do some thinking. This is not just a workspace but it also doubles up as a cave, where you can just get away from all the drama that comes with the territory in one’s busy life. 

We accept that this is not an option for everybody but another ploy you could adopt, to create that warmth and comfort, will be the fitting and subsequent purchase of at least one rug. 

Persian rugs are steeped in tradition, which merely confirms that they would be an outstanding fit for a workspace like this. 

The more antique the persian rug, in this context, the better. Antique persian rugs have rich colours, that will give out that professional, and even regal feel while working at home. 

Leather Seating Gives Off An Air Of Sophistication 

Here your best option would be to go for a leather chair – a Judge’s Chair – with a high back for you to sit with at your desk. Dark green or dark red leather are among the more compelling options and add a little more colour to an otherwise dark room. 

However, a light shade of brown that would go with the mahogany feel is also perfectly acceptable, as is black (always a safe colour under these circumstances). 

So, you would be adding that colour to your space without compromising on the air of sophistication that you are searching for in a room like this.

In keeping with this leathery theme, we are also going to expand a little on the additional features in an office like this. You want to have an office that will have at least one additional chair in it. 

That could be a chair on the opposite side from where you are sitting at your desk. It could also be a chair that you might have closer to a fireplace or certainly away from the main office desk. 

Always good for the occasional brooding! 

The latter option also gives off a slightly more informal feel about the office, where you can wander away with your thoughts, especially if you are having a particularly stressful time at “work”.

Perhaps, you just need to spend some time away from the family and get lost in an enthralling book. So, you want to read in relative peace and quiet but you also don’t want to feel like you are on the clock. Sitting away from your main desk helps facilitate such a scenario. 

And then there are times when you are likely to receive visitors in your office. Sometimes those visits will be work related and you will want to appear professional to your colleagues. Dark leather chairs or couches are always a safe option for them under these circumstances. 

Sometimes those visits will not necessarily be about the work and they will be slightly less formal. However, at the same time you will still want your guests to feel comfortable. It seldom gets more comfortable than it does in those leather chairs. They are soft and they are warm. 

They offer a sense of security, which is incidentally a perfect environment to discuss anything that you like with your kids, who might have come to confide in you. 


You know you are in a traditional home office, when you feel like you have just walked into an ancient library once you step in. 

The most compelling feature of bookshelves that fall within this niche is that they are normally built-in and designed to blend in with the mahogany style that comes with such a room in the home. 

If you are a genuine reader and God forbid a lover of Mills & Boons, there is nothing we can do stop you from stacking those shelves with books that are better suited to your reading tastes. We are going to exclude magazines from that though. 

If you are not a genuine reader, there is still a glorious opportunity for you to keep up appearances by stacking these shelves with encyclopedias and other antique-looking books that could serve as a backdrop in a Game Of Thrones Library. 

If you feel that books are perhaps a little too dull or even a little intimidating, there is no reason why you cannot compensate for that by filling the shelves with ornaments and even small designer pot plants – preferably things that do not detract too much from the overall desired tone for that room.