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built in home office joinery dark brown timber dark green wall with shelving

Home Office Joinery Ideas, Plus Chris’ Advice to Get the Look Right at Yours

I’ve got more home office joinery ideas than you can poke a stick at in today’s post. So if you’ve been tinkering with the idea of installing something permanent like this in a room at your place, these pearls of wisdom have come at the right time.

It’s fair to say we’re not only exploring joinery ideas here, but going deep with the practical information you need to get across before you even call a joiner. I’m talking ideal zones for the office, desk dimensions, functional requirements, achieving the right look, and so much more.

I’ve installed home office joinery in my own apartment, outside of working with my design clients, so rest assured you’re in safe hands. This post also contains a tonne of imagery from the amazing design team at Metricon. I filmed a video with them on home office joinery you can watch below too. Enjoy the inspiration and advice!

white shaker style home office joinery in rumpus area metricon bayville

Who’s Going to Use the Office?

I know this sounds like a really obvious question, but you should think about this as a ‘now, next month, next year’ proposition. You’re looking to install home office joinery; it’s a somewhat permanent solution. You’re investing in quality materials that will be custom-made for you and attached to walls. You want to get it right.

Consider if this home office is a just-you scenario, or if in time your partner will use it too. Kids might be in the equation now, or they could come in the future. I would always suggest installing a horizontal plain of joinery that can accomodate more than one person/chair/computer. This is unless you’re absolutely sure it’s never going to be a shared space. 

Once you know this, start to make a list of the things you’ll require in the home office based on how you work. Let’s expand on this below.

home office joinery timber desk with timber wall backing with wallpaper and sheers

Questions to Answer: These Form Your Joinery Brief

Function first: it’s how I approach every single design job I work on, and joinery for a home office is no different. You need to take time to ask yourself the questions below (and more) in order to avoid building a home office that doesn’t meet your needs. A few questions to mull over include:

  • Is just one desk OK, or do you want to accomodate more people in the future?
  • What about storage? Do you need to keep folders, files, paperwork?
  • Do you need to a place to house larger equipment like a printer?
  • Do you want to be able to display decor to personalise the space?
  • Do you need to pin things? Or do you need to write on a whiteboard at times?
  • Do you want some drawers to store stationery and other items in?
  • What type of computer do you have? Do you need to store a tower somewhere, or do you have a Mac?
  • Do you want this space to be a home office forever, or should it be convertible to something else?

These answers become the brief you’ll give to your joiner, so you honestly can’t afford to skip this step. 


home office joinery light oak with upper cabinets and wrap around desk

Future Proofing the Room for Other Uses 

Think about it: is it likely the room your home office is in might need to become something else in the future? Not only can your answer effect the joinery ideas and configuration you choose, but the location of the office too.

For example, you might be retiring in five to 10 years, or planning to change jobs, or have kids. So the office in question might be null and void at that time. If you install full wrap-around-the-room joinery it might deem the room unable to be used for anything else.

But if you just did joinery on one wall, that joinery might be able to house a TV and become a media room. It could house a single bed and become a guest bedroom. It could even be a temporary nursery, or a formal dining room depending on how much space is left over.

So, go easy with the joinery if you think the room needs to become something else at some point. Or, future proof it now and leave space for a TV to go on the wall.

brown timber home office joinery hamptons style with blue wall

Will a Smaller Nook in the Home Work?

If you’ve decided a dedicated room might not be the right approach, there are loads of other areas in the home you can work office joinery into. There are images in this post of home offices tucked into hallways, landings, and even nooks in kitchens where open shelving might traditionally go.

These are all amazing spaces, but whether or not these zones work for you is a question of (here I go again) functionality. How you use the space is everything. A few things to think about if you’re putting joinery in open spaces around the home:

  • Zoom calls. Are you a Zoomer? What is going to be behind you on-camera?
  • Noise levels. Do you need privacy to take calls away from places like living rooms and kitchens?
  • Do you want to look at your work zone when you’ve ‘left work’ and are chilling on the sofa?
  • Will a small nook accommodate all of your physical needs (printers, screens & towers, copiers, modems etc?)
  • Do you have a chair on wheels? Will you need a chair mat underneath? Will this work in a thoroughfare? 
  • How often will you use this zone? If only occasionally, a nook with a laptop could be enough
  • Do you need natural light? Dark corners are often terrible for productivity and motivation

fixed home office joinery desk coming out into room with freestanding shelf

light timber home office joinery on one wall two person with upper white shelving

Knowing the Ideal Desk Dimensions

We’ve got most of the functionality questions answered, which is great. Now I want to impart a few pearls of wisdom on you around dimensions. Knowing what sort of measurements you should be playing with will hep greatly in determining how much joinery (or zones) you can fit into the space in question.


