New challenge: home office interior design in Bologna

Hello design lovers!

Do you remember when I told you about me designing a bathroom on Whatsapp? Well, guess what? After the bathroom project, when Lu needed help with her home office interior design, she contacted me again. And as usual I was really happy to design for her!
If you want to refresh your memory or don’t know the bathroom story, you can read it at this link.

The brief

The office is meant to be shared by Lu and her boyfriend who both have a law degree and very often bring some work back home. They had two opposite visions about the design: Lu wanted industrial style while her boyfriend likes a more traditional home decor. I mean, really traditional, with antiques and dark wood. Not quite easy to merge, right?
In addition, the office has to be flexible and become guest room on special occasions. So, despite the small dimensions, they asked me to place a sofa bed somewhere.

The layout

The room is square-shaped, with a big window in front of the door. The remaining two walls are free.
I wanted to create a focal point from the door to the window wall. This is the first thing that you see while entering the room so, because it’s an office, it has to be inviting and to show what’s happening there: law-related work stuff. For example, if I put the sofa along that wall, this would be confusing: it may look like a living room.


Window wall: I considered putting the desk in front of the window, facing the door (which is what Feng Shui recommend to give you visual control – awareness- of the space). But then every time the guys will be working on their pc, they will experience the annoying reflection of the sun – coming from the window – on the screen. And they’ll hate me.
Instead I decided to place a full height bookcase. If properly styled, this will make the great first impression that’s needed.


The other two walls where perfect to place the desk and the sofa-bed. The desk is against the wall so that there is enough space to fully open the bed without changing the room configuration.
This way the room looks spacious and well-balanced.


I put all my effort in finding the right balance between the two opposite styles, creating something unique that would work for these guys.
Eventually I decided to go for a Mid-Century style, which is inspired by the ’50s and ’60s, and it’s a great solution to give a timeless and elegant feeling, in a contemporary way.
I added some black (or dark grey) metal elements to give the industrial twist that Lu wanted. The rest of the house has got many industrial features so it would be a pity to not have any in the office.

First view – the focal point

I decided to go for a thin metal bookcase. The modular elements can be joined to shape the shelves around the window; the simple design enhances the accessories which give the elegant feeling that’s needed. Expensive looking souvenirs and books will do the trick 😉


I suggested a Sputnik to be the ceiling pendant. I recommended visiting some local antiques markets to look for it, it’s perfect to give that vintage feeling!

Second view – the desk

An oversized wall-hung clock and a coat rack (both in a thin structure) create balance between the two sides of the desk, without drawing attention away from it.


The desk is Ligne Roset. It’s very interesting to be looked at from the front; it was designed on purpose to go against a wall and not in the middle of the room. I avoided wooden legs so that they wouldn’t clash with the timber floor.
The clock is Natuzzi.
The coat hanger is the Sciangai from Zanotta.

Third view – the sofa

The sofa is from Vibieffe. It has to be no bigger than these dimensions: 100 X 177 cm, otherwise it won’t fit properly. I put a Japanese piece of art above to inspire beauty and concentration.


The coffee table is from Maison Du Monde.

Fourth view – the door

This wall could potentially be tricky because it’s quite empty. Eventually it became really nice thanks to the two-colour paint and – above all – the oversized artwork to create symmetry with the entrance door. A mirror in the same sizes would do the work as well.


Colour paint

I haven’t mentioned wall paint so far but this is a huge part of the design! Lu is a colour lover so I suggested to paint from floor level up to 195 cm in a dark blue with a green shade. Above that (plus ceiling) to be white.
The two colours together add an element of variety. The dark colour gives an elegant and calm feeling which is perfect to help concentration; it would be too dark if it was full height but the white lights up the space. These proportions also help the room feel bigger 😉
The colour paint is the S-41 from Masibo, which are an Italian paint company based in Bologna. They were so kind to send me their colour chart so I could choose the perfect colour.

360° view

Last but not least, I prepared a 360° view: click into the image below for a virtual tour. It gives a fair idea of how big the space feels once furniture is in.


*All images © Martina Pardo – A Designer At Heart


I am Martina, an Italian designer based in London. I spend most of my time designing interiors or writing about it. I also love travelling. You may find me walking around the East End of London, drinking coffee and stopping at every single bookshop I bump into.

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