How to Create a Home Office You’ll Want to Work In

BY NANCY MATTIA ON MAY 18TH, 2017

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If you’ve been working out of a room you call your office, but it also serves as the depository for the ice skates your kid outgrew two years ago, the news magazines you’ll read “someday” and the oversized frog-shaped lamp you bought last spring at a flea market, it’s time to get to work. Whether you use the space to do business every day or pay bills twice a month, you deserve an office that’s clean, calm and clutter-free so you can be your most productive. Here’s how to make it happen.

1. Pick furniture that helps you work better

Think about the space and ergonomics. “Define what types of equipment you need access to and what fits best in the room to maximize space,” says Angie Gardeck of New Perspective Design, in Algonquin, Ill. Do you want a traditional desk or is a standing desk more your thing? It’s worth investing in a high-quality, ergonomically designed chair that’s comfortable since you’ll be spending considerable time in it.

2. Match the office’s style to your home’s look

“With home offices becoming more prevalent and in more focal areas, the decor should relate to the style throughout the home if possible,” Gardeck says. Furniture manufacturers are making the most of this trend by offering home office lines that accommodate the different design styles in the rest of the house.

3. Give it color

If you have good natural lighting in your office, paint the walls a lighter tone to take full advantage of sun streaming through the windows. Or pick a color based on the mood you want to set. “Cooler tones are generally more calming, but warm tones can make a room feel more "energetic,” Gardeck says.

4. Think location

“I always look for ways to put the home office into a room on the main floor with natural light,” Gardeck says. “Having it in a basement or bedroom doesn't feel like a real work space ¬– it may feel confined.” Position the desk near a window so you can get as much natural light as possible. If space is limited, think multifunction, such as an office that doubles as an exercise room.

5. Stay organized

Even if the room has a door you keep shut, your office should be tidy. That’s where desk trays and storage cubes can help. An attractive shelving unit or armoire to store a printer and office supplies will make a good backdrop if you use FaceTime or videoconferencing to communicate frequently.

6. Deal with technology

Consider where the office’s outlets are when positioning the desk. You’ll need to plug in your desktop computer or laptop’s charger and printer/scanner so access should be close by.

7. Take cord management seriously

Nothing contributes to a sloppy office environment more than a pile of cords sticking out from on top of and underneath the desk. “I always think about the cords before finalizing the layout to minimize the messy look,” Gardeck says. “There are cord covers and grommets in desk tops to direct cords and help manage them. Or use zip ties, which let you fasten the cords together for a cleaner look.”

8. Add a plant or two

Plants create a calming effect and add a splash of natural color. “I have a money tree in my office that started out about two feet tall and has grown to over five feet,” Gardeck says. “It’s part of the family!”

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