Whether you’ve always worked from home or like countless others this year, you’ve had no choice but to make the transition to telecommuting, having a designated spot in your house that’s solely dedicated to work is so important.
Your living room sofa or dining room table isn’t exactly conducive to a healthy work environment; not only are there far too many distractions (kids running around, the temptation of turning on the TV, etc.), but it also isn’t good for your physical health (slouching on a couch or slumping over a dining room table will certainly lead to aches and pains).
If you want to be as productive as possible, creating a specific area in your house that’s devoted to work is an absolute must.
If you have a spare room, that’s obviously the ideal choice for your home-based office, but even if you don’t, that doesn’t mean the couch or dining room table are your or only options; you can transform a quite area (a quiet corner or even a closet) into a workspace.
Whether you’re working with an entire room or a small corner, when your home is your office, you need to make some adjustments so that you can maximize your productivity.
From lighting tips to storage ideas, below, you’ll find a collection of home office décor tips and ideas that will help you maximize the space and help you create a productive work-from-home environment.
Create an Accent Wall
No matter how much square footage you’re working with, an accent wall can do wonders for your home office setting. It will anchor a large room and separate a corner to delineate your work space.
It also helps to create some coziness and will enhance the visual appeal of your home office.
A bold paint color, wallpaper with an interesting print, shiplap panels, stone veneer, an oversized mirror, a hand-painted mural; there are so many different ways that you can create an accent wall.
However you decide to create it, an accent wall will serve as a focal point that will ground your home office.
Make an Inspiration Wall
An inspiration wall is similar to an accent wall; however, instead of being purely decorative, the purpose of this wall (as the name suggests) is to inspire!
Use cork to turn a wall into an oversized, functional cork board that you can use to display inspirational ideas.
For example, you could hang a calendar, project ideas, quotes, photos, and various other ideas that you can use to keep you motivated. You can change out the materials on the wall as needed.
You can use individual cork panels or rolled cork; either way, an inspiration wall is quick and easy to create, and it will certainly add another dimension to your home office and help to keep you on track.
Bring in Some Shelving
Storage is an absolute must in an office, and shelving is one of the easiest ways to create storage space. There are various types of shelving units to choose from, including stand-alone wall units, floating, fixed-bracket, built-in, hanging, corner, angular, and rotating are just some of the options to consider.
You can use them to store important documents, books, folders, office accessories, and decorative elements.
When determining which type of shelves to use, consider the space you’re working with, as well as the look you want to create.
For example, if you have a lot of space and you’re aiming for a traditional style, built-in or large stand-alone shelves with clean lines would work well; while natural wood shelves with iron brackets would be an ideal choice to create a rustic design in a small area.
Create a Closet Workstation
If you don’t have a separate room or even an unused corner that you can use as an office, you can transform a closet into a home work station. A walk-in closet would be great, but even a small coat or linen closet would do the trick.
To create this clever workstation, start by clearing out the closet. Next, create a focal or inspirational wall (the wall that you will be facing will work best).
If there’s enough space, you can bring in a stand-alone desk, but if it’s small, you could easily install a floating shelf and use it as a work surface.
Hang some shelves on the side walls, bring in some lighting, your office equipment and a comfy chair, and voila! – You’ll have a functional office space where you’ll be able to stay organized and focus on work-related tasks. The best part is that when you’re finished for the day, you can close the door to separate work from your home life.
Section-Off a Large Room
If you have an open floorplan, divide the space to create a home office. Use a partition, such as curtains hung from the ceiling or a moveable wall panel, to separate the space you plan on working in from the rest of the room.
On the side that will serve as your home office, add all of the elements that you’ll need to get your job done; a desk, a comfortable chair, shelving, lighting, and office equipment.
Don’t forget to add some decorative elements, too, to make the space cozy and inspiring. When you need to “close the door”, just pull the partition over and you’ll be able to work without distraction.
Wrangle Those Cords
While a computer, modem, printer, and various other gadgets certainly make working from home a lot easier, the do pose a problem: cords.
All of the cords that you need to connect and power those devices can become a jumbled up, tangled up mess that isn’t just unsightly; it can also be dangerous.
With a few easy fixes, you can keep those cords out of sight, reduce the risk of tripping, and keep your office space neat and tidy.
