If you’re looking to spruce up your dreary home office and create a more inspiring environment, then rest easy – it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg! Read on for some budget ideas that will have a transformative effect…
The most important factors to bear in mind when considering what to do with your home office are comfort and productivity.
Comfort is crucial because you’re going to be spending much of your working time in this space, so you need to feel at ease both physically and mentally. This includes safeguarding yourself from repetitive strain injuries.
Investing in ergonomic equipment like a sturdy office chair that offers back and arm support, or a laptop stand, will help keep aches and pains at bay so that time in the office isn’t a miserable experience.
And don’t forget your lower half! Laying thick carpet or rugs in your new office means that your feet have something warm and cosy to rest on. When it’s cold in winter, feeling snug in your office will give you the energy and incentive to carry on. Some low-cost options include making your own rugs from carpet offcuts or investing in cork flooring.
Choosing darker paint colours, such as blues and greys, for the walls and ceiling can also imbue the space with a soothing, comfy atmosphere.
One thing it’s worth paying a bit extra for is a big desk. If you’re working from home, it’s bound to fill up fast with documents, stationery, computer equipment, mugs of tea and who knows what else. Having a larger surface area will help to keep things manageable and orderly. You don’t want chaos to set in if you can help it – it’ll only lead to stress and a blow to your mental health.
Another way to cut down on clutter is to install some proper storage space, such as desk trays and shelves within easy reach of where you’re sitting. That way, you can keep everything you might need both orderly and at arm’s length to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
There are lots of inexpensive ways to keep your home office environment cheerful and uplifting.
Buying some pot plants is a good start. Not only do they add life and colour to a room but watching them grow as a result of your care and attention is bound to give a sense of wellbeing. Of course, if you’re prone to forgetfulness or don’t want the hassle, then buying realistic-looking fake plants can have a similar effect while involving less fuss.
Wall art will also bring style and vibrancy to an office space. If you’re feeling more sentimental, framed photographs of loved ones and favourite holidays or special occasions can be the mood lifter you need during a stressful workday.
And there’s absolutely no harm in decorating your new office with personal belongings that have no work function at all. Whether it’s a souvenir from a treasured holiday or a prized piece of sports or movie memorabilia, these keepsakes will make the space feel personal to you and like more than a cold and anonymous work room.
Another very important visual feature is the lighting. If your office space has few windows and doesn’t get much natural light, it could feel gloomy and depressing. The answer is to invest in proper illumination, like desk lamps or overhead lighting. Bright lighting – without being too glaring – aids concentration and energy levels.
Caffeine boosts are an important part of many people’s workday, so why not save yourself endless trips to the kitchen by installing a hidden hot drinks bar? If you conceal your kettle or coffee machine, cups and utensils in a cupboard, then it can be hidden away when not in use, mixing professionalism with convenience.
An accent wall could be a further fun addition. There are lots of options for what to do with it, from a striking and colourful wallpaper design to a pegboard on which you can display stationery and books, or framed photographs. Or why not a large chalkboard calendar on which you can keep track of your monthly schedule and appointments?
There are also countless options for the kind of furniture you choose, depending on taste and budget. If you’re looking for something distinctive, antique furniture and old books will give a retro feel, while acrylic chairs and desks are an effective and trendy way of cultivating a modern vibe.
If you can’t spare a whole room for a home office, then installing a secretary desk in a corner of your living room or a bedroom might be a workable solution. The great thing about these desks is that they can be closed up and hidden away when not in use, which keeps the space from feeling cramped. A ladder desk is a similar space-saving alternative.
Alternatively, if you’ve got a closet that’s not really getting much use, why not remove the doors and turn it into a snug workstation? With a few decorative touches, like light fittings and wallpaper or paint, it will hold its own against a larger office space. Hanging a mirror can also help to give a greater sense of size and roominess to a humble closet office.
Another option is to have a dual-purpose space, such as a room that doubles as an office during the week and an entertainment room or children’s playroom at the weekends. A little lateral thinking can go a long way when it comes to maximising the use of space in your home.
For some more home office decoration ideas, check out this Good Housekeeping guide: