The best way to design a space that looks like it’s straight out of Hogwarts? Traditional, enduring furniture and classic study decor that has stood the test of time. Below, we list all of the stunning pieces you’ll need to turn the page on your old workspace.

Related Read: Bright Ideas For Better Lighting In A Home Office

J. Hirsch Interior Design created a classic study in this Atlantic horse farm farmhouse. A cabriole leg desk, traditional desk chairs, and installed bookshelves complete the look
Design by J. Hirsch Interior Design / Photo by Chris Little Photography


While high-tech, ergonomic office chairs suit modern tastes, traditional studies are a whole different ball game. Embrace comfy, upholstered seating for your reading room. French Bergere chairs, Queen Anne wingbacks, and elegant Kilsmos chairs capture attention even when stationed behind a desk. If you’re one to get lost in a book for hours, seating that you can lounge in is a must. An English Victorian-style loveseat, neoclassical chaise, or stuffed lounge chair will effectively handle the job. Also, remember that when it comes to looking for antique and vintage finds, you can’t judge a book by its cover! If you discover a beat-up seat that possesses a stunning shape, reupholster it! It’s one of the oldest tricks in the design book.


Nothing communicates well-read style like rows and rows of beautiful book storage. Any bookcase will work, but why not take it a step further? Keep an eye out for pieces that boast a long pedigree, such as French Empire-style cabinets, Chippendale bookcases, and vintage etagères. To recreate the look of a quintessential lawyer’s home office, opt for barrister bookcases. In order to achieve a truly classic study, prioritize pieces made out of heritage-grade woods like walnut, mahogany, and oak.

Debbie Matthews Antique and Designs LLC used a vintage art piece, traditional dresser and an antique desk to contrast against the painted blue walls.
Design by Debbie Matthews Antique & Design, LLC / Photo by Ruby and Peach Photo


Evoke 18th century intellectualism with an antique secretary desk. With their towering hutch and foldable, drop-leaf writing ledge, these desks look most natural when pushed up against a wall. Like secretary desks, rolltop desks are dignified, but their unique form still communicate a modern flair. Because both desks are space-efficient, they are perfect for those who want a work station in their study, but don’t need it to be the star of the show. If you prefer a study that feels more like a library, then opt for a modest antique desk.

Executive desks also make a strong, stately impression. Because of their imposing size, these desks anchor a classic study easily. Their statement-making form takes up ample space, in turn making your reading room feel more like a professional office.


Banish shadows when working or reading in a classic study with ample lighting. Designing a classic study means paying extra attention to your task lighting choices. Antique and vintage desk lamps and floor lamps ground spaces. Go for the iconic Banker’s lamp or stained glass fixtures for an added old-school flair.

Lead image: Design by Sheila Bridges Design, Inc. / Photo by Peter Estersohn


File Under

May 24, 2022

Chairish is the design lover's indispensable online source for chic and unique decor, art, furniture and home decorating inspiration. Shop our expert curation of exclusive and diverse inventory with 1,000+ new arrivals daily. Happy hunting!