A Modern Law Office Design Plan With Cuban Inspiration

I’m back with another “DIY Playbook, Save our Space”. My plan for this series is to take a reader’s space and (virtually) offer design tips and tricks on how to improve it.

Here are some of my favorite design solutions from this series. You can read them all right here.

How Should I Decorate My New Law Office?

Today’s Reader SOS is a fun and unique project featuring law office decorating. While I’ve helped plenty of homeowners with their spaces, I’ve never designed a space in a professional setting.

Reana recently opened her own boutique law group in New Jersey, specializing in Immigration. Her family immigrated from Cuba and she wants her law office decor to reflect her family’s roots. This office space has so much potential and I know a few small tweaks will make it even better. She even promised some “after” photos for us, too!

Here’s Reana’s submission…

The Design Dilemma

A law office space before

When I rented out this office space, the walls were a deep red.

I repainted and chose some green accent walls to complement the chairs that have been given to me, and were passed through generations of my family.

A law office space

In addition to the chairs, I want to incorporate my grandmother’s poem and some black-and-white photos of our family in Cuba. I want to make this a comfortable space that is also professional. I have conference rooms downstairs; so in this office, I need to fit my desk as well as my paralegal’s desk.

The major thing I want is a little bit of privacy for when we do have someone in our office, or if one of us is on the phone.

A law office before decorating with Cuban style

This area is a “step up” from the rest of the floor. I’m not sure how to best use that space.

Law Office Decorating – The Gameplan

law office from the TV show Suits
IMDB – Suits

When I started brainstorming for this project, I couldn’t help but think of Jessica Pearson and Harvey Specter’s private offices from Suits – talk about a dreamy, modern law office design. Has anyone else been tearing through the episodes on Netflix? It’s Finn’s favorite television show of all time!

The good news is that Reana’s office has several great design elements to build around and there’s enough space for us to create distinct zones. Plus, there’s natural lighting coming from both sides of the office, along with some pre-existing built ins.

Here’s the overall gameplan to create a functional and aesthetically pleasing office space for Reana.

  • Create three separate zones (Reana’s office, paralegal area, dining and coffee bar)
  • Add partition for privacy
  • Paint built-ins a dark green
  • Add leather couch, rug, and lighting
  • Incorporate Cuban style and special wall artwork

The Floor Plan

An office space before the makeover

The physical space of her office is a good size! However, with the current office layout, I don’t think we’re maximizing the space, or the cool features she has in this room.

Below is the proposed layout for the new office space. We have Reana’s office on the left, the paralegal’s desk in the middle, and a coffee bar and bistro table on the right.

A floor plan for a new law office space

Thinking about creating some privacy for her, I would suggest making the left side of the office space into a little suite. It has both the bigger footprint and the built-ins. The other nice thing is that if we section off this space, the other side of the office also has a window. This means we won’t be cutting off the natural light from the rest of the room.

Then, I would make the raised area to the right a coffee bar and dining area. Reana said that right now they move their files to the side and just eat lunch at their desks. I like the idea of creating a dining table (this small round one is perfect) to take a break from their important work. Adding a rug underneath the table will further establish it as a separate zone. Underneath the windows, they could add this burlwood console table to create a coffee bar.

Finally, I would put the paralegal’s desk underneath the law group sign. I would opt for a more modern desk with Spanish influence to elevate the space. Then, there’s a face to greet whoever walks in the door (almost like having a reception desk), giving their clients a warm and welcoming first impression – a major part of their brand identity.

The Privacy Problem

Figuring out how to bring some privacy to this space was her biggest request. So, I started by looking into all sorts of partitions. A partition is a good option because she would have easy access to the rest of the office. One option I liked was this free standing, metal partition wall. We could even hang some plants off the vertical slats, adding both color and more privacy.

How to DIY a partition wall
The Sorry Girls

I also came upon some beautiful options for a glass partition system – both with doors and cast openings. The benefit of glass walls is that they divide up the open space, while still making it seem airy.

Also, the metal and glass look, paired with some hanging plants, really gave me the Cuban feel. The Sorry Girls have an amazing tutorial for an industrial-style partition wall, made from wood and plexiglass. This seems like a great way to get the look for less.

Reana’s Office Suite

A law office before its makeover

Once the zone for Reana’s space has been created with a partition, I recommend adding an area rug to further ground the space. A jute rug, or something with a very low pile, would be best as this will be a high-traffic area. This rug reminds me of geometric tiles. I love it!

I’d also suggest flipping the desk to the other side. That way she’ll have more privacy and a view of her shelves and the windows.

Dark green built-ins by the Renovation husbands
The Renovation Husbands

Speaking of the shelves, I would paint the whole built-in unit a deeper, darker green to highlight her law books and mementos. I think it would complement the lighter green she already has on some of the walls in the space.

Lastly, I think a comfortable seating arrangement across from her desk, would be a great way to use the space. A leather couch and a green, marble coffee table would help bring in the Cuban flair in a professional way.

Symmetrical gallery wall with black and white pictures
Jan’s Symmetrical Gallery Wall

Over the couch, she could feature a gallery wall of her family’s black and white photos, with big mattes and frames. I was thinking something like my mom’s symmetrical gallery wall would be nice!

Bring In The Old Havana Style

I love that Reana wants to bring some of her family story into the space. To make sure I did it justice, I first researched and collected some ideas to reflect Old Havana style and law firm design.

Using texture and geometric tiles to showcase Havana style
Condé Nast Traveller

We’re going to build around the green paint that she’s already added and use a warm, yet muted color scheme throughout.

An important factor I had to keep reminding myself of, is that this is a professional space. So, I had to make sure not to get TOO crazy with the Cuban design elements, and find the right balance.

Incorporating Havana style into home design
Stay One

To reflect the vibe, I would recommend bringing in natural elements like rattan and wicker. Of course we will feature wall art that honors her heritage, and I would suggest bringing in some comfortable seating, too. Leather upholstery and gold finishes will yield that luxe feel.

Lighting is Everything!

Right now, the overhead fluorescent lighting is the only source of light and if you read this post, you know that it’s a design no-no for me! It would be a good idea to layer in some other lamps for any late nights. Proper lighting is important for every room, but especially in a lawyer’s office!

Adding lighting to a conference room
Bless’Er House

Hardwiring electrical would be another fee; so, I would recommend installing two of these wicker battery-operated basket lights, at different heights over the leather couch. The ambient lighting will further create that comfortable atmosphere.

Reana’s New Law Office – The Mood Board

How to blend Cuban and Havana style into a professional law office space

Geometric Rug // Striped Rug // Leather Couch // Console Table // White Comfortable Chairs // Bistro Table // Gold Lamp // Office Desk // Rattan Light Fixtures // Gold Planter // Coffee Table

Who said law office decorating couldn’t also be filled with personality? A professional space can simultaneously be a stylish, homey, and comfortable environment!

Something I especially liked about Reana’s vision was her desire to blend modern design with vintage vibes. She’s sure to impress any prospective clients with this space! I had so much fun with this design process and I can tell that the entire office space will be filled with special stories. Stay tuned to see the updated pictures.

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