Whether you want your home office to be a designated space to work from home, run your business, or simply organize your taxes and bills, you should have more than just a desk shoved against a wall in a cramped room.
According to surveys, people who work from home work an average of around 47 hours per week. When you consider that most people spend 7-8 hours sleeping, working 47 hours per week means we are spending as much time in our beds as at our desks.
Creating a designated space for your home office that’s both beautiful and functional is vital if you work from home. A well-appointed home office doesn’t just boost productivity; it also helps separate our work from our life at home.
Your home office should be a pleasant space you’ll enjoy spending time in. In fact, you should put as much consideration into your home office’s design as the rest of your home.
Here’s how to create a beautiful home office that’s functional, too:
Prioritize Form and Function
Your storage, shelves, and desk need to work for you – you shouldn’t find yourself working around them. Before choosing furniture for your home office, consider the essentials to support your workflow. Once you’ve determined what furniture you need, select pieces that are both practical and aesthetically pleasing.
The furniture in your home office should match the pieces in the rest of your home. Rather than opting for a sterile and soulless office aesthetic, choose furniture that compliments your home’s décor. If the rest of your home was designed with a traditional aesthetic, choose warm wood and an overstuffed couch (if you have the space). If your home has a modern aesthetic, choose modern pieces of furniture or artistic pieces.
Consider the Location
As you’ll probably be spending around a third of your life in your home office, don’t skimp on space – for instance, don’t squash a desk into an unused space without windows to preserve an underutilized third bedroom.
Another thing to consider is how much traffic the area receives and how easily you are distracted. Consider whether you want to be in the center of activity or tucked away in a quiet corner of the house. If you’ll receive clients in your home office, ensure there is enough seating.
Invest in a Comfortable Office Chair
Because you’ll be spending so many hours sitting in your office chair, you should make sure it’s not just pretty to look at – it needs to be ergonomic and comfortable as well.
Your chair is the most crucial piece of furniture in your home office, so make sure it is adjustable and gives your back the proper support. The height, viewing, and typing angles for working on a computer can significantly affect your wellbeing.
Using the incorrect chair can cause conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, neck and back pain, and chronic joint aches – so choose the right office chair.
Choose Your Wall Color Carefully
Avoid the neutral ‘office’ shades of beige. You should pick a color for your walls that will energize you and enliven the room. Some people like bright and cheery shades of lime green, yellow, or orange, while others enjoy a soothing shade of sea green or lavender to perform at their best.
If you don’t like the idea of going all-out with color on your walls, introduce your favorite shades in smaller areas – like art prints and colorful accessories – to introduce a pop of color.
Have a View
Even if you love the color of your walls, you don’t want to stare at them all day. Place your desk somewhere you have something interesting to look at when you’re giving your eyes a break from the computer screen.
Ideally, your desk should be positioned in front of a window – but if the room doesn’t have any, try to create visual interest by adding a print or some green houseplants to the space. If that won’t work, at least have your desk facing the door.
Curate Your Accessories
Unless you’re aiming for a sleek or modern look, add personal accessories that add a comforting, homely aesthetic to your home office space. These could be a pretty pencil holder, colorful notepads and diaries, or an aesthetically pleasing wastepaper basket – the aim is to make your office feel like home.
If you have utilitarian shelves and filing cabinets, hide them under some gorgeous textured fabric. You can also hang personal artwork or your children’s paintings on the walls.
Make Use of Horizontal and Vertical Space
Because the average home office doesn’t have the luxury of a lot of space, efficiently using the area you do have is essential.
To utilize your vertical space more efficiently, hang floating shelves on the walls to provide more space for all the items currently sitting on your desk. Vertical file folders on your desk will keep all your essential paperwork within easy reach.
If you like to stack your paperwork into piles, use a nice-looking basket to keep all your files in. If you prefer to keep your desk clear and file everything away, use a drawer to store your to-do items. Metal or wooden cube storage units can be used as bookshelves or a display area for knickknacks and other odds-and-ends.
Organize Your Cables
While there isn’t much you can do about the aesthetic of your computer and phone equipment; you can do something about all those untidy cords.
When planning your home office, consider the placement of your electronics. Position your equipment near the electrical outlet, hide the cords with fabric cord covers and thread them neatly into your desk grommets. The cables lying on the floor can be tidied by cord winders, wore organizers, and tubing.
Consider the Lighting
To reduce eye strain and headaches while working on the computer, ensure your home office has enough light. Natural light from a window is best – but if it’s not adequate, be sure to install enough light fittings.
Position your computer away from windows to minimize glare, and buy a small desk lamp for focused task lighting.