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How to Style the Perfect Study

Learn how to style the perfect study with colours, texture, space, lighting and personal touches.


Study at The Silver Knight, Plum Guide home in the Cotswolds

Shelves groaning with books, obligatory chesterfield sofa or modern, colourful art on the walls? If you are wondering how to style the perfect study, Plum Guide is here to help. A separate space in your home is a fantastic asset, especially in a time when we are working from home more than ever. Designing your study to suit your working preferences and style means you’ll end with the perfect space for you and your needs. How you decorate and finish your space is an extension of your personality and can significantly help (or hinder!) your work.

So where to begin? We’re talking colour, light, texture and ergonomics. Personal touches, plants, sound and scent. We’ve covered the basics as well as the intricate to help you figure out how to style your perfect study, taking inspiration from some of our most studious homes.

Before we begin…

Ask yourself the following questions; do you need to be free from distraction? Do you enjoy listening to music whilst you work? Do you need to be in an inspirational space? These are just some of the thoughts to muse on before styling your perfect study. Take some time, grab a pen and paper and write down five words that you want your space to evoke. Calm? Creative? Peaceful? Cheerful? Fun? Relaxing? Having a plan before you begin to style your space is vital and means you are less likely to make purchases that don’t fit.


The key to a great working space is lighting. Not only does it enable you to see things (we know, we are so intelligent) but it alters your mood and productivity. If you can, place your desk close to a source of natural light to keep those circadian rhythms happy and productivity up. Fresh air and sunshine streaming through your window is always going to help your mood. A desk light is a must; Anglepoise has a selection of classic, beautiful lamps that bring a timeless elegance to any space. This home in Milan is a great example of how natural light can complement a working space.

Rifugio d'Artista, Plum Guide home in Milan

Rifugio d'Artista, Plum Guide home in Milan


Your own personal island. This is where you will spend the most time, so choose wisely dear friend! Ideally, a study table should be 26-30 inches for a comfortable seating position. If your desk isn’t quite the right height for you make sure your chair is adjustable. The ergonomics of your working space will have a huge effect on your concentration (not to mention posture and long-term physical health) so take this seriously. Your desk is a space for creativity and work, keep it clutter-free to keep your focus on the tasks at hand. Avoid knick-knacks and unnecessary items. A lamp, plant, smart stationery holder and your computer and notebook should be the only things on the worktop.

Colour and texture

Light and neutral colours create a relaxing space to work in. Keep walls fresh with off-whites and light creams, allowing for smaller doses of bright colours to accent the room. If you prefer a brighter hue and have the space for it; reds and yellows are proven to energize, whilst soft blues and greens create a tranquil atmosphere. If your study is smaller use the 60:30:10 rule - with the accent shade making up 10% of the room. Plum Guide knows all about making the perfect colour choice (and now you do too).


All hail greenery! Not only do plants add texture and nature to a room, but many of them also offer the added benefit of detoxifying the air you breathe. A selection of plants is a great way to make an inviting and relaxing space. A Weeping Fig (happier than its name suggests we promise), a Chinese Evergreen or a Dwarf Date Palm are wonderfully stylish options of air-purifying plants with their glossy green leaves. London-based independent Canopy Plants offers up a fantastic selection of plants perfect for your study and deliver them right to your door.

Personal touches

You are not in a 200-capacity largely grey office, repeat; you are not in a 200-capacity largely grey office. This is your space! Nobody will arrive and tell you to stop browsing the internet and remove the calendar of your family holiday to Cornwall circa 2018 (holidays, remember them?). Your study is personal so choose some items that mean something to you. An item of special significance will ground you as well as injecting colour and texture to your space. Colourful prints, a library of books (our Home Owners know a thing or two about breathtaking home libraries) and a selection of art bring personality to a space and act as a helpful reminder that you are the boss here. A choice print, family photo or vase of your favourite flowers is a great way to personalise your study. Take some inspiration from the prints and plants at this London home.

House of Hemp, Plum Guide home in London

House of Hemp, Plum Guide home in London


The gentle tinkling in the background of your favourite classical piece or the soothing hum of your favourite radio programme; sound can play a vital role in concentration when working. Studies have shown that ambient background noise improves the studying mindset. Consider a relaxing playlist or your favourite piece to play at low volume. There is a great range of soundbars and portable speakers to use in your study, you’re guaranteed to find one that fits your budget and aesthetic.


Scent sets the tone of a room and creates an ambience quickly and easily. There are many essential oil recipes available that improve concentration or relaxation. A blend of Sweet Orange and Bergamot is said to stimulate the brain and improve a working environment. Choose a diffuser that complements the aesthetic of your study. Alternatively, fresh flowers bring a wonderful scent and a splash of colour. It is worth investing in a subscription of flowers that arrive on a bi-weekly basis to ensure you always have a fresh bouquet.

World of Books, Plum Guide home in New York

World of Books, Plum Guide home in New York

As you’d expect, many of our Plum Guide approved homes come with a stunning study. Take inspiration from the stellar home library at the study in World of Books or go cool and contemporary just like Choreography. You’re guaranteed to get all the inspiration you need.

Choreography, Plum Guide home in London

Choreography, Plum Guide home in London

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