How to Create a Fun and Functional Home Office
Learn how to set up an organized space you'll actually want to work in.
For as a\wonderful as working from home may be, staying motivated in your place of comfort can be difficult. That's why it's so important to create a home office space that keeps you inspired throughout the day. "Designing a home office is about inspiring the person who will be working within the space," says Caroline Grant of Dekar Design. "It should be a place that they actually want to spend eight hours a day in."
Paint color is always a good place to start. "We always suggest painting a home office in an energizing color, other than beige or white," adds Dolores Suarez, also of Dekar Design. "The color of your office can affect your mood and creativity."
Once you've settled on a color palette, the next step to forging a fun and functional home office is picking out practical furniture pieces. "Always consider your workflow and what you will need in the space before deciding on furniture," says Grant. "An eye-catching lounge chair might look nice but how much is it going to help your productivity?"
After you've decided on furniture, it's time to dress up the workspace with décor items that will help keep you organized and engaged. "The best part of decorating a home office is that you can make it as efficient for you as possible," says Suarez. "Layer in your favorite colors, install an accent wall with floating shelves, or add wallpaper. Just don't forget to invest in organizational accessories to keep the area clean and free of clutter—your mind needs some space to breathe, too."
Searching for more ways to forge a savvy and stylish home office? Here are several ideas that will turn your home office into a more productive place in no time.
Decorate Your Desk Supplies
Fall is coming, and whatever that means for your work setup, we have a way to give it some joie de vivre. Simply cover recycled metal cans or glass vases with romantic French-toile fabric in a few pretty patterns, and drop in your daily tools. Easy organization and inspiration? Now that's a coup.
Earn a Corner Desk
Land the coveted corner office right at home—even if it occupies only a couple of square feet in the kitchen. This nook was custom-made, but you can replicate it by mounting a small floating shelf or made-to-measure surface on the wall, then adding a curvy wooden shelf bracket or two, painted to match. The decorative detail gives it the look of built-in cabinetry and lends stylish shoring. Tuck a stool underneath to complete your mini-but-mighty command station.
Shop Now: Benjamin Moore Paint, in Harwood Putty (on desk and bracket), benjaminmoore.com.
Get a Grid
To keep your desktop uncluttered, hang supplies and folders from hooks and clips on an easy access grid. It provides a stylish place to hang folders, tools, and other office supplies—without taking up precious square footage on your desk itself. If the look is too exposed for you, hang shelves and stash your supplies in stylish boxes.
Energize your home office by integrating some vibrant paint, colorful textiles, and décor accents into your space. Doing so helps to create an uplifting area you'll actually want to work in.
Make It a Room with a View
A good view goes a long way in an at-home workspace. Take a cue from Martha Stewart's home office in Bedford, New York, and position your desk so it faces a window so that you can work in natural light; doing so has been linked to improved mood, alertness, and even metabolism. No window? Use LED bulbs that mimic daylight and take frequent outdoor breaks.
Personalize the Space
Why settle for a blank wall or sterile workspace when you can hang art and some of your favorite photos to help you stay inspired throughout the day? Human accents (a beloved painting, a beach-stone-turned-paperweight) take the 9-to-5 edge off by making you feel more comfortable and therefore less anxious.
Carve Out an Office Nook
If you don't think you have the space for a proper home office, think again: Even the tiniest sliver of wall space can be transformed into a bonafide office nook with nothing more than a petite desk and a floating storage rack. This super small home workspace is proof.
Pick Stylish Desk Accessories
Make a Mini Office-in-a-Basket
When all else fails, you can always count on a solid filing system to keep your home office organized in a pinch. Convert just about any old trunk or chest into a streamlined mini office with not much more than some cork, filing folders, and a cutlery tray. If you have even less space, a wicker basket is a chic way to store (and hide) paperwork.
Create an Ergonomically Sound Workstation
If you aren't already hip to the power of ergonomics, then now's the time to learn all about it. Designed to improve comfort, health, and productivity, an ergonomically correct workstation can help protect your spine, back, neck, shoulders, and wrists from unnecessary strain. The first thing to do is adjust your chair so your feet are flat on the floor and your shoulders are relaxed when your arms are on the armrests. "Also keep your head centered and balanced over your shoulders for added comfort and reduced strain," says Jon Paulson, certified professional ergonomist and CEO of UPLIFT Desk. Next, place the monitor an arm's length in front of you, with the screen's top at eye level. "If your head is pulled forward off the shoulders it usually means your monitor is too far away," Paulson says. To avoid wrist paint, keep your wrists straight while mousing and typing to avoid over extension. "You may need to raise your chair or install a pull-out keyboard tray, which has back tilt adjustment to help keep your wrists perfectly straight," advises the expert. And finally consider a standing desk. "Standing desks are becoming the standard of an ergonomic office because they get you moving a bit more throughout the day (for improved blood flow), and they allow you to stand and sit at the perfect ergonomic height," Paulson says.