For most of us, the design of a home office typically speaks more of the convenience of working from our living space rather than the need to replicate a real work environment in our bedroom or study. As such, we focus more on functionality than aesthetics.
No time was this more obvious than in the last year when the COVID-19 pandemic forced all of us to work from our apartments. With the move unplanned, many of us set up working spaces in our homes that weren’t more than a reading desk and chair and a reading lamp.
However, since remote work has come to stay beyond the pandemic and our home offices are now the permanent workspace for most of us, it’s time for some renovations.
With that in mind, we’ve put together some modern office design ideas for small spaces to help you create the perfect work-from-home space. Let’s dive in:
10 Design Tips for Your Home Office
Not everyone knows how to lay out a home office. While some people are pretty handy with reconstruction and home decor and can set up a home office without much fuss, others are clueless about this kind of stuff. If you’re among the latter, here are our top design tips for home office:
1. Find the Perfect Location
Location is probably the most crucial factor in setting up your home office because it determines your productivity to a large extent. For example, creating a workstation in a room in your home that everyone has access to means you’ll have to deal with too many distractions.
Also, if you work in a room that’s not comfortable, probably because of too little ventilation or cramped up space, you may become exhausted or frustrated with work too quickly. As such, you need to choose an area in your home that allows you to be at your best.
A couple of things to consider while choosing the location of your home office include lighting, ventilation, size, and how busy the room is. You should also consider your type of job, personal preferences, and the time of the day you work before picking the spot to set up your workstation in your apartment.
If your job requires several hours of zoom meetings, the ideal room for you would be one separate from all the noise and clamor of the house, especially if you have kids.
2. Get Creative With Furniture
There’s no office without furniture. However, for most people, office furniture starts and ends with a chair and a desk.
But as much as we understand that you’re aiming for convenience, you should know the ideal home office should aid your productivity. As such, unless all you need for work is your laptop, then a chair and desk might not be enough furniture for your home workstation.
For instance, if you have some computer equipment in your apartment workspace, such as a printer and fax, you may need some storage space for them.
If you also have a personal library and you enjoy reading when you’re free from work, you should consider getting a small bookshelf in your home office – or, at least, a desk with drawers. Rather than study in the noisy living room, you can head over to your office to read.
Lighting is another piece of furniture to consider, primarily if you work late into the night. You should also add an extra chair or two for when a client, colleague, or your kids come over.
That said, if you’re still not sure the type of furniture to bring into your home office, you can check out some clear office furniture here for a bit of inspiration.
3. Light and Lighting
Having excellent lighting is one of the essential design tips for home office. If you have many zoom meetings or work well into the night, you’ll need both natural and artificial lighting.
You can start by setting your office next to a window or glass door to allow as much natural light as possible. However, if your desk is next to a window, you may need to add shades or blinds to reduce the glare from sunlight.
That said, you’ll also need to invest in artificial lighting to enhance the room’s natural light. Getting some ceiling lights is an excellent way to start. You could also add some open-top floor lamps. A desk light is also a necessity, especially if you work at night.
4. Storage and Organization
Organization is crucial in setting up a home office. You don’t want to cram space to the point where you can’t walk around, especially if you’re in a smaller room. And as much as you want to set up your office for productivity, you also don’t want to add too many things you don’t need.
As such, you should only have the things you work with every day in your home office. For instance, if you prefer reading in your bedroom rather than your home office, there’s no need to bring your books into your workspace just for aesthetics.
You could also decide to be minimal in your approach. For example, instead of getting a bookshelf, you could get a desk with cabinets and keep your books there. However, organization goes beyond shelves and cabinets; you also need to arrange everything in the correct order.
The files and documents you’re working on currently shouldn’t mix up with those you’ve completed. It would be best to have separate, labeled cabinets for your files based on their order of priorities. Those documents that are part of your current workload should be at arm’s reach.
The same thing goes for your research and reference materials. Overall, the idea is to arrange your office in a way that doesn’t require you to run around whenever you need something.
5. Invest In Accessories
The best thing about a home office is that you can design it anyhow you see fit. There are no rules, and it’s all about your comfort and productivity. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be out of place to add some accessories to your home office decor.
