The last thing you want your home office to be is boring; your office should be a place that fuels your motivation and creativity, not zaps them. When designing a home office, it’s easy to get caught up in how one should traditionally look and to forget about what your individual needs are. By catering to your specific work necessities, you can create a space that will enhance your productivity as well as the look of your home.

Ditching the Cubicle Look

“Office” is not synonymous with “cubicle.” Just because most corporate work spaces are small, gray cubes doesn’t mean your home office has to follow suit. Let the rest of your home’s decor influence your office’s design, or let the kind of work you do show through in your aesthetic. Decorate with things that inspire you or make you smile, such as photos, artwork, or flowers. It’s important to feel comfortable and happy in your office because it will make getting to work a lot easier—especially when you are at home with many distractions at your fingertips.

Think About Function

Ask yourself a few questions about the nature of your job if you’re struggling with how to organize your office. Does your work require a lot of tools or reference books? If so, make sure to design an area that has sufficient shelving and drawer space. How much desk space will you need? Computers can monopolize a large portion of the desktop, so you may want to think about having a separate computer area if you need space to spread things out on the desk. If you have a chair that can roll, placing the computer area directly behind or next to your desk will make it easy for you to swivel between the two.

Utilizing Wall Space

Walls aren’t just for picture frames. Corkboards, dry-erase boards, and chalkboards are great wall additions for housing reminders or ideas. They come in all different shapes and sizes, so you could even get any combination of the three to adorn your wall. In addition to being functional, they can also spice up the look of your office and encourage creativity. Once they are clustered with your notes, they become an artistic element that enriches the look of your office.

Let There Be Light

You don’t want to be doing your work in a dark or dim space. If the room’s main source of light doesn’t shed quite enough light on your work area, get a small desk lamp or add another source of lighting nearby, like a freestanding lamp. Consider desk placement in relation to your windows as well. If a window shines directly onto your computer screen, it may cause a glare; conversely, if the computer is positioned directly in front of the window, it could make the screen appear too dim.

Minimizing Distractions

A big consideration is home office placement. You’ll most likely want to set up in a place that is as far away from noise and distractions as you can get. If you have a separate room that you can dedicate to the office, that is the most ideal option. A closed door seals you off from the rest of the house noise, and you can keep everything in the room related to your job. If you don’t have a room to spare, think carefully about the best place for your office. While your bedroom or living room may be large enough to accommodate the office, you may not want to bring work into areas that are usually reserved for leisure time. Try to find any stretch of unused space in hallways or corners; even unused closets can make office areas when the doors are removed.

The best home offices rely less on how much space you have and much more on how you use that space. If your home office remodel addresses all of your functionality and aesthetic preferences, you will most likely end up with a space that you are proud of—one that encourages you to get to work each day with a smile on your face and a ready-to-work attitude.

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Sources: HGTV; This Old House.

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