If you’ve ever felt like you have a lackluster home office that just isn’t conducive to creativity—or productivity—you’re not alone. Nevertheless, it’s easy to break out of that rut if you keep in mind that a home office can be decorated however you wish. Try some of the following home office design ideas for inspiration; you can even apply these tips to your desk in a corporate environment.

1. Declutter

stacks of papers and books on a tableNo matter what type of environment you work in, clutter will slow you down. While it is very important to make your space your own, too many personal items—or even work-related items—can be distracting, particularly if you also use the space to meet with clients. Moreover, constantly having to search your work area for items you need does little to further your professional image. Reserve your desktop for things you use every day. Whenever possible, mementos and knickknacks should go on walls or shelves. If they must stay on your desk, be sure to keep them out of your dedicated workspace.

2. Incorporate Nature

wooden desk with laptop, plant, and calendarGetting too little fresh air and sunlight does more harm than good, which is definitely a concern if you work inside all day. If at all possible, work next to a window. At the very least, use a lamp instead of fluorescent lighting; it will be homier and less harsh, and you can buy bulbs that mimic natural light. It’s also helpful to keep a plant on your desk—or a fish if you prefer animals to greenery. If living decor is off limits due to allergies or maintenance concerns, bring in fake plants.

3. Add Personality

One of the biggest complaints about cubicles and run-of-the-mill offices is the monotonous decor, but at a home office, it is possible to decorate your desk with things that highlight your personality and bring a smile to your face. Jazz up your work area by incorporating some of the following ideas:

  • Cover humdrum walls with just about anything—fabric or paper in fun patterns or your favorite colors, quotes, photos, notes, and whatever else you have on hand.

  • Frame things or arrange like items together to create an art-gallery effect.

  • Brighten up filing cabinets and other metal surfaces with removable contact paper, and utilize fun magnets.

  • Hang up a calendar.

  • Use non-office items as organizational tools. For example, store pens and highlighters in a coffee mug, keep notepads together in a vanity tray, and collect paper clips and pushpins in jewelry dishes or other decorative containers.

  • Order traditional office supplies in nontraditional colors and patterns.

4. Make It Comfortable, But Not Too Cozy

Since most people spend at least 40 hours a week working, your workspace might as well be comfortable. Don’t make it so comfortable that you could just curl up and go to sleep, but it should still feel like an extension of your home. Get snug with one of the following suggestions:

  • Put down a small area rug or a chair mat.

  • Keep a pillow on your chair so you can easily adjust the position of your back.

  • Sit on a balance ball instead of a chair, or create a standing desk.

  • Have a blanket, a mini space heater, or a small fan on hand if you’re sensitive to fluctuating temperatures.

Desk space organization doesn’t have to be boring. Building your work area around things you enjoy may take some creativity, but it will increase your focus and help you be more productive.

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