Chances are that your home office is one of the least esthetically pleasing rooms in your home. If you are like most homeowners, you probably spent as much time decorating your home office as your utility room. As a matter of fact, most people’s utility rooms and home offices have a lot in common:
- They tend to lack personality
- Disorder and clutter are a constant battle
- They are utilitarian in nature
- The color and décor of the room (or lack thereof) doesn’t support the room’s use
I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot more time working in my home office than I do in the laundry room. Did you know your working environment has a large impact on your productivity, creativity and energy levels? For many of us it also effects our perception of our personal success and our confidence level. Clutter and an uninspiring space can wreck havoc on your business goals.
Convinced you need to do address your home office’s look? I hope so! Below are some design tips to get you started.
1. Clean up your clutter and get organized.
Start with an easy project each day. For example, perhaps the first day you clear off your desk. The next day you might choose to organize a drawer you haven’t seen the bottom of in years. Or tackle the office closest. One smaller project a day will make things feel a lot less overwhelming than trying to do everything at once.
2. Establish a floor plan that addresses function and flow.
A home office floor plan gives you quick, easy access to items you need on a daily basis. A good floor plan is also compatible with your type of business. For example, my home studio includes a work area to layout floor plans, fabrics, and surface materials.
If you’ve been working in your space for awhile, you probably already have some ideas about what is and isn’t working for you. What is unique about your business and workflow? Your home office should address these needs. Brainstorm how you might better fulfill those needs.
3. Start your home office interior design with something that inspires you.
Begin with a piece of artwork, an area rug, a lamp, an accessory or an upholstered chair that speaks to you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a quirky picture of a cat that says “hang in there” or a gorgeous picture of nature. You should choose whatever inspires you. Then build the room’s style and palette based on what you love and what you already have.
Not sure where to start and wondering what colors might fit your personality? Here’s a quick run down.
- Blues are said to be imaginative and progressive
- Yellow is cheerful and stimulating
- Red is powerful and daring
- Orange is adventurous and unique
- Green is soothing and is said to help you think
- Purple is ambitious and associated with royalty
4. Choosing wall colors for a home office.
Please trust this experienced opinion: It is easier to find a wall color to match an item than find items to match a wall color. Pick your inspiration piece and general style before you paint the walls! Next, follow these tips for selecting a great wall color.
- Just because they place a color on a swatch doesn’t mean it should ever be on a wall.
- If you want something in your office to “pop,” don’t match the walls to that item.
- Use a tint, tone, or shade of a color in your palette, instead of an exact match.
- Unless you are experienced with wall colors, know that colors are more intense than they seem on a small color chip. You might want to move down the color card a shade or two lighter than your first choice.
- Complex neutrals with a touch of color are very vogue these days and are here to stay for some time. A room can be interesting without the walls screaming color. It will also have longer staying power before you grow tired of it.
- Although painting is inexpensive, it is time consuming and painful to re-do! So take some time to sleep on it if you’re not sold on a color.
5. Establish a focal point for your home office.
A focal point is the first thing you see when you enter a space. It is necessary in all design, and many home offices don’t have a natural focal point like a fireplace, or a large bank of windows with a view.
If your focal point is your desk (most of the time it is), give it visual impact by hanging grouped artwork, placing a bookshelf behind it, or installing a specialized wall treatment made of wallpaper, fabric or a decorative mural. You can also add an area rug or drop a chandelier to ground the space.
6. Include sufficient lighting in your floor plan.
Lighting is the most overlooked area of designing a room and it has a large impact on the finished project. At a minimum you need at least two sources of light – most designers would argue three.
In addition to your overhead light, consider a desk lamp. If you have extra seating, try a floor lamp or a table lamp next to the chair. If you have a bookshelf, installing lighting inside will give a great effect. Use an uplight for large trees and watch the leaf pattern dance on your walls and ceiling.
Express your personality and style in your lighting. If a banker’s desk lamp isn’t your style, pick something that is you.
7. Encourage yourself every day.
This suggestion looks different in visual form for everyone, but it is important for you to consider what inspires you.
For some, a piece of artwork of an exotic place they vacation is a motivator. For others, it’s a whiteboard or corkboard with goals, client thank you notes, and a mission statement.
Some of us are motivated by family photos or fresh flowers each week. I have also found some like to declare their business with their logo or business name.
You can also place an inspirational quote that speaks to you. Many vendors can customize a decal for you inexpensively. You can place your creation on glass, mirrors, and painted walls. Visual encouragement helps remind you of your accomplishments and goals on a daily basis.
Follow these easy tips to transform your utilitarian home office into a personalized space that inspires you every time you enter!
What’s something you love about your home office? Share with us in the comments below!
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- Can Brilliant Work-Friendly Spaces Really Emerge from a Spare Corner of Your Home?
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