I thought I’d try a new series: how to design an office, in different decorating styles. First up: how to design a preppy-inspired office.
Do you have (or want) a preppy-inspired office? If you have a very preppy style yourself, how do you think that personality shows in your office? Whether you’re hybrid, remote, or in-office full time, how have you designed your space?
I had a lot of fun putting together this inspiration board, which admittedly leans heavily on some Lilly Pulitzer stuff.
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How to Get a Preppy-Inspired Office If You Work In a Cubicle or Shared Space
I think the trick is going to be picking a few pieces that make you happy but don’t overwhelm the space. For me this would mean maybe getting one of the custom, Lilly-inspired mouse mats, some blingy gold office supplies, and maybe some fun pushpins for your office bulletin board.
How to Get a Preppy Inspired Office If You Work in a Law Firm Or Other Conservative Space
Your biggest hurdle here is going to be overcoming the “executive brown” furniture that you likely have in your office. I would start by making the space as light and airy as possible as possible, with as much white or beige as you can bring in — a white desk mat, an ivory or beige throw blanket on your visitor’s chair(s), maybe even a white (ergonomic) chair for yourself if you can swing it. I might also try to stick to white-only binders where possible, all labeled with a consistent label, sticker, or font.
After you achieve a nice white or beige base, THEN you can add accents like a pillow with fun colors, a joyful picture frame or two, a beautiful flower vase (with real flowers, of COURSE).
On your side of the desk, you can get into more twee, fun things like colorful pushpins and more.
How to Get a Preppy-Inspired Home Office
The sky is the limit here, of course! I’ve seen a lot of offices painted with bold wall colors like hot pink, lime, bright yellow, or some combination thereof. You could also check out Spoonflower — there’s such a wide selection of wallpapers there that there are definitely some preppy-ish designs. (For example!) (I believe Lilly Pulitzer previously made wallpapers, also, if you feel like doing a hunt.)
That said, now is the time you may want to check out Core Prepsters like Tory Burch, Martha Stewart, and Reese Witherspoon — I feel like a lot of their offices are still mostly neutral, light colors like white or beige, with fun, bright pops of color as accents. Bonus points, of course, if you can mix and match different prints (toile! stripes! floral!) on chairs, walls, and other designs.
(If you want some examples of interior designs with really sophisticated mixing and matching of different prints, Summer Thornton’s Instagram is full of them — such as this, this, or this. Reese Witherspoon’s designer, Mark Sikes, is also an expert at mixing and matching patterns — check out this, this, or this.)
Readers, what are your thoughts? Do you have (or want) a preppy-inspired office? If you personally have a very preppy style, how do you think that personality shows in your office?
- Martha Stewart On Organizing Your Home Office [YouTube/CBS Sunday Morning]
- Step Inside Tory Burch’s Refined Manhattan Office [Architectural Digest]
- Inside Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Offices [Domino]
- Go Inside Martha’s Home Office Renovation [MarthaStewart.com]
I think I have a good starting point with my home office if I start adding some bright accents! Hmm … the wheels are turning.
Love these (and would love more of these!)
While preppy is definitely not my style, I am in the beginning stages of making changes to my home office, so I am looking forward to this series!
This is a great idea for a series!
I’m trying to create a home office look … like where a Celtic fairy would work but not a childlike look, lol.
To me preppy would mean wood paneling, upholstered chairs, wood desk with drawers, tooled leather books, fountain pens…
I mean, this look is attractive, but it doesn’t say “preppy” to me.
DC Inhouse Counsel
Agreed, I feel like there are two types of preppy. Actual old-school preppy like you described and what I think of as “Florida preppy”, like this, lots of Lilly Pulitzer, Jack Rogers sandals, Southern Tide etc.
Apparently, from what my searches have turned up, there is “masculine preppy”, which is what you describe, and “feminine preppy”, which is what is featured here.
My first thought when I saw this was the same “Dude, this is not preppy”, but apparently it is…?
I’d call the wood paneling kind of place “traditional design”
Real prep vs prep cosplay.
This reads as 2010-era Pottery Barn twee, not what I would picture as a preppy grown-up’s office.