It’s 2023, and working from home has never been easier or more essential. These days, a lot of folks work side gigs from their computers at night or on weekends, while almost everybody who can has adopted remote work schedules that have them in virtual offices more often than they’re in brick-and-mortar ones.
However, working from home isn’t always as idyllic as everyone believes. It’s hard to shut out all the distractions, and working on an old desk wedged into the corner of the spare room isn’t exactly conducive to your creativity or drive. You need a home office that’s really yours – and that means taking some definitive steps to make the space as cozy and comfortable as possible.
Here are some tips that can help you transform a dull or uncomfortable space into your perfect working environment:
Create a Single-Purpose Space
Home offices sometimes get treated like temporary dumping grounds for anything someone wants out of sight – so yours may be cluttered with stuff that should go to the thrift store or boxes full of holiday decorations.
If so, it’s time to get ruthless. Clear out everything that doesn’t belong in your space so that you can create the home office you actually want and need. Make sure that everybody you live with understands that your office is never to be used as temporary storage space.
Make Sure You Have Enough Outlets
By their very nature, modern offices tend to have a lot of things that require an outlet – and you don’t want to constantly have to unplug a lamp to plug in the printer.
Take a good look around your space. If you’ve been maxing out a power cord to try to manage all the electronics and other items that you need to keep plugged in, it may be time to call an electrician and get some upgrades.
Pay Attention to the Lighting
The lighting in your workspace affects both your comfort level and your ability to function. Ideally, you want a home office that has plenty of windows where you can get natural light in addition to whatever artificial light you use, but that’s not always practical.
In any case, consider whether recessed lighting around your desk would be easier on your eyes during a long day of work, and feel free to mix lamps with overhead lights to get lighting that is bright enough to be functional without making you feel like you’re in an industrial setting.
Consider a Change of Color
Color can affect your mood and your productivity levels – and you know yourself the best. While some people feel off-the-wall energy levels working in a brightly colored room, others may find bold, vivid colors distracting or oppressive.
Fortunately, there are a lot of “new neutrals” that are very trendy, like the rosy “Redend Point” or the rustic green-gray of “Evergreen Fog” by Sherwin-Williams. The important thing is that you choose a color scheme that makes you feel alert, focused and happy.
Opt for the Best Furniture
You don’t have to break the bank, but you should be willing to invest some money into your office furniture – rather than cobbling together whatever you can find in the basement or the nearest thrift store.
Ditch the spare chair you hauled away from the dining room and get an ergonomic chair that will properly support your lower back and arms, and consider a flexible workstation that allows you to move from sitting to standing with ease.
If you have a problem staying organized, spring for the shelves and filing cabinets you need. Unless you only see yourself working at home for a very short time, the investment in your health and productivity is worth it.
Add Decorative Touches
Once you have the main space free of clutter, repainted and furnished appropriately, you can turn your attention to the fun part of home office decor: the personal touches.
If you don’t know where to start, we definitely have ideas, including:
- Look for a great rug. A rug with a pleasing pattern in the right colors can tie your workspace together and keep your feet warm at the same time.
- Hang a few pieces of art. Whether you like big, bold paintings or want a gallery wall filled with smaller prints, you want to add something to your space that you find beautiful and interesting.
- Add a few plants. Surrounding yourself with a few pieces of indoor greenery can improve your mood, improve the air you breathe and make your space feel more grounded.
- Add playful elements. A touch of whimsy can make your home office seem…well, “homier.” Get a clock with the numbers all mixed up or a Bob Ross chia pet, or anything else that just makes you smile because it’s a little silly.
Again, you do want to be selective. While some people are comfortable with a maximalist decor style, many would find that distracting in a home office. Aim for a clutter-free space where everything was chosen to be there for a reason – but you also want a space that’s reflective of your personality.
You’re ultimately trying to strike a balance here. Somewhere between “so impersonal you might as well be in a government office” and “so cozy that you keep falling asleep” there’s a combo of colors, furniture and decor that will help you be your best at work – and your happiest when you’re just relaxing at home.