My husband and I want to paint the office in our house, something that will look clean, modern, and streamlined (and ideally make the room look a little bigger and brighter than it is). However every single "modern" office I see is white, or the slightest variation thereof. Does a workroom have to look sterile to be modern? (If it helps, by and large the furniture in the room is blond wood.)
To see my answer, read more.
Homeowners and decorators paint office spaces white for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they want to add a sense of balance or serenity to the space, or keep it uncluttered or on task. These are all great reasons, and white is a fine choice for home offices. However, I encourage you to paint your office whatever color you choose. My home office in grad school was actually painted a color called "Tequila Sunrise." The shade was a sunny, vibrant orange, and since I was writing daily in this room, the color gave me a boost of energy whenever I sat down at my desk.
Similarly, consider what type of work you'll be doing in your home office. Will you be paying bills? Working on a project? How do you want to feel in this room? Inspired? Motivated? Serene? After you've determined how you want to use the room, then consider which colors will best aid your task and mood. Perhaps light blues or gray-greens will bring you more balance in your day. Maybe a sunny yellow will add pep to your work.
You can still keep the look modern, and also visually expand the space, by editing your furniture and accessories. Choose streamlined, modern light fixtures, such as the Pablo Sophie Lamp, and avoid knickknacks and baubles. A few well-chosen accessories, which complement the wall color, will tie the room together.
If you're a fan of wallpaper, you could cover one wall, perhaps the wall your desk is facing, with a fun, graphic print, such as Ferm Living's Wall Dots pattern. Whatever you do, though, as long as you make the space comfortable, workable, and a reflection of your and your husband's tastes, you'll definitely end up with a room you can happily live with.