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The "Living Office" was the home-design trend of the year at the 2017 Colorado Fall Home Show. This Broomfield home's living room is a great (and colorful) example: The desk doubles as an entry console—and blends beautifully with the room's clean-lined, neutral furnishings. Photo by David Lauer; styling by Elaine St. Louis. Interior architecture by Keira Ritter Design Company. Interior design by Jodi Feinhor-Dennis, Nesting Home Design.

A Home Office You Can Live With

Five expert tips to help you create a healthy work-life balance in a living room that doubles as the corner office.

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Ditching your cubicle for a home office can mean more freedom, more flexibility, more time in your pajamas—and a whole new set of design challenges.

In Denver, rising home prices, low inventory, and a crazy-competitive market mean that many people are forced to buy or rent homes that are smaller than they’d like, or to stay in homes they’ve outgrown. As a result, the luxury of a dedicated home office is often out of reach. So, dining tables and kitchen islands become desks, and guest bedrooms get cluttered with office furniture, paperwork, and power cords.

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Is there a better way? We put that question to Denver designer Leslie Kazmierczak, owner of Level 10 Interiors, who recently displayed some solutions in a series of vignettes, presented by the American Society of Interior Designers, at the 2017 Colorado Fall Home Show. Here, she shares five tips to help you carve out an efficient (and stylish) workspace in a living room or guest bedroom—without clocking overtime:

Create consistency. “Start by identifying your workspace,” Kazmierczak says. “You want to define the area, but incorporate it into the decor of the room.” Aim to maintain a uniform furniture style and color palette across the living room and work area. If you use a laptop, consider swapping a traditional desk for a console (like this one from Pottery Barn) or side table.

Make furniture do double duty. Choose a desk chair that can swivel from your workspace back into the living room after the workday ends, or try a sculptural stool designed for long stretches of sitting. “I like to put the ‘desk’ behind the sofa,” Kazmierczak says. “Sofas often float in the middle of the room, so anchor yours with a console table tucked behind it. That’s an ideal area to turn into a daily workspace.” We like the substantial Heather Sideboard from Custom Furniture LA.

Embrace storage. Look for a workspace with drawers and/or file cabinets that can double as an end table (like this). “At the end of the day, you want to be able to tuck away those office supplies and incorporate the office back into the social space,” Kazmierczak says.

Ditch the desk lamp. Just like the furniture, your lighting must function (and look great) during work and play. “There’s no reason to use a traditional desk lamp,” Kazmierczak says. “Just choose a table lamp that works with the style of the room.” We love this Currey & Company lamp’s versatile style and tiny footprint.

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Hide a bed. For offices that moonlight as guest rooms, the main goal is to conceal the bed. Kazmierczak suggests a day bed or trundle bed that can be dressed as a sofa during work hours. “Accent pillows can really help make a daybed look like a seating area,” she says. To complete the illusion, choose storage that can be rolled away into a closet (like this sleek, portable piece from Room & Board) when guests are in town.

As home-design projects go, converting a living room into a living office requires relatively little effort but yields big rewards (so long, commute and business suit!). And that’s the kind of work we like best.

Read more from 5280 Home: Three home offices we love.

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