By now, if you have a home office, you’ve probably been spending a lot of time there over the last two years.
Many jobs have begun offering their staff the opportunity to work remotely at least on a part-time basis, which for many in the corporate world means they've been well-accustomed to the sight of their home office lately. If this applies to you, hopefully by now you’ve got a decent setup figured out. At first you may have started out by just using a laptop at the kitchen table, or maybe you were lucky enough to already have a second room to give over to an office.
Either way this work from home concept is not new, and there has been plenty of time to get that second monitor and work-approved laptop dock set up. But even if your home office is productive, is it at all…comfortable? There’s a big difference between the two, and even if your home office setup lets you get through a whole workday, it might not exactly be your favorite room to spend time in. If your home office needs a little sprucing up, whether to keep it comfortable to work in or just a little easier on the eyes, here’s a few easy and affordable ways to keep your home office cozy and stylish.
Decluttering to Personalize
The idea of “decluttering” can stress a lot of people out, as they remember those Marie Kondo videos on Netflix telling them they had to throw all their old books away. When it comes to making your home office a little more comfortable, decluttering just means placing a priority on everything you actually need to work, rearranging the stuff you don’t, and personalizing the whole space a bit more.
Start by taking everything off your desk and reviewing it - does that pen still have ink? Are you still going to need that paperwork? Do you still even own the printer that came with this instruction manual? Get rid of everything that isn’t helping you through the workday anymore, and set up a desk organizer to keep everything else neat and tidy - places like Bulk Office Supply or Shelving Inc have a variety of options available. Most importantly, make sure all of your paper work is in order too. Once you’ve gotten it all organized, you then have a lot more free reign to decorate or re-arrange the space to make it work better for you, instead of just going with how you remember your desk looking at the office. (Go ahead and put a few toys and framed pictures on your desk if it makes you happy - we all do it!)
A lot of people don’t consider the quality of light that they get during the workday, but getting more sunlight than usual can do wonders for your eyesight, mental well-being, and overall health. Instead of shutting yourself in to block off all light with the same blinds you had back at the office, switch to curtains that can let you better control the amount of sunlight coming in, and make the whole room a little softer overall. Make sure they’re a more durable fabric that will be easy for you to maintain. Theres nothing wrong with adding a touch of style, too!
Plush (but practical) Textiles
The issue a lot of home offices suffer from is a real lack of softness. Even for homes, a lot of office furniture is designed to give off a more harsh and ‘professional’ look. It’s tough enough to deal with that sort of look when you’re actually in the office, so why put yourself through it at home? As space allows, add some more fabrics and blended textiles throughout your home office to soften the edges a bit and make it more comfortable to be in. Toss some throw pillows on an unused side chair, drape a blanket over your office chair (or even the edges of your desk to keep you warm while you’re sitting there), or hang up a tapestry in an unused corner to breakup the texture of the wall a little more. This can apply to more ‘practical’ concerns as well - by getting a more plush, comfortable office chair you can work a little better and get further away from an overly sterile work environment. Boss offers some affordable options that can still help you get away from the ‘too plastic’ look.
Greenery or natural materials
Whether at home or in the office, the one thing we can all agree on is that offices tend to look a little…bland and sterile without the right touches.
A quick way to change this is with the addition of some more natural-looking colors and materials. Potted plants, whether hanging or desk-bound, are a quick way to add a little more natural look to an office that might feel a little too bland and indoors-y.
Not the green-thumb type? If you want a little more natural, woodsy look to your office, you could consider changing the materials used for the furniture in your home office. Replace your metal desk or shelves with something made of wood, preferably stained or lightly painted, to help break up the plastic-and-metal monotony of most home offices.
Rugs on the floor
Alright, so we’ve done a lot of work on the walls and tables - but what a lot of people overlook in their own offices is the floor. The right tapestry or rug can really add a new look (and additional layer of comfort) to any home office, even one that’s already carpeted. Grab a few tapestries or floor rugs from your favorite store or designer, or look for deals online for area rugs.
Conceal the Mess
Finally, anyone who’s had to set up their own home office knows how cluttered they can be just by setting up everything you need to use. Things like cables, power strips, and phone chargers can all create a lot of visual clutter if left unchecked, and finding ways to conceal them can actually do a lot for the look of your office.
There’s a few ways to do this, all depending on the layout of your home office and how many devices you have plugged in. A fast way to get cable clutter under control is to use dark-colored zip-ties to bind cables to the legs of your desk or table, so you always know what’s plugged into where and can avoid tangles. Power strips can be mounted with Velcro or screws onto the walls of your office or the underside of your desk to keep them accessible and out of the way. A decorative basket near your desk could be a great way to store temporary-use cords like phone chargers or USB connectors until you need them again, so they’re not always plugged in and in the way.
One way or another, hopefully a few of these ideas can help you get your home office that much more comfortable - and productive - for however long these days of remote work last!
About The Author:
Tim Allen is a freelance writer from outside Detroit who specializes in topics ranging from space design and business planning to more fun subjects like consumer electronics and pop culture. In his spare time, he plays guitar, learns new vegetarian recipes, and leaves the major household decisions up to his cat Charlie