One option is to make a home in the back of your desk, gather all of the cords together and use a zip tie to secure them, then slip the cords through the hole and plug them into the power outlet. Another option is to mount a power strip onto the back or the side of your desk.
Plug your devices in and then use hooks to secure any loose wires to the desk so that they’re tucked out of sight. Something as simple as wrangling power cords can really make a huge difference in regard to the function and the aesthetic appeal of your home office.
A Desk and Chair are Musts
Lounging across a couch or reclining in an oversized arm chair might seem like a perk of working from home, but as any experienced work-at-home professional and they’ll tell you what a bad idea that set up is.
It can lead to back, neck, and shoulder pain, as well as headaches; not to mention the fact that it’s difficult to stay organized when your stuff is scattered about and even harder to focus when you’re lying down with a laptop perched up on top of a pillow.
If you want to make the most of working from home, you really do need to have a desk and chair. Not only will this setup increase your productivity, but it will help to keep your physical and mental health in-check.
While you can certainly use a manufactured desk, there are several other ways that you can create a dedicated work surface. For example, you could turn an old table into a desk, or install a large, sturdy floating shelf on a wall.
If you have to use a common area for your office, such as a kitchen or dining room, consider installing a foldable, wall-hanging desk. Pull it down and set your gear up when you need to work and put your supplies away and fold it up when you’re finished for the day.
As long as the surface is stable and offers enough room to accommodate all of your supplies – and you can sit behind it, of course – you can use whatever suits your taste and the space as a desk.
As for a seating, an ergonomic chair is your best bet. It doesn’t have to be one of those bland chairs; there are dozens of stylish ergonomic chairs to choose from. You could even nix the standard chair and use an ergonomic balance-ball seat.
Maximize Vertical Space
Even if you’re working with the most compact area, you can make it look and feel a lot bigger than it actually is by taking advantage of the vertical space.
Install floor-to-ceiling floating or bracket shelves, or place tall individual shelving units up against the walls. Use the shelves for storage, as well as to display decorative items, such as family photos, inspiring quotes, or knickknacks that you’ve picked up on your travels.
Hang an oversized picture that stretches from the ceiling to the floor on a wall. Get creative!
Use the whole height of the walls to create a one-of-a-kind, practical, and aesthetically pleasing workspace.
Make It Your Own
Your home office is just that; your own! You don’t have to comply with the rules and regulations that you may have to abide by in a commercial setting. Choose a design that speaks to your style to make it a space that you’ll actually enjoy spending time in.
To create a cohesive look, an important quality in an office setting, considering choosing a theme or a specific style for your work space. If you’re using an individual room as your home office, you can use any theme that speaks to your fancy; rustic, modern, contemporary, traditional, vintage, etc.
Use a style that ties in with the décor in the rest of your home, or base the design on something that’s totally different from every other room in your house. The choice really is yours!
If your home office is in a shared space – the corner of a kitchen, living room, or dining room, for instance – your best bet is to keep with the design of the rest of the room; however, you can add a bit of a twist to make it your own space.
For instance, you could use molding to frame out the portion of the wall that will serve as the foundation for your work space, and paint the interior of the framed area a different color than the rest of the wall, or cover it with wall paper.
Illuminate the Space
It’s no secret that in order to perform well at work, proper lighting is an absolute must. Inefficient lighting not only makes it difficult to stay focused, but it can also lead to eye strain, which can cause a number of issues, including tension headaches and vision problems.
That’s why commercial offices usually feature track fluorescent lighting. While this type of lighting is efficient, it’s stark and can kind of make you feel like you’re working in an operating room.
When it comes to your home office, lighting is crucial, but you can get creative with it (unless you like fluorescent track lighting, that is). Try to maximize natural lighting as much as possible.
If your space allows, position your desk so that it’s near a window so you can take advantage of the sunlight; you’ll be able to see clearly and that vitamin D will help to elevate your mood. If you don’t have a lot of natural light to work with – or even if you do – you’ll need to supplement with artificial lighting.
Install an attractive chandelier for overhead lighting, as well as task lighting, such as strategically positioned pot lamps, to properly illuminate key areas. Desk lamps and under-cabinet lighting can also be useful.
Summing It Up
Working from home was once considered a luxury, but in today’s day and age, it’s become a necessity for many. In order to make the most of your work-at-home environment, you really need to establish a control center.
With the tips recommended above, you can create a functional and visually pleasing home office.