Home & Garden

How to make your home office inspiring, functional

Clear the clutter from your home office.
Clear the clutter from your home office. Courtesy of Getty Images

Life in the 21st century has its perks. One is the ability to work from virtually anywhere. If you’ve successfully convinced your boss to let you log more hours from home this year, you'll want a killer workspace to match.

Don’t let your home office become the dumping ground for all unwanted furniture and decor accessories. If you’re going to really us it this year, make the space inspiring and functional. Here our some top tips for upgrading your home office.

1. Clear the clutter

Most of us are guilty as charged: Clutter accumulates throughout the year, be it unfiled paperwork, fabric samples or dried-out pens. Before anything else, sweep your space clean and start fresh.

2. Get organized

After getting rid of all the excess clutter, find an organizing system that works for you. Make sure that everything that might end up in your office is accounted for: bills, important paperwork, magazines, office supplies. Store each item in its appropriate bin, box, container or tray.

3. Pay attention to the view

There’s nothing more uninspiring than staring at a white wall all day. Is there room to rearrange the furniture for your desk to face a window? If there isn’t, consider artwork or even a mirror to hang above your desk and reflect the window behind you. Just make sure to hang it high enough that you don’t end up staring at yourself all day long.

4. Make your layout multipurpose

In many homes, the office sometimes doubles as a guest room, media room or den. Setting up your desk across from the sofa or bed will serve as double duty for TV watching. With that setup, you can either stream Netflix from a desktop computer or mount a TV on the wall behind the desk.

5. Build it in or tuck it away

Not everyone has the luxury of having a full room dedicated to a home office. When dealing with an open workspace, sometimes the best solution is to create a desk space within a built-in storage wall to keep clutter at bay.

6. Float your desk

Does your work involve a lot of client visits at home? Or maybe you like having your spourse or kids pop in and chat while you work? If so, consider floating your desk in the middle of the room and adding in one or two guest chairs. This layout is much more sociable and open.

7. Creat continuity

When creating an office space for both you and your significant other, creating continuity helps keep a sense of order in the space. Try to match desks, chairs and lamps, and keep individual clutter tucked away.

8. Use the wall behind your desk

Installing bookshelves behind your desk is possibly one of the most practical changes you can make in your home office. Think about it: A quick roll around and you have access to all your important files.

9. Check your lighting

During the day, you'll want your computer screen facing away from a window to avoid the daylight glare. At night, make sure you have a good task lamp to keep you burning the midnight oil while keeping your eyesight in check.

10. Take a lesson in ergonomics

OK, you don’t need a full lesson in ergonomics, but there are a few guidelines you should follow. Your chair should provide adequate back support to allow you to keep your back and shoulders straight. Your feet should be flat on the floor. Your elbows should be at a 90-degree bend and align with your hands on the keyboard (anything less can strain your wrists). Your eyes should level with the top third of the screen, and don’t forget to take occasional breaks.

11. Get inspired

If you work in a creative field (and if you’re working from home, chances are you do), you know the importance of finding inspiration on a daily basis. Surround yourself with objects and images that get your creative juices flowing.

12. Add interest with art

We often favor our common living spaces when it comes to buying art: the entrance hall, the living room and the dining room get priority treatment, often simply because that’s where the art will be seen the most. But if you’re going to start spending more time in your home office, make a point to start an art collection for your workspace. It’s the perfect room to experiment with edgier and more affordable art.