Blake’s Guide to The Perfect Home Office Set-Up
We are just over halfway through 2020, and many of us are still working from home out of precaution of COVID-19. A few months ago we shared with you our list of 151 Ways to Make Your Home More Enjoyable, but what about the room you spend most of your time lately – your new home office?
At first it was all fun and games, making new recipes and Marie Kondo-ing every drawer and closet you could get your hands-on. Now it’s time to realize just how important your home office set-up is to your overall productivity and effectiveness, and make sure you are doing everything you can succeed in this new normal.
Unlike your desk at the office, your home space isn’t going to be crowded and noisy. Your home office can scream with personality and functionality. Here are a few of my best tips for designing a space where you can work smarter, not harder.
Organize Your Home Office
There is nothing more discouraging than working in an area where you don’t actually like to spend time. A cluttered desk that is full of junk is demotivating, and for those of us that are easily distracted, a minefield of productivity killers.
Some simple additions to a home office space can make a big difference. A desktop organizer is a great place to start. If you tend to keep things in piles (and yes, of course, you know exactly where everything is in that pile), then small desktop baskets are your new best friend. Now your clutter is contained in a decorative basket, out of sight, and no longer a distraction to your daily workflow.
It’s worth the investment for quality organizational pieces of furniture that actually look nice and simultaneously add to the decor of the room. Like an industrial look? Check out this 5 tier industrial bookshelf. If limited space is an issue for you, consider installing floating shelves like these hexagon-shaped shelves near your desk. It’s a great way to add extra storage to small spaces.
Another eyesore in home offices are cords and cables. Your computer is plugged into your monitor (or second monitor) while your phone charger is across the table… it all adds a lot of mental busyness to the spaces, as well as a trip hazard if you aren’t careful. This is an easy fix! Cable boxes and cord covers are simple solutions that will leave your desk looking so much more inviting.
Tips For Home Office Furniture
Treat yourself!! It’s important to have an office chair that doesn’t leave your back aching or your rear-end numb. Spend a little more on a chair now and save on the chiropractor visits later.
Two of my favorite places in KC for top quality as well as custom made office furniture are J Thomas Home and Unruh Furniture. Sleek, modern designs are what I go for, but make sure you decorate to your own palate. This is another great chance to show off that flair of personality that you may not be able to show back at the office.
Personally, I use a bench for my seat so that I can get up and down easily when I need to.
I am always on the go meeting clients and showing homes (although these days I am doing more Facetime Tours than I ever have), but if you are going to be at the computer hour after hour, figure out what is going to be the most beneficial for your typical workday and makes the most sense for your physical health. It is hard on your body to sit down all day hunched over a computer!
It’s not always apparent, but another important thing to consider when setting up your office at home is the proper height for your chair, computer, and desk.
Your productivity will be hindered if you are uncomfortable while working and straining your eyes or neck. You may not even realize you are doing it until its too late, and if you’re like me you’ll be sore the next morning from sitting awkwardly at your desk.
Want to switch it up? Try a standing desk. I actually use a tall armoire… it keeps me standing and ready to move at a moment’s notice.
Bookshelves are another great addition to your home office. Not only do they provide a significant amount of room to store supplies, but they also add some nice additional space for meaningful pictures and decor.
Functionality of Your Home Office Space
Research has proven that it can take a person 23 minutes or longer to regain focus after an interruption as short as 5 minutes. That’s a lot of productivity that is lost if you are constantly running around to different parts of your house to find supplies or an important work item.
That’s why it’s important that your home office be functional and as free from interruptions as possible.
Think about your kitchen. You typically organize your kitchen to be efficient and to have your favorite appliances, spices, or spatula right where you can easily access them. It should be the same way with your home office! Make sure your shelves or drawers have everything you will need throughout your workday within reach.
Hang stylish, decorative buckets where you can store pens and other supplies. Need a place to write your weekly or daily goals and to-do lists? Get creative and paint a section of the wall with whiteboard paint. The perfect home office is whatever you make it.
Let’s Talk About Home Office Lighting
Lighting is one of the most important aspects of your new home office space. Poor lighting is not only bad for your vision, but it can also significantly impact your mood and state of mind. You want adequate lighting so that you are not straining your eyes, and additional soft lighting to set the vibe of the room.
And you all know how much I am a fan of lighting!
We all know that natural lighting is ideal. Not only is good for your mental health, but it’s also good for your eyes and preventing headaches associated with looking at the computer all day. If possible, have your desk face your window. You’ll be able to soak up some Vitamin D from the natural light, whether or not it’s a bright summer’s day while getting the best view of the backyard life right outside your home. If your window is behind you, it will cause a glare on your screen, as well as shadows on your face for that afternoon zoom call with your coworkers.
What if your home office is in your basement and there are no windows?
There is so much you can do to brighten up a basement home office. First, be sure to make the most of any amount of natural light you do have, even if it’s a tiny little window. Let that light in! In addition to maximizing the natural light, installing recessed lighting can totally change the feel of your basement home office. Pendant lighting, table lamps, and sconces are all great options to add as much light as possible and create a fantastic vibe—even in a dark basement!
Home Office Feng Shui
A key concept in feng shui is to set your intentions and then design your space accordingly. What are your goals for the next year, 5 years, 10 years?
Write them down. Say them out loud.
Use your home office space to put your goals and aspirations out into the universe.
Do you want to expand? Put a globe on one of your shelves. Focused on success? Metal and metal-colored accessories can be added to your desk area.
Places like Hammerpress Letterpress & Design Studio in Kansas City can create a fun and eclectic piece of art to display your favorite motivational saying. Letterboards are another great way to creatively display words that inspire you, and let you change your motivational quote weekly!
Pictures of your family and friends can remind you of why you do what you do while adding great energy to your space.
Plants are extremely important in the concept of feng shui. Find plants that face upwards to symbolize growth and success. Plants are an important part of adding life and vitality to a room, so add some green to your new home office and set your space up for success.
Design Your Space
You want your home to reflect who you are and your specific design style. It shouldn’t be any different with your home office. Customize it in a way that meets your needs and reflects your personal style with colors and textures.
You can use fun pillows or throws on that couch in the corner for a pop of color, or paint an entire accent wall.
Do you need a space that is relaxing where you can zone in and focus? Go for a color in the blue family. Need inspiration and creativity? Oranges and yellows will add that extra excitement to your day.
Find artwork that invigorates you, or reminds you of places you have been or want to visit. We are all feeling a little stir crazy with the travel restrictions in place, so why not take that future travel plan you made after reading my guide to your at-home date night and incorporate that plan into your decor.
Most of all, just make the space your own.
You can find inspiration all around you as you create your ideal home office. Feel more comfortable, organized, and excited to get to work each day, so when you aren’t working you can focus on other things, like our guide to the perfect Kansas City Staycation.