Ever been to someone’s home office and wondered how on earth they get anything done?
Things are just cluttered, cables and chords are hanging out all over the place, and that chair looks
like it’s seen about a million butts in its time.
Every single person who works from home needs a work space that is unique to them, but it also
should be effective and encourage productivity. That desk chair may be super duper cute, but it’s not doing you any good if it’s really uncomfortable.
If you’re one of those people (sorry!) it’s time to toss out that chair and read this post.
Check out these tips for creating a home office you can be proud of:
Pay attention to the walls and floor
What’s the difference between a cubicle and an office?
The key to having a great home office is all about what you have on your walls. You want the room to be inviting and inspirational, but not too distracting. Hang up some art, posters, photos, or whatever else inspires you. Slap on a new coat of paint to liven things up, and keep the space warm and open.
Turn your attention to the floor. Keep your carpets (or wood, tile, etc.) clean and free of bits of paper and cookie crumbs.
Take some advice from The Dude and add a coordinating rug to really pull the room together and add some personality. Extra points if your rug is plush enough you can bury your toes in it.
Function > aesthetics when it comes to office furniture
Yes, part of having a home office you can be proud of includes everything looking nice.
But, are you really going to be happy to spend time in your office when your desk chair is so uncomfortable that it’s practically painful?
No. You’re not.
I spend about 8 to 9 hours in my office each weekday, and a bit less than that on the weekends. Having an uncomfortable, unsupportive chair would wreak havoc on my back. It would also make my Scoliosis worse, but’s just a side factor.
When shopping around for an office chair, there are some key things you need to look for:
- Is it height adjustable?
- Does it have a reclining back?
- Are there armrests? (One of my chairs has armrests, and one doesn't.)
- How deep is the seat?
- Does it have proper wheels that aren’t going to fall apart if they run over a bobby pin?
- Does it have adjustable lumbar support?
Your desk should complement your office chair.
This is mainly in terms of function, but it doesn’t hurt to pick a chair and desk that look like they go together as a set. As it happens, my chair is dark grey and black, and my desk is more of a golden color. (I’m not sure what wood it is. The desk was a present from my grandpa ages ago.)
When it comes to situating your desk and chair:
- According to Healthy Computing, you should be able to situate your monitor or screen directly in front of you. If it’s off-center, you’ll have neck or shoulder pain from the improper posture.
- You should also be sitting an arm’s length away when you sit back in your chair. If your chair does now allow for this, pick a different one.
- The top of your screen or monitor should be level with your eyes. This is why adjustable height is imperative when picking out a desk chair.
Masking cables and chords
Now that you have a great chair, it’s time to focus on the cables and chords around your desk.
Keep them hidden as much as possible, at all times. Not only does this make things look a million times better, but it also improves the overall safety of your office.
- You’re far less likely to trip over chords if they aren’t sprawled across the floor.
- Plus, not having a bundle of chord spaghetti means there is less of a fire hazard.
- You can also keep your chords and cables nicely organized by labeling each one.
- Take one of those bread tags (the plastic things that hold the top of the bag closed).
- Label it according to the chord it’s going to be attached to. (Laptop charger, phone charger, printer, scanner, twinkly lights, etc.)
- Put the label on the chord and –voila! – instant organization.
Install quality lighting
Those overhead fluorescent lights really aren’t going to cut it.
Improper lighting can lead to eye strain, vision issues, headaches, fatigue, and negative moods. Instead of relying on the overhead lights to be your only source of light, add a bright desk lamp to the mix. There are some great options that sit right on your desk, and there are plenty of standing lamps that you can move around the office.
Take the window placements into account, as well. Make sure your screen or monitor is not situated in a place that will result in glares or reflections. Not only is this bad for your screen (and gets really annoying, really fast), but it also causes headaches and eye strain.
Have plenty of storage space
Those floating shelves are really neat to look at, but they’re not very practical.
Get a desk with plenty of drawers and shelves.
Bookshelves, file cabinets, tables with drawers, and standing drawers are some other great options to add to your office. This helps keep everything organized.
Having proper storage cuts down on the likelihood of having a bunch of paperwork that doesn’t have a home. This will make your office look cluttered, which makes it hard to stay productive.
One of the things I love about having a spare bedroom as my home office is that it comes with a full closet! I can stack my extra boxes in there (we’re military, so we move a lot), and not have them getting in the way of the main part of the office.
My desk has a shelf space right under the keyboard tray, a full bottom storage space, two regular-sized drawers, and one giant drawer. It also has a hole in the back, so I can thread my chords and cables through there. It’s all so convenient, and definitely helps with my productivity.
Make the space uniquely yours
A giant Browncoat flag. A picture of Captain Reynolds. A Sigmund Freud figurine (M.i.B.), my Phi Theta Kappa chords, stole, and certificate. A poster of Neil Gaiman’s Death. An autographed Devil’s Rejects picture. A whole bunch of Bowie items. . .These are just some of the things I have on the walls around my desk.
While it’s important to have a space that is effective, part of having a home office you are proud of involves adding things that make it unique to you. It’s your HOME office, so there is no need to make it as sterile and cold as a regular ol’ office cubicle!
I asked some of my friends what their home office must-haves are, and thought I’d share some of the great ideas here. Feel free to grab inspiration from them, or add them to your own home office:
- A robot toy from 1973 - He guards the computer.
- Chargers for phones, and a really big external storage for files
- A little basketball hoop above the trash can
- At least five colors of bright sticky notes. At all times. And specific pens.
- A Boogie Board tablet. This friend has to write names/numbers down each day, but doesn’t need them after a couple of hours. So, without this board, she goes through 3 full steno pads in one month! The Boogie Board saves tons of paper, and is the perfect size.
- A hot pad for a tea kettle
- Multiple pens in different spots, sticky notes, scratch paper, and a Yoga mat. An in-office coffee maker is also a must-have for this person. (This one was from my cousin. The coffee addiction runs in our family.)
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Don’t forget to share your home office must-haves. . .and this post!