Your Home Office Could Be Dangerous For Your Health



More and more of us are working from home, myself included. Therefore, we need a home office.

But, it’s early August and hot outside and I don’t feel much like working. I should be on vacation like you probably are. But alas, here I am…

home office dangerous to your health

Before I go on with my topic about the threat that your home office may be posing, I want to thank you. I am overwhelmed by all of your sweet comments about my last post where I took all 132 Farrow and Ball colors and matched them to Benjamin Moore colors.

Many of you commented about how generous it was of me. Thank you for thinking that, but I can’t say that my motives are completely altruistic.

I have big plans for my business. You know how those biz gurus always say…

“picture where you want your business to be in 5 years… see yourself how and where you want to be situated. That’s the first step in making it happen.”

So, I’m trying it out. Here’s how I see myself in 5 years or hopefully even less!

I will streamline my desk/office to include only the most essential pieces.


Once I’ve done that, I’ll be so busy writing my blog, answering comments, etc… I’ll definitely need to hire some assistants.

A personal assistant to make sure I’m organized at all times and absorb some of the day-to-day stress.


I’ll need another assistant with excellent communication skills to help answer the 500 emails/inquiries coming in every day; preferably one who can also troubleshoot any technical issues.


We’ll need one to serve in a more domestic capacity (some light cleaning involved) and to keep us all hydrated and nourished.



yummy–drinks and sweets, that is. ;]

If it rains, we can always escape to my shack on the beach.


Hey… all that hard work! We deserve to take a few for a refreshing dip.


Oh damn! I almost forgot that I’ll be needing a general manager. Silly me. One to pick up the slack wherever needed. But please don’t ever call him a pool boy. That’s gross! Such blatant sexism will not be tolerated! Thank you.


I guess that should be enough help. What do you think?

Then, in hurricane season, I figure that we can all regroup somewhere else. But I’m absolutely torn.



or Capri?

capri-monica-forss-flickrMonica Forss

Would it be too greedy to have an office in all three places?



Have you lost your mind?

Thank you for asking. Yes. I think so. A long time ago.

There, there now. What’s with the scowl? Oh, I see… you don’t approve of my business plans?

Next thing I know you’re going to call me unprofessional.

Fine. Yes, I’m unprofessional.

Oh, dang it all! I’ve earned the right to be unprofessional! I’m pushing sixty. Actually, not really pushing so much as one more step and off the cliff we go…



Alight. I’ll stop clowning around (maybe). :] That is a recent photo taken in my lovely apartment in Bronxville, NY. Yes, I know. I don’t look six months away from 60 and I don’t look like I just spent the last 20 hours cleaning my apartment either. This was just published in a local newspaper online, The Journal News and is coming out in print soon.

They told me to look out the window. They did not tell me to smile like an idiot.

I was asked to talk about my favorite spot in my home.

Well, my favorite spot as discussed earlier is my bedroom (awww, my darling gone-to-kitty-heaven-Peaches!)

paintmess 002 copy

But since I figured that most people don’t want to hear that… I lied and told them that it was this spot, in front of the Zuber screen.

Laurel Bern Interiors home office. Ming Lamp. Wall paint - Benjamin Moore Hawthorne Yellow HC-4

Laurel’s Home Office

Hope you didn’t mind that long preamble. My primo guru the incomparable

Eileen Lonergan wrote a post about decorating your home office.

Here’s why your home office can be dangerous to your health.



It’s because your office looks like this. (please check out the fabulous after images here.)

And it’s because you’ve probably spent way too many years working at a place that looks something like this.



They’ve programmed you into thinking that you need to make your home office as ugly as what you were trying to get away from.


please don’t.

This is the place you spend how many hours a day? It should be the most beautiful welcoming room in the house. Whatever that is to you. Pretty, Handsome, minimal, maximal. Make it a place you can’t wait to go to!

If you have big storage needs, that’s what closets are for. No fugly filing cabinets allowed! It’s good to keep things you don’t need regularly in other rooms so that you get some exercise too.

All of these things are going to improve your health. (I should heed my advice!)


Please enjoy these beautiful home offices.


nick-olsen-designed-brooklyn-brownstone-article-home-office-architectural-digestNick Olsen via Architectural Digest

Here’s a charming niche in a neo-traditional style. It might be a bit small for me, but I love the way it was done.

Industrial+Loft+Trad+Interior+lonny+home+officevia Lonny

Sometimes space is really at a premium and our work spaces need to do double or even triple duty. I adore this secretary. I think it would be better to accommodate a laptop, but even so–it’s wonderful. I recognize the chair from Jonathan Adler. Please click the link to see the rest of this gorgeous place!

lonny-jk-place-capri-home-office-white-wing-chairsJK Place Capri designed Michele Bonan via Lonny

I think this is the most blogged about place here. And what I love the most about this place is that it’s not a home, it’s a hotel!

the-marsh-partners-beach-style-home-officeJocelyn Chiappone

Pretty, fresh neo-traditional room. A desk could be a console table or really any kind of attractive table.


original source not known

Great use of a narrow long room.

capri-monica-forss-dangerousclick image to pin to pinterest

liana-pillow-master-home-officeLiana, The Pillow Master’s pretty office via Classic Casual Home

I could definitely work here!





  • Sharon AJJ - June 6, 2017 - 4:00 PM

    I love your suggestion that a home office can be small, beautiful and tucked in to lots of different spots. My husband and I were sharing a home office because he is home only a week a month. But since his work involves lots of phone calls, while I am a freelance editor who needs a quiet environment, my solution was to vacate the space when he was here, and move to a small desk area in our master bedroom, or work at the dining-room table. His work also involves binders, files, a second computer screen and other impedimenta, while I need only a computer, a notebook and pen, and a modest stack of reference texts. However, each time I moved out, I felt a bit cranky and displaced, so my solution was to create a permanent office space for myself. I rearranged our master suite, which is the only space on our second floor, putting a petite 1915 slate-topped oak science desk under a corner window in the bedroom that is just the same width as the desk and has a gorgeous view. A comfortable upholstered desk chair, a vintage desk lamp, my computer, and my reference texts in a neat row along the back of the desk, supported by a nice pair of antique bookends, and I was all set. Everything I need to do my work is easily in reach, and I am in my favourite room in the house.

    I know it flies in the face of conventional advice to work in my bedroom, especially when there is a home office that sits vacant 75% of the time. But this way I don’t have to share my organized little office space with my messy husband, and I am a good compartmentalizer, so I have no trouble separating when I’m “at work” and when I’m “at home.” I know this wouldn’t be the solution for everyone, but it’s been perfect for us.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 6, 2017 - 11:32 PM

      Hi Sharon,

      No need to explain to me. I work in bed– often in my jammies. Love it!ReplyCancel

  • Donna OBrien - May 18, 2017 - 10:20 AM

    OMG I’m still laughing and will be all day! Understand you completely….one more step for me and its off the cliff to 70. At our age what the hell we should be able to do as we damn well please we’ve earned it.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 18, 2017 - 3:49 PM

      Glad you’re laughing! I love this post too! But here’s what’s a little freaky. I wrote it before I started creating my products to sell. Oh, I had been *thinking* about it… but I really did have some people kicking my butt and opening up my eyes.

      My best is when someone tells me that I need to tone down my language like I’m a 20-yr-old! eyes rolling.ReplyCancel

  • Taryl - August 19, 2016 - 6:14 PM

    Love these offices! Unfortunately no cabana boy in our budget but even scaled down and DIY so many of these ideas are doable. I love the texture and scale in some of these rooms too, which I tend to associate more with the living room or bedroom than office. Awesome stuff!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 21, 2016 - 12:39 AM

      Dang. We have to find a way to get that cabana boy for you! ๐Ÿ˜€ReplyCancel

  • Diane Stewart - August 13, 2015 - 11:01 PM

    You’re so funny! Here’s hoping you get all the assistance you need… when and how you need it.

    I have a secretary that looks similar to the white washed one, but it’s banded mahogany. Wouldn’t dream of covering up that beautiful wood! Love all it’s little nooks and crannies, can really store a lot in it.

    My so-called office is a spare bedroom filled with all sorts of stuff since we moved in. It’s on my to-do list, thanks for all the inspiration. My temp office is where ever I am with my laptop, usually in the sitting room off my bedroom.

    I’ve gotten so used to sitting in an easy chair, or on a couch with a lap desk. Not sure I even want to go back to a desk and chair. It’s not as comfy.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 16, 2015 - 12:21 AM

      Hi Diane,

      Actually, I have a bookcase that’s mahogany and very old. And I DID have it painted. Never looked back. Don’t care.I did not ask them to stain it and I LOVE it! You can see it in my portfolio. It’s in the background of my old white living room with Peaches on top of the glass and wrought iron coffee table. Ditto on the laptop!ReplyCancel

  • Karen Savage - August 8, 2015 - 9:26 AM

    I love your sense of humor and because I am right behind you in pushing 60 and just starting back up again in interior design, you are also an inspiration. thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 9, 2015 - 12:48 AM

      Thanks so much Karen! Good for you! I wish you every success in your new endeavor.ReplyCancel

