There’s a reason most of your work (and mail) gets tackled at the kitchen table. Despite the best intentions of tidying up, without an organization system in place, your home’s highest-trafficked area defaults as command central. Hello, piles of paper.

Lafayette designer Lisa Bourque recommends taking a step back and thinking about how you use your space, then designing around that function — rather than the other way around.

Bourque recently created a utility-packed gem of a home office camouflaged within a client’s open kitchen and dining room. Her secret?

“Being tight about the function,” says Bourque. “Make sure everything has a home.”

By “home,” she means tucked out of view; not a cord in sight. Bourque says you don’t need a ton of extra room to create an aesthetically pleasing workspace. It’s more about narrowing down the minimum amount of tools you need to get the job done.

For example, her client only required a sliver of counter space to fit her laptop, but her big investment came in the form of custom file cabinets. Bourque recommends thinking about your workspace in terms of two distinct zones: one for short-term tasks and one for long-term storage. Depending on your space, these zones might be in two totally different locations.

“Typically what people are missing is the storage,” says Bourque. “All of the extra papers must live somewhere else; in a drawer or even in a plastic bin.”

Bourque says the goal, especially in an open, multifunctional room, is to create a “homogenous line for your eye to focus on.” Meaning, you want your guests to notice that great piece of art on the wall, not your dust-gathering printer.

But it’s not just about impressing visitors. The key to creating a space you’ll want to return to again and again is integrating something that visually inspires you, says Bourque, whether that’s a nicely framed painting, a picture window, or a magnet board filled with your kids’ craft projects.

Lisa Bourque Designs  /  /

Lafayette designer Lisa Bourque of Lisa Bourque Designs brings a contemporary flair and sense of personalization to her residential and retail projects.


Create an integrated home workspace

❶ Determine your highest priority tasks and the tools you need to accomplish them.
❷ Work within the space you have to find hidden homes for each essential item.
❸ Create two zones: One accessible for short-term tasks and one for long-term. tasks
❹ Bring in an inspirational focal point.
❺ Reassess often to make sure your workspace is working for you.