As hard as it is to believe, it’s been more than a year now since working from home became the norm for much of the world. Unfortunately, that means it’s also probably been more than a year since you hastily created a makeshift home office and promised yourself you’d fix it up later. And though many are returning to the office as aspects of life transition back to normalcy, there’s no denying that the way we work has changed forever; for many, going back to a physical work place five days a week will never be a reality again. If that’s true for you, it’s probably about time to give your home office a refresh.
Sure, that may seem like a frivolous thing to do for some. After all, it’s easy to think of it as simply a place to plop your laptop and take Zoom calls — why does it deserve any more energy than that? But as Gail Davis, principal designer and owner of Gail Davis Designs, notes, it’s also somewhere you likely spend a lot of time, and creating a more enjoyable place to work can actually be a gift to yourself. “Make your home office an inviting spot that you wouldn't mind being in for a few hours,” she advises. “It is important to surround yourself with a positive, uplifting space.”
Where to begin? Ahead, Davis and other interior designers break down their top tips for giving a home office a fresh look. Keep scrolling to find how to implement them, and shop TZR’s favorite products to help you bring their suggestions to life.
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Update Your Background
Since many meetings are continuing to take place in the home, Marina Hanisch of Marina Hanisch Interiors recommends starting your refresh by updating the camera’s viewpoint — aka the focal point people see while you’re on camera. “Adding shelving is a great place to start,” she says. “It is functional and a space where you can display art, decor, and neatly hide away your office necessities.”
Re-Purpose Your Accessories
Refreshing any space sounds expensive, but according to Hanisch, you actually don’t have to spend a dime. Instead of heading to the store, just shop your home. “You would be surprised to see how your room is reinvented just by reframing artwork and swapping around decor from room to room.” Davis agrees, and says that she specifically switches artwork and lighting when she feels like she’s taking it for granted. “It allows you to have fresh eyes and perspective.”
“Even the most beautifully designed spaces lose their radiance when they are overloaded,” says Hanisch, who explains that clutter is a common “mistake” she recommends fixing when refreshing a home office. Christine Markatos Lowe of Christine Markatos Design echoes this as well. “De-cluttering a work space just takes time to work through and helps to create a clean, new environment,” she tells TZR.
Don’t wait until you’ve completely updated your office to do this, either. “You can't start changing things until you go through what is around you,” says Davis. “I always purge before I start designing in my home.”
Replace Old Lighting
Another “mistake” designers recommend fixing when refreshing your home office? “Cute-sy” lighting that doesn’t actually serve you, says Davis. “Get yourself proper lighting [so] that you can really see your work and not have your eyes straining,” she advises.
Switch Up Your Layout
If you’ve never considered how you work in your space, Lowe says now is the time. For example, do you typically work at a desk, or do you also like to work while lounging? “If multiple spots are needed for working, [rethink] the room layout in order to provide those areas,” she explains. “Even changