Are you one of the growing number of people working from home? Surprisingly as of summer 2020, twice as many people are working from home as at a workplace.
Even when employees transition back to an office, it’s likely they’ll only be spending 1-3 days there instead of 5. Which means your home office could definitely be worth upgrading.
We might underestimate how important a dedicated work desk is, but think about all those hours you spend at a computer. There’s no reason to put up with an uncomfortable dining chair or a skimpy side table for a desk anymore.
Despite what you see on Instagram, working remotely doesn’t usually happen poolside. For a functional home workplace, you really need a dedicated desk and a chair along as well as little extra space to get organized.
As a bonus don’t you want your home office to look nice? Even when you’ve had to carve out space to squeeze it in, it should still be a source of pride.
How to Make a Home Office Look Nice
Use the same principles for designing and creating your home office space as you would for any other important room in the house. Think of it less as an office and more as an extension of your personality and style.
1. Dedicate a room or corner for your office space
You deserve a dedicated space to work in – not at the dining room table. Or your bedroom. First step to style a home office is create space for it. That;s great if you have an office already or an extra room but what if you don’t?
Can you repurpose one of these rooms into an office?
- GUEST BEDROOM – Swap a standard bed for one of these storage beds or a pull out sofa. Take the bed out of the bedroom and turn it into a seating area for your office instead. Change the color scheme and decor to a more sophisticated vibe by changing any frills and florals to a more tailored look.
- DINING ROOM – Do you have a dining room that only gets used at holidays? How about changing out a large table to a smaller one with extensions. You’ll still have room for large family gatherings but meanwhile you can use the extra space to carve out a home office.
2. Style a home office with color
Don’t underestimate the power of color to make your home office feel like a place you want to spend time in.
Pick 2 main colors and one or two accent colors. If your office is in a shared space like a dining room, work with the colors already in the room, but don’t be afraid to change or add a new accent color to make your work space “you”.
Color really affects our mood. Ditch the dark trendy shades and choose lighter colors to calm and relax you while you’re working. Blues, greens, lilac, warm gray will be calming. Warmer colors like gold, tan and pink will feel warm and inviting.
By keeping your palette to 2-3 colors you’ll keep your space from feeling cluttered and busy. Doesn’t mean it’s going to be boring, especially if you use small scale patterns to break up color and to add some
3. Buy furniture for your office, not office furniture
I’m not a fan of “office” furniture. Traditional office furniture is made to stand up to years of neglect, your home office isn’t going to take the same beating. Why not choose a desk/chair combo that’s beautiful and functional?
Yes you want it to be functional as heck, but it needs to look good too. Think of your home office like a refrigerator hidden behind a custom panel door. It still functions like a fridge but it looks good too.
The best furniture for your home office is comfortable and stylish with a functional twist, one that wouldn’t look out of place in your living room. Like this one from World Market.
4. Treat It Like the Living Room
Any furnishings you choose for your home office could potentially be equally at home in your living spaces (see above). Love mid century modern or French country? Look for furnishings that echo that style and don’t shout “I’m office furniture”.
In fact flip online through pages of living room furniture and you’re bound to find some that will work very well in your home office. Bookcases, etageres, console tables and side chairs to get started. One of my favorite pieces is this Everett console table from World Market too. I placed it behind my campaign desk and and stacked boxes of samples on the bottom shelf, a lamp and a few globes on the top.There’s even two drawers for storing papers and whatnot.
I decided I wanted a side chair to decorate my small home office so that my BF had somewhere to sit while visiting. It felt like the Dr. will see you now, ha ha. With someone sitting facing my desk I was definitely in the power position! This adorable side chair is just the right size and so chic!
Oh and by the way, from a feng shui perspective ideally you’re facing the door to your office while sitting at your desk. Now that’s the power position!
5. Desk Size Matters
Since most of us working from home do the majority of our work online, our desk really only needs to support a laptop or desktop computer. Of course you’ll want a drawer or two for files, pens and cords.
Measure your current workspace and decide what works and what doesn’t. A longer narrower desk is usually more functional than a deep one.
I love this campaign desk I found on World Market. Just the right size with a central drawer and two side “shelves” for extra desktop space.
IKEA also makes some flexible solutions, from standing desks (not a fan) to “portable” desks. I’m tempted by the idea of a making a long desktop using these sturdy trestles in several finishes as a base. The beauty of these trestles is they’re slightly adjustable.
They allow you to move your desk top up and down within a few inches. A plus is the whole set up is easy to break down and move if the need arises. The only downside to this solution is lack of drawers but that’s easily fixed with a small set of drawers like the ones below.
One of my ongoing concerns is having my desk at the right height. Something to think about. If you’re trying to work from a surface that’s too high or too low for keyboard work, your body and neck may get cramped and stiff.
6. Speaking of Chairs
Do you need an adjustable office chair?
My answer is going to be emphatically YES. Along with desk height, the ability to adjust the height of your desk chair adds real comfort and functionality to your work space. You deserve it!
Your desk chair can look good and be comfortable. This classy leather swivel chair has the new matte gold finish and a choice of two colors of leather. Buying an office chair isn’t the time to scrimp. Remember those 8 hours a day you’re going to spend sitting on it?
What about this leather and wood mid century modern office chair? I personally wouldn’t even consider a chair that wasn’t padded. Your sacrum and glutes need proper support. The perfect chair should help support your spine, neck and arms while you’re working at your desk.
7. Organize like a Ninja
It’s amazing how in our paperless world, paper still manifests itself all over our desk space. Or is that just me?
My secret power is blank ruled notebooks. It’s where I sketch, take notes from a Youtube sesh and generally keep track of my thoughts. I usually have a couple stacked on my desk.
Then there’s the other paper that creeps into our lives like jury duty notices and junk mail.
The key to style a home office is find a place for that paper and clutter. Keep it out of sight.
Take a good inventory of what you’ll be storing or organizing on an ongoing basis and buy a storage solution for it.
As mail comes in, temporarily file it by putting it in your “in-tray”.
Once you’ve dealt with it, have a place to put it away. IKEA is the go to for storage baskets and the shelves to stack them on. Start with a few legal size boxes. The key is to have them all match. The ones with a tag on the the front so you know exactly where your stuff is are the best.
Keep clutter clear by having a designated space for everything. Only keep what you use daily on top of your desk if you can. I found this little chest is perfect for stashing things like paper clips, labels, cords and notebooks.
Storage helps keep us organized and being organized is the key to having a classy home office.
8. Accessories Put the Home in Home Office
This is my favorite part of decorating a home work space, because accessories are the condiments of home decor.
Just as your favorite hot dog tastes better with a little mustard and relish, your office space looks better with a few accessories that say “this is who I really am”.
Once you’ve got the basics installed, it’s time to personalize your office and make it yours. How about a gallery wall with photos of loved ones and favorite places. Style a bookcase with travel souvenirs or faux plants.
Stack your storage boxes on the bottom and your globe collection on top – that’s what I did.
Add a mural or artwork to the walls. This is where you can display the art that makes you smile.
Rugs can bring warmth, comfort and pattern to your office even when layered over a carpet.
Don’t forget lighting. You need a good desk lamp for those late nights and one or two extra lighting sources to keep your office a light bright space to work in even on gloomy days.