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Whether you find yourself suddenly working from home because of Coronavirus or simply just want to, you are probably googling “home office design” or surfing Pinterest for much of the same! A lot of us are working from home right now to do our part to slow the transmission of this pandemic, and it can be super tough.
Last year, I wrote about why a home office was essential to ensuring success when working from home, so rather than repeat that, we’re going to focus on the design element this week because I love this part!
In this week’s blog post, we are going to cover:
- My favorite furniture ideas;
- Simple, but powerful organizational ideas; and
- Important considerations for a home office location, whether temporary or permanent.
So let’s get started shall we?
Dreamy Furniture Ideas
Furniture can really and truly make or break a home office. True, if you’re mainly looking for temporary ideas, this furniture section probably won’t apply to you. However, if you are looking to set some design goals for the future, I thought I’d share some of mine.
Currently, I do not have a permanent home office set up (it’s just not feasible in my current living situation). Still, I have managed to set aside a semi-permanent workspace in the main dining room, which does not get used frequently.
Start With A Desk
You’re going to need a desk. If you’re working from home in any online capacity, you’re going to be doing some typing – it’s 100% inescapable! No matter whether your office set up is temporary or permanent, make sure it’s a place where you can spend hours happily typing away.
Here are some of the desks that I would love to have.
L-Shaped Desk With Hutch
Wayfair.ca is my favorite place to window shop online. They have so many unique finds, and this desk is no exception. I love l-shaped desks, and I love this desk because of the grey accents, I like desks that are mostly one color with another accented in. Black and grey also will go with pretty much any type of decor, so if and when I decide to change my look in my home office, I likely will not have to change my desk.
Reversible U-Shaped Desk
I love desks that are flexible and reconfigurable. This desk can be found on Wayfair (prepare yourself, I spend a lot of time browsing that site – sorry, not sorry) and it’s beautiful. You can select a few options with this pretty option too, which is nice.
I love the farmhouse style of this desk from Ashley Furniture. It also has a neat option to raise the center part so it can allow you to stand while working, which can be helpful.
I freaking love Ikea, and it’s just a shame there isn’t a showroom near me. You can buy a ready to assemble desk, or you can highly customize your desk options using their Table Bar system, which is super cool! Fair warning, you can waste a lot of time using their planner!
Don’t Neglect The Chair
In addition to picking a work surface that doesn’t hinder your workflow, you need a comfortable chair. The last thing you need is bad posture or back problems because your chair SUCKS.
Ultimately, you want to be able to sit up straight and not slouch too much. Your back will thank you profusely!
Like my desk fantasies, I have some chair dreams, allow me to share them with you…
Sherwin Mesh Task Chair (Wayfair)
I love Wayfair.ca, they have so many stylish options for your home, fair warning though, you could fall down a bit of a rabbit hole. I love this particular chair because it’s got a mesh back and it’s purple (which is one of my favorite colors). Mesh backs are helpful due to their ventilation, it’s easier to keep you comfortable if you have good airflow, as slick as a leather chair might look, it’s not very breathable!
Malek Mesh Task Chair (Wayfair)
Yep, another purple chair, I promise the last one! This chair is slightly more souped-up than the last one (with a corresponding price jump). There are a bit more ergonomic features to this chair as well, which can be important when picking a piece that you’ll be sitting on for a while.
FurnitureR Mesh Office Chair Mid-back Swiel Chair
You can find this beautiful chair at Wal-mart for a reasonably economical price. Again, it’s a mesh back, I had one of these at my office job, and it was one of the few things I loved about working in an office. Yes, this has a purple option, but I also am kinda liking the pink too.
When working from home, it’s essential to find ways to keep everything organized. It’s already incredibly easy to be distracted at home, so it’s important to set yourself up for success. I’ve found you a mix of temporary and more permanent DIY solutions to this.
Use Your Walls
You have your desk set up, and you can easily add more storage options by hanging a shelf directly behind or beside. You can also look at unique storage options like hanging mason jars to hold your pens, pencils, and other office supplies like Lil’ Luna suggests. There’s loads of other useful advice in the article too.
In my last home office post, I talked about using chalkboard paint to create a blackboard file cabinet, instead of that, you can buy some inexpensive chalkboard tape and attach it right to your desk. You can even get creative with it, with geometric shapes, as Sugar and Cloth suggests! I can think of numerous patterns to cut out with it and secure it to your desk, then all you need is a chalkboard marker – an instant to-do list!
Organize Your Space Into Three Areas
Most desk organization articles you’ll find tend to suggest this, at least most of the ones I’ve read. You want to organize your space into three areas:
- Work – where you do your work, keep it clutter-free
- Reference – where you store your manuals and other reference material
- Supplies – where you keep your office supplies
It doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to be in three different areas of the room; it can even be separated on your desk. For example, your drawers are your supplies, your desktop is the work area, and a nearby shelf unit can be your reference spot.
Use Drawer Dividers
You can find inexpensive acrylic or cardboard dividers at most dollar stores (I’ve even seen some people use a muffin tin), or you can DIY your own super cute version using this tutorial from iHeart Organizing. I love the idea of adding fresh colors to your organization routine.
Other Important Considerations
In addition to the basics like furniture and organizational items, I have a few more things you’ll want to consider when setting up your very own office in your home.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
You may wish to avoid working in a situation where you are bathed in sunlight. Sunlight is great, but having it beat down on you, even inside an office, can be annoying. Plus, if it shines on your laptop, you may have trouble seeing what you’re supposed to be working on. You can choose a sunny room, but make sure your workspace isn’t directly in the sunbeams.
My workspace window has a lot of natural light, although it faces north. I get heaps of natural light, and I find it often inspires me to take a break on occasion and go for a walk.
Think About Scent
There are loads of scientific studies invested into the effects of smell on productivity. Most aromatherapy sites indicate that scents like peppermint, citrus, or even lavender can boost your focus and make you more productive.
My secret weapon for fighting writer’s block is a steaming cup of peppermint tea. In addition to tasting delicious, the scent wafting up from the steaming cup seems to unlock whatever’s preventing me from finishing another blog post or another scene in a novel!
Sound Also Can Make Or Break You
Also, spend some time thinking about the sounds you might be subjected to in your office. Near the laundry room can disrupt your routine. I chose an area of my house that’s relatively low traffic, but I’ve also invested in some good noise-canceling headphones. It definitely helps.
Think About Color
If you are thinking about more permanent terms, you may want to decide to paint your work area. Painting is not difficult to do, but it does take a bit of time, and it can be quite exhausting. In light of this, I recommend that you spend some time thinking about the color of your walls. The last thing you want to be doing is getting caught in an endless cycle of painting.
I like lighter colors for an office. I find they inspire positive thoughts and focus. However, everyone is different. Blue is generally thought to be the best calming color, but according to this article from Payscale, green may actually help you work longer and more efficiently.
Final Thoughts On Home Office Design
Working from home doesn’t have to be a productivity struggle. With simple tweaks to your current set up, you can find ways to remain on task and get your work done. Even if you fully intend to head back to work once Coronavirus is history, if you are working from home right now, you need to do what you can to ensure your productivity does not suffer. I hope my simple productivity tips help there, along with the thoughts on choosing a location.
Remember, home office design shouldn’t be super complex, it just needs to help you gain laser focus!
Do you have a home office design hack that I didn’t share here? Let me know down below in the comments, I would love to hear from you!
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That’s all for this week, the next blog post is going to be all about planning an Easter feast, so be sure to check that out if you’re struggling to come up with some ideas there. Until then, stay crafty my friends!