With more and more people working remotely because of COVID-19, it’s time to transform your everyday living space into a well-designed work haven. Here are five ways to create the home office of your dreams – without breaking the bank.
Designate a Specific Work Area
Not everyone has an extra room that can double as a home office, but you can still put the limited real estate you do have to good use. “I’m a huge fan of the office corner that doubles as a nightstand,” says Kate Lester, who runs a full-service interior design studio in Hermosa Beach, California. “Placing a smaller writing table next to a bed is a great way to create a space that is functional and chic.” Alternately, Mary Patton – who helms an eponymous interior design studio in Houston – recommends sectioning off part of your dining room or bedroom. “Finding an area of your home that can be quiet and organized is key,” she notes. Make sure to set up shop away from your TV or refrigerator to avoid distractions and unnecessary snacking.
Consider Your Line of Work
According to Lance Thomas and Drew Hoffpauir, who run a Louisiana-based interior design firm and home store called Room Service, people often try to design a workspace without thinking about their day-to-day job responsibilities – which can result in poor workflow layouts and excess clutter. “It’s important to ask things like, ‘Will my files and paperwork stay permanently in my home or will I be transporting my work to and from the office?’” Thomas says. By thinking through the daily tasks you’ll do – and how much space you actually need to accomplish them – you can set yourself up for success.
Start With the Basics
First things first: Invest in the essentials. “A comfortable work chair, desk, and lamp are all items that should be at the base of your home office,” says Erin Hackett, who manages Hackett Interiors alongside her sister Meghan Hackett-Cassidy in Bronxville, New York. Sara Barney of BANDD Design echoes that sentiment: “The best investment you can make is a comfortable yet firm chair. You want something that will support you and not be too slouchy, but cozy enough to keep you relaxed.”
Prioritize Good Lighting
If your home office doesn’t have a window, illuminate the space with a new light fixture – or even just a brighter light bulb. “Lighting has a major impact on productivity, especially for those whose work requires staring at a computer,” says Cheryl Eisen, founder and president of Interior Marketing Group in New York City. “Natural light is the best way to go, but if you don’t have access to that, opt for LED lighting, because it creates clean, comfortable light without glare and is energy-efficient.”
To mix up the look and feel of your home office without blowing your budget, Macelle Albelda of M Design Build Studio in Pasadena, California recommends painting the walls and strategically placing plants throughout the space. Take advantage of the unique opportunity to cater to your tastes – without the confines of a cubicle or corporate regulations – by adding some colorful vases, books, candles, and pieces of art. “It’s no secret that productivity is increased when your mind is happy, so make sure your setup keeps you inspired and feeling productive,” says Hackett.
Rebekah Bell is a writer who lives in Los Angeles.