Piastrella Huntsman Green wallpaper by Zoffany has a rich effect

Working from home? Meetings on Zoom? Here’s how to create an inspiring virtual home office

Dubai-based colour specialist Toni Snyder offers expert advice on arranging your home office from colour insights to overall aesthetic for a professional virtual atmosphere with personal touches

It only takes the first two seconds that we are exposed to a new setting to form the lasting impression that determines how we ultimately react to it. Yes, first impressions are powerful, but we all thrive in a well-designed space that reflects our personality and when you are working from home, it needs represent your brand image too. 

In this time of increased virtual meetings, it’s most important that the space behind you is an impressive ‘backdrop’ that lets your clientele get engaged in your topic. 


Here are 5 ways to create a brand image from home:

1. Location, location, location You don’t need to take over a whole room to work from home. An aesthetically pleasing workspace can be created in a nook, closet, hallway, landing area, or even a corner of the kitchen…the decision on where to set-up depends on where you will have the least distractions, be the most productive, and of course, look attractive for those virtual meetings.

2. Establish your image aesthetic Having a general idea of the aesthetic you would like to portray, design wise, will help you achieve the overall look of your office or workspace. This may be minimalist, modern, masculine, natural/organic, bohemian, creative, or opulent, etc. The vibe depends on the industry you are in, and you! A good place to start is to find some inspirational images of a room or office that speaks to you and use them as a guide to start creating.

The bookcase backdrop is given a dramatic, masculine vibe with Benjamin Moore's Soot paint colour

3. Layer on the fun stuff:

Lighting Don’t mix too many light sources, but be sure that you have sufficient lighting for a video conference. Natural light is ideal for day meetings but get a ring-light for evening calls or poor lighting. Be sure you do some practice calls with family or friends before a professional one, to be sure you have your lighting right. Get lighting in place before you choose your paint colour or wallpaper, for an accurate colour selection.

This home office with a backdrop of  Benjamin Moore's Hot Apple Spice paint exudes colour confidence, but also responds well to natural light and alternative light sources.

Wallpaper/Paint Colour makes the most impact and enhances mood, especially on a wall that will be behind you on a conference call. There are several ways to introduce colour: paint an accent wall or area, a piece of furniture like a bookshelf, console/buffet, or even your actual desk; or add a wallpaper to the wall behind you. Go for a colour that complements you, so if you have blonde hair, don’t go for a pale backdrop. Be sure your wallpaper isn’t too distracting either, unless you are in a creative field, then let loose.

Create a bright little corner with this Haiku wallpaper from Scion's Zanzibar collection available at Style Library

Foliage Add some biophilia with a plant or two in a basket or container but don’t overdo it, you don’t want to look like you are working from a jungle. A simple bunch of fresh flowers will always enhance the mood, or just a sprig of fresh or faux floral or leaves in a jar can have an uplifting effect.

Accessorise Get personal with some art, items that reflect your style or interests, or even some branded products that highlight your industry focus. You don’t need your logo everywhere, if your brand personality is reflected. However, be sure not clutter up the space or back wall either, as you don’t want to distract your guests’ attention from you and the conversation.

A beloved shade of bold blue from Benjamin Moore is contrasted with pops of colour and interesting lighting fixtures to add  personality to the set up

4. Glamorise organisation Cleanliness and tidiness is essential, but a stack of plastic boxes won’t send a great message. Clear all clutter and be inventive with desk accessories to bring in some character. A row of three tea cups (from the kitchen) can display clips, fasteners, and desk trinkets. If you need a trash bin, use an alternative container like a wicker basket or wooden box. If your basic desk accessories aren’t very interesting pretty, pop them onto a small vanity tray, caddy, or tribal basket.

5. Get savvy with a digital home assistant (like the Amazon Alexa Echo or Google home) to control background noise with a playlist of instrumentals or ASMR. They also set voice-activated reminders/timers/alarms, give you instant calculations, and to maintain your to-do lists (sent to your phone) even when you step away from your desk. These devices are genius space-savers, free-up your hands, and make you look a little tech savvy too.


Toni Snyder is a Dubai-based colour specialist

Toni Snyder is a Dubai-based American interior colour specialist and forecaster with more than 15 years experience. Her colour intuition maintains an impressive list of royal and celebrity clientele. She collaborates with designers, redefines spaces, inspires interior choices, and leads colour talks and master classes throughout the region and abroad.

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