A home office should be functional, but not at the expense of character—or even a little risk-taking. The design of this workspace, for example, is traditional English cottage style with a twist. It's where nature-inspired wallpaper and 19th-century antiques, such as a spindle-back armchair and a rustic pine chest, take supporting roles to a scene-stealing mid-century brushed-steel desk with an industrial edge.
"There's a quirky juxtaposition of styles and periods, but the harmonious colors and weathered finishes make it work," says Ros Byam Shaw, author of Perfect English Farmhouse (Ryland Peters & Small), which features this room. The contrasts continue with accessories such as a graphic flat-weave rug, which enlivens and warms up the limestone-paver floor. Keep reading for ways to strike a similarly pleasing balance in your home office.