You want to go for a desk width no smaller than 100cm. That’s cosy, and it won’t allow you to fit a set of drawers underneath.

Around 120cm in width is comfortable without drawers, but you could squeeze in a very narrow set. A desk wider than 120cm is a great amount of space to play with, depending on what you want to fit in.

If you have more than two metres to play with, you can fit in two desk zones without drawers, or one desk with wide drawers built in underneath.

If you’re hovering around three metres in wall width or greater, you can easily fit in two desks with a set of drawers between them.

home office joinery ideas brown timber look laminate floating desk


The depth of the desk you’ll install does depend on how often you’ll use the desk. A desk with less depth is fine if you’re not at it for eight hours a day, five days a week. 

If you’re just sitting at your desk occasionally with a laptop, a depth of around 50cm would be fine. But I’d not recommend that for everyday use.

Joiners will suggest a standard depth of around 65cm for a desk you’ll use daily. That’ll fit a large screen on it, with keyboard, ensuring you’re not too close to the screen.

Ergonmics are important if you’re at a desk every day, so I would go as deep as you can without it looking ridiculous. You shouldn’t need to go beyond 80cm.


Standard desk height is 70cm. While the desk width and depth can vary, desk height tends to sit at 70cm. You can go higher if it’s a thick piece of joinery (like in the image below), but just keep in might you’ll need an adjustable chair otherwise you’ll be sitting too low.

Here’s a list of our fave adjustable office chairs on wheels if you need.

moody home office with dark timber joinery feature light and shelving

The Joinery Should Match the Rest of Your Home

We’ve covered off so many joinery ideas from a functional perspective, now let’s talk about style. This is really important too, so don’t scroll past this part.

There will come a time where your joinery will ask you what you want the office to look like. You know, what colours and materials are you wanting? You do not want to ask if you can phone a friend at this point. You want to be able to guide them on the vibe you’re after.

The golden rule is that the joinery – whether it’s in a dedicated room or in a nook somewhere – should match in with the rest of the home. Don’t have a light and bright coastal theme with oak furniture, and then have an office with black joinery that looks totally out of place against the rest of the home.

Pull colour cues from furniture like your TV unit, sideboards and buffets, shelving, or even your kitchen cabinets. The office should feel like it was always there; built at the same time as the home. You do not want it to feel like a random afterthought.

built in study nook home office zone at top of stairs in metricon display home

home office joinery shelving on one wall with desk on the other

Completing the Space (It Doesn’t End with Joinery)

If your home office is in a dedicated room, there is so much to explore than mere joinery ideas. In fact, you should really take a step back before you consider joinery and map out the vibe you want to create.

Take a look at the office above, for example. It’s stunning because a lot of thought has been put into the overall design. The joinery is great, but the wallpaper, the lighting, the sheers, the carpet; all elements have been carefully thought-out before joinery came into the mix. 

I strongly suggest you sit down and map out a rough mood board for your room, so you can figure out how you want it to look. This is the program we use to mood board rooms. It’s honestly an essential part of the process.

I hope these home office joinery ideas and design tips have helped you sort out what you need for your own home. Drop me a comment below if you have any questions or need more help!

This post includes images and/or videos of Metricon display homes and events, reproduced with permission. © Metricon Homes Pty Ltd 2021.


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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4 Responses

  1. Wow. Thank you Chris for this post. Very timely.
    We have progressed through our major renovations/additions, got the Living Room, minor bedrooms & activity built and finished, bathroom up and working and now its time for my Home Office. The picture just above the “Future Proofing the Room for Other Uses” is just what I want!! It even has space for my co-workers too ie cat bed on top of lower drawer units and dog bed on floor. Off to draw up the design for the cabinetmaker.

  2. I really appreciate your advice to create a joinery brief first. I would probably add ‘power’ to the list of questions as I seem to have so many plugs for screens and laptops and printers and chargers. If I was building joinery, I would need to consider where everything is getting plugged in so I don’t need to be climbing under desks every time I need to unplug.
    I love the look of these nooks and home offices with a laptop centre stage. I could probably work like that for a few hours, but the reality for me is a much more foreboding 2 screens and a laptop. It takes up a lot of space, and the older I get, the further back those screens need to be. 😉

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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