You could decide to get vintage artwork or a painting. You could even choose to paint the office a particular color because you find it inspiring. If you’re a lover of plants and nature, you could get a flower vase and place it right next to your computer.
The idea is to create a workstation that’s ideal and comfortable for you.
6. Keep It Comfortable
Your comfort is a significant contributing factor to your productivity, whether you’re working from home or your actual office. If you’re not comfortable, you’re not likely to get substantial work done.
As such, one of the most crucial home office design tips you’ll get is to make your home workspace as comfortable and cozy as possible. One way to do this is to ensure you maximize the space.
Don’t cram space to the point where there’s barely any breathable air, and you can’t walk around in your office. Ensure there’s enough room in your workspace, so you don’t feel suffocated.
Choosing the perfect location in the house is another contributing factor to consider. You should pick a room where you feel relaxed and motivated to do work. The exact spot where you set up is also vital.
For instance, you shouldn’t set your chair or desk in front of a wall because a blank wall could cause fatigue and a lack of motivation to work. Finally, it would be best to have a couch you can switch to when you want to rest for a bit.
7. Design for a Small Space
Here’s one of the many home office design for her that people don’t pay too much attention to: regardless of how ample your home workspace is, design and decorate as if the room was much smaller.
This way, you only pick the things you need and work with daily. And when you’re done setting up, you’ll have more breathable space and room to walk around.
Designing for a smaller space also means fewer gadgets, wires, and furniture, thus making it easier to clean up. Furthermore, if you need to bring something else into the workstation later down the line, you’ll have some extra square feet to put them in.
8. Don’t Overdo It With Technology and Wires
A couple of years ago, offices were littered with paper. Today, though, with the rise of digital technology, we’ve saved more space in our workstations since we no longer need too many paper documents.
However, with computer technology growing more relevant, they’re slowly causing as many problems as paper. Computers and digital technologies are filling up our office spaces, and since the vast majority of these devices aren’t wireless, that means a lot of wires are all over the floor.
Every employee knows that very few things can be frustrating as continuously stepping over an endless stretch of wires while walking around the office or even tripping over them because you are in a hurry.
If you’ve dealt with this scenario at your office, don’t bring it home. Too many wires in your home office can make the room look untidy.
It can also make your work stressful because wires often mix up whenever they’re too much. Just imagine struggling to find your printer’s plug because it’s lost in a sea of cables. That said, to solve this problem, invest in wireless technology, such as a wireless printer, router, or mouse.
You could also use a grommet to lead any wires in your desktop down your desk. Additionally, you can use a cord tamer to gather loose cables on the floor.
9. Don’t Get Too Cozy
As much as you want to make your home office as comfortable as possible, remember it’s still a workstation and not your living room. As such, some design tips for the home office you should always remember is to optimize more for productivity before comfort.
For instance, having just a couch and sofa without a desk and chair might not be the best idea. Since environment influences behavior, setting up your workspace to look like a living room or bedroom could see you taking too much time off to get away from work and rest.
You should also take out any screen that doesn’t have to do with work, such as a TV and possibly your phone (if you’re not using any of the productivity tools on it).
However, if you’re using any of your work tools on your phone, you should remove any distractions from the device, such as freezing all social media and instant messaging applications.
Finally, set aside a specific time during the day for work, and let your family know so they won’t distract you. If necessary, hang a Do Not Disturb sign outside the office door to deter people from coming into your home office.
10. Keep Organized, Clean, and Supplied
Setting up a work office is one thing; keeping it neat and organized is another. Over time, you may get used to all the clutter in your office and not feel too bothered to clean up.
However, untidy office space is frustrating to work in, and it’s only a matter of time before you’re no longer comfortable in your home office. As such, make it a practice to clean up and organize your workstation daily, preferably after the day’s task.
You should also ensure your office supplies are always in excess. You don’t want to stop work midway to rush to the store to get paper to print a document, so always stay stacked up. If possible, you could go shopping for supplies every weekend ahead of the following week.
For most of us who have been working in a makeshift office since the start of the pandemic, the permanent shift to remote work has forced us to learn how to design a home office so we can set up an ideal workspace.
With the tips in this article, you can create the perfect environment for maximum productivity. To learn more about designing your home office space, check how to Make Your Home The Perfect Place To Run Your Business.