May 07 , 2020
It can be challenging to be productive when you work from home, especially when a sink full of dirty dishes or your favorite TV show beckons. But there are ways to structure your home office to help you make the most of the time you spend there, whether you’re converting a small nook or closet or you have a dedicated room. Here are some design-minded tips that can increase your productivity when you’re working from home.
Create Space for Plants
Even if you’re short on home office desktop or table space, you can still get the dose of green and the happiness and productivity boosts that plants provide. A few options to explore: wall-mounted planters, hanging baskets or a floating shelf, mounted high and stocked with books and a cascading-type plant such as pothos. (Bonus: They don’t like to be watered very often!) Other pretties that can do well in less-than-ideal conditions include snake plants, spider plants and peace lilies.
Build Out Shelving
Use your DIY IQ to build out storage for your books, papers and office gear so your desk space always feels fresh and ready for your best work.
“Tall vertical cabinets on either side of a desk can look like built-ins and add storage at the same time,” says interior designer Barbara Schmidt of Studio BStyle. “Add one each to the right and to the left of your desk to create a focal point.”
Source some secondhand bookshelves from Craigslist, refinish them to match your décor, and line them up together to create a beautiful armoire-like look for pennies on the dollar.
Display Your Inspiration
Create a working mood board, idea map or project-progress tracker by using a white board or rolled paper rack. Visual cues can remind you of your goals and keep you inspired. Want to make it fancy? Frame the whiteboard or attach magazine tearouts, photos, materials, quotes or swatches to the paper to keep your ideas fresh and your ambition and creativity bubbling.
Use Portable Storage
Storage on wheels helps keep your workspace clear and materials accessible, whether you’re at the dining-room table or in a dedicated room. Plus, it helps put work “away” when home-office hours are over.
“One of my favorite storage solutions in our office is a stacked set of metal drawers on wheels,” Schmidt says. “If I need to pull together a project, I can pull out the storage over to my side of the desk and work with it there. When I’m done, I wheel it back into the closet.” This solution could be as small as wheeled plastic bins with drawers, all the way up to multi-drawer metal file cabinets.
Customize Your Seat
Make sure you have a comfortable chair to work from. Transform a dining-room chair easily with a pretty, padded seat cushion. Don’t have an ergonomic designer chair? No problem. Pull double duty with a yoga ball to tone abs and alleviate back and shoulder pain as you work. If you have extra space, Schmidt says, consider changing your position occasionally with a lounge chair and ottoman. For the ultimate in versatility, choose a neutral fabric and swap out pillows as the seasons change for different looks.
Pick a Color, But Not Just Any Color
A coat of paint is a quick way to brighten your workspace, whether it’s the wall you face in a multipurpose room or a dedicated home office. Consider using your favorite shade of blue or green, which researchers generally believe creates a sense of calm. That helps people focus and keep stress at bay.
Use a Task Lamp
Keep your focus with an easy-on-the-eyes task lamp. These small but mighty office pals can be moved around to suit your needs thanks to their light weight, small footprint and articulated hinges.
According to a survey led by HR firm FutureWorkplace, workers feel depleted or sad without natural light, so it’s one of their top priorities for office space perks. While you can’t always control the natural light in your home office space, you can still create an atmosphere that feels good.
Consider the warmth of the light bulb you choose, too. Warm light is cozy and crisp, and daylight bulbs can give you an energy boost. Lastly, use dimmer switches to tailor overhead lighting to your needs and moods. “We’re used to natural light changing throughout the day, so give yourself the option,” Schmidt says.