  • Leslie Sinclair - August 6, 2015 - 3:50 PM

    The home office photos were inspiring, with many cool elements. But the first part of this blog was my absolute favorite part. You are so very funny! And your business plan is sound!! xo LeslieReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 6, 2015 - 8:25 PM

      Hi Leslie,

      I had a lot of fun writing it too. Thanks so much for stopping by!ReplyCancel

  • Alycia - August 6, 2015 - 11:53 AM


    You’re gorgeous and your future staff is to die for! I’m thinking I need to hire some staff in the same vein. Vein? Staff? Oh my. But I’m so unprofessional lol!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 6, 2015 - 8:10 PM

      Right. Staff. haha! The objective is to actually not be doing much real “work.” Yes, I knew you would love that. And I put it in the tweet box! hahahahahahaha!!!ReplyCancel

  • Laurie - August 6, 2015 - 8:11 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    Thanks for another very funny read. I think I need to get the name of the agency where you found your general manager. I think I need to revamp my life plan and hire one too.

    I enjoyed the color deck for BM. I am a huge fan of their paint–my local paint store knows me by name I’m in there so much. (I bought a house 17 years ago with hideous 80s wall paper all over the place, so I was painting rooms a lot!

    Color is the office is a must! Our home office is painted in BM Great Barrington Green since its mostly my hubby’s space and it gave it a more man cave look. My desk (when I use it) is in a spare bedroom that’s a light turquoise (my favorite color). Both have hardwood floors. One is relaxing and one is bright and sunny. We love both spaces which both started out a hideous yellowish cream with 80s style wallpaper borders.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 6, 2015 - 8:03 PM

      Hi Laurie,

      I never got those hideous wallpaper borders. Really tacky. Your choices sound lovely!ReplyCancel

  • Libby - August 5, 2015 - 9:17 PM

    You look terrific! All those men might be dangerous to your health when they start to compete to best serve you. Aww, your Peaches looks like my dear, dear kitty who passed away earlier this year. Your bedroom is lovely.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 6, 2015 - 8:01 PM

      Hi Libby,

      They will be like children to me. Each one will be special in their unique hubba hubba way! lol Peaches passed on Dec. 2nd. I woke up T’Giving morning and stepped in a sea of you know… and he ended up in the (rip off) kitty ER that night. He came back for a couple of very special days and we had much cuddling and I fed him with a dropper… but then he took a turn for the worse with frightening breathing problems and when we brought him back he had a host of other fatal problems, so we had to put him down. I was trashed and still can’t believe that he’s gone.ReplyCancel

  • Monika - August 5, 2015 - 9:15 PM

    Can I apply for the position to wrangle all the assistants? Seriously, can I? Loved that post and can’t stop smiling at all the help you’ll be getting in 5 years. ๐Ÿ˜‰ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 6, 2015 - 7:54 PM

      Hi Monika,

      You know… I can’t stop smiling either! Believe me, I was chortling the entire time I was writing it. I don’t know how these things come to me. I always had a vivid imagination as a child… it got me through some rough patches. ;]ReplyCancel

  • Cathy - August 5, 2015 - 9:11 PM

    Thank you! Thank you! I just had a long day with my 89 yr old mother and you gave me something to laugh about. I’m retired now but if I could work on the beach with those assistants – I’d be back at work in a heart beat!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 6, 2015 - 7:49 PM

      Hi Cathy,

      I hear you. My mom’s 92, but she’s 800 miles away.(my big sis is tending to her) Not doing so well right now, but in assisted living. Some 92 yr olds are sharp as a tack. My mom is sharp as a marshmallow. No one ever knows how long someone has, but I’ve made my peace with it. I’ll miss her, but the beautiful mother I had is a shadow of what she was. She doesn’t seem to be bothered by it and for that I’m grateful.

      It’s fun to fantasize isn’t it? I seriously would be very happy with that masseur, however. lolReplyCancel

  • Carol - August 5, 2015 - 9:02 PM

    Oops, wasn’t finished… Paint choices were informed by reading your articles about white paint.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 6, 2015 - 7:42 PM

      Hi Carol, That’s good to know! My recommendations come from a combination of experience and what colleagues that I trust have recommended. Or even just hearing the same thing over and over and over… I’ve recently used mascarpone. It’s actually very similar to Ivory White 925. BM does that a lot! The differences sometimes are so slight, it could be the difference of a dye-lot or less!ReplyCancel

  • Carol - August 5, 2015 - 8:59 PM


    I so enjoy your blog with your wealth of knowledge and sense of humor. You are fantastic! I think my newly painted marscapone walls with super white trim look great. The choices were informed by reading yourReplyCancel

  • Valerie Draper - August 5, 2015 - 8:58 PM

    Thank you Laurel- I love reading your posts! I am in the process of building a house and making oh so many choices… you make decorating fun by taking an educated yet fun and humorous approach which I appreciate now more than ever! I hope your 5 year plan comes to fruition and the pool boy(oops I mean assistant) would be the icing on the cake!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 6, 2015 - 7:40 PM

      Thanks Valerie, If one doesn’t have a sense of humor in this business, it’ll consume you. Of course, some things are not very funny. They’re a total pain. Like stuff coming in damaged or defective. Doesn’t happen all the time, but always a drag.ReplyCancel

  • Jo - August 5, 2015 - 8:20 PM

    Great post! Too bad those gorgeous men are probably gay. Story of my life. Having downsized to a pretty cottage, the dining is also my office. All the “stuff” is organized in attractive baskets that along with the laptop, can easily be whisked away for meals. I think the key to a workspace, is to make sure it has a relaxing view, and it’s in a room where you’re surrounded by good design and the things you love. I love the ambiance of my little dining room, and I love the shade garden and fountain outside the window. I installed a floor outlet under the table, so I can plug in a lamp. Makes working there so much nicer, and we find we like our meals there with the soft lamp lighting. I think, Laurel, whoever invented overhead lighting should be shot. I’ve seen too many design jobs ruined by the eerily dispersed lighting of chandeliers. Overhead light casts downward shadows and makes rooms and the people in them very unattractive. But that’s another post, right?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 5, 2015 - 8:35 PM

      Hi Jo,

      Actually, I would prefer them to be gay. I only want to look at them! lol I totally agree with you about overhead lighting. I did do a post about it. i’ve figured out that in a place like a hall, it’s alright, because the light has a chance to bounce off the wall and back, but in a larger room, no. It’s horrible. I always insist on some other lighting along with chandeliers in the DR and keeping it on a dimmer.ReplyCancel

      • Jo - August 5, 2015 - 8:50 PM

        LOL — yes, sometimes gay is better. My best girlfriend is a gay guy — he loves it when I say that, except for one correction. He says he’s not gay… he’s festive! I read all your posts with gusto. I’ve been a decorator for 40 years, and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. It’s a fabulous world, sometimes worthy of all your cynicism and sarcasm, because you also offer up an equal amount of praise where it’s due. That’s the key — to see beauty in everything, except where it ain’t.ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - August 6, 2015 - 7:38 PM

          Thanks again Jo! 40 years! wow! My working years = 23. Feels pretty long now.ReplyCancel

  • Dolores - August 5, 2015 - 8:18 PM

    Laurel- that is a lovely photo of you- you are a beautiful woman with a wonderful sense of humor- you are a hoot! I do love your carefully thought out business plan and canโ€™t imagine anything going wrong with those plans ๐Ÿ™‚ Now, if you had to pin down just one fun location for your office, I would vote for Capri! I was lucky enough to visit there only once, but I have to say that it is just so breathtaking with a lovely, leisurely pace. You donโ€™t want to exhaust yourself with too much work right? Pace yourself..
    Since eventually you have to do serious work to maintain your expensive menagerie, Iโ€™d vote for an office at Sissinghurst Castle.Plenty of cache to attract only the best clients.And, the castle garden is supposed to be breathtaking in its glory- and could be a great place for you to take leisurely walks, with your attendants in tow, of course. Got to keep that svelte figure ๐Ÿ™‚ReplyCancel

    • Eileen Lonergan - August 6, 2015 - 10:22 AM

      Thanks to two of my favorite ladies for all the love and positive feedback! Y’all made my week.ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - August 6, 2015 - 8:08 PM

        link, link, link! :] And it’s the least I can do. I remember when you wrote that post. I was so grateful and it really helped!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 5, 2015 - 8:31 PM

      Hi Dolores, Thank you. Somehow, they got one of my better angles. Definitely leaning towards Capri! That way I can dine at the JK Place! The idea is to not do all that much work at all! Blogging can actually be pretty lucrative. But… it does take some time. ReplyCancel

  • Sally Marrer - August 5, 2015 - 8:14 PM

    Eileen Lonergan is my source of all good things too. Who needs those other guys when you have Eileen?!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 5, 2015 - 8:26 PM

      Hi Sally,

      I know! Eileen’s a total Godsend! Two years ago… I was soooooo lost. I had two blogs, (that no one was reading) two websites, four google+++++ accounts and a lot of other horrendous stuff that was only hurting me. It took a while to untangle the mess I had made. But once that happened and I learned a few things, it really made a big difference!ReplyCancel

  • Sherri Perry - August 5, 2015 - 8:07 PM

    I love your blog. So refreshing. Please decorate for me. I love your honesty.ReplyCancel