Bold colors and adventurous finishes don't have to undermine the tranquility of a hard-at-work space. This home office, put together by interior designer Steven Gambrel, gets its colorful character and relaxed feel from a bounty of nautical-themed accents inspired by the home's near-the-shore location. To give the room personality, Gambrel devised a display spot for a collection of floats by assembling a bracket-supported shelf from stock lumber parts. Two cool-blue paint colors turn the moldings and window sashes into focal points, and a single vintage signal flag from a sailing vessel adds some energizing brights. Using marine navigation charts to cover a drafting table creates a unique custom desk, while the folding campaign armchair adds a hint of well-traveled British Colonial style.
Read on for ideas to help you come up with the kind of office that will inspire you to chart a smart course—even if it's just to pay the bills.