How many of us went from working inside a small upholstered cube without natural light inside of tall steel buildings to working from the comfort of our living room couch? For a while, it was a revelation! An utter delight.
Then, reality set in. While most couches are fabulous for binge-watching and endlessly scrolling social media, we quickly discovered they don’t make for the best workstations. Especially if we share our space with a partner or children.
As we spend more and more time working from home, the need for a proper home office is clear. Whether you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated room to revamp or just need to freshen up your existing WFH setup, we have a few tips for how to decorate your home office with style.
Clear the Air
According to This Electric Home, sometimes a quick refresh of your existing space is all you need. Open the windows in the spring months unless allergies are a factor. Try air purifiers with HEPA filters that are rated for your square footage. Avoid burning candles with paraffin wax and try diffusers for essential oils instead.
Another great way to improve the air quality is to become a plant parent. Not only are houseplants beautiful, they also have been shown to remove volatile organic pollutants in the air. The NASA Clean Air Study is the gold standard that concluded one plant per 100 square feet of space is effective.
Check out lists online of easy-to-care-for houseplants that suit your home office’s temperature and light availability. And of course, choose furniture and furnishings that accentuate the style of your room.
The Eureka Moment
Unless you were born with a natural flair for home decorating, you will need to begin with inspiration photos, searching them out either online or in magazines. This is, of course, one of the most fun parts.
Minimalist chic or bohemian comfort? What about a traditional, wood-paneled library-style or a monochromatic pink paradise? Choosing a theme and color scheme is often the first order of business. Because this is a home office, you might want to take into consideration the style of the rest of the home. If you want to create a completely different feel from the rest of your house to visually designate “this is my workspace,” choosing a wildly different style can be fun.
But most of us will have to have a legitimate conversation with ourselves about the space and whether we can afford to have a dedicated home office or if it will need to be a multi-purpose room. If the latter, something that fits in with the design ethos of the rest of your home is best. Don’t despair if you can’t have a dedicated home office overlooking a lake in the mountains. Some of the coolest home offices are closet offices that can be closed away at the end of the workday.
While you’re still in the dreaming phase, it’s time to determine a budget. Are you doing a minor overhaul of accessories or a whole room renovation with a contractor involved to move walls and construct built-ins?
Most of all, this is a home office. It’s important to think about what your business requires. A seamstress will need more space to do the creative side of the business than work on the books. Could a computer set up at a standing desk in the corner leave the rest of the space free for storage and studio creation space?
Does your work require you to keep track of lots of paper trails? How much cabinet storage or file space is required is something to be considered when decorating your home office. (And there are plenty of stylish ways to manage paper.)
It’s still your home and your vibe, but it’s also a place to w-o-r-k.
Look Outside the Big Box
Once you’ve nailed down a design and a budget, it’s time to go shopping. Though it might be tempting to go to a large retailer and point to what you want and have it magically appear in your home, give thrift shops and consignment stores a chance, especially when choosing a desk or furniture pieces.
If second-hand gives you pause, study up on how to assess furniture. Bring gloves and inspect cushions and upholstery. You can always have a piece reupholstered or refinished by a professional, DIY it, or love it as-is after a session with a steamer.
Something as simple as a nice wood oil can give an old desk — even your current old desk — a new life.
Beware of Fads
Spindly floating chairs look incredible, but how long will you be able to Zoom while sitting in one? Prioritize selecting an ergonomic and comfortable desk chair over a gorgeous one. Luckily, these days, you don’t have to make really difficult choices as furniture designers take form and function into consideration.
Consider how frequently you redecorate the rest of your home when designing your home office. If you love to stick with basics and change accessories at the season or every few years, match your office style to that. If you’ve lived on and loved the same bedroom suite for over a decade, choose furnishings that you know will stand the test of time.
Must-Haves For Any Budget
Here are a few things you might have overlooked on the quest to decorating your home office in style:
- An organization system that’s pretty and effective;
- A desk pad — vegan leather is the way to go although the ones with built-in paper pads or calendars are super-functional as well;
- Computer management options that are attractive too;
- Soft accessories like a throw or blanket and a well-placed throw pillow.
And let there be light! Don’t forget window treatments and excellent task-lighting. That chandelier might look swank in your ultra-feminine office space, but what if you need to read the fine print on a rainy afternoon? Once you’re in your new space, you’ll be able to see where gaps in lighting occur naturally and are able to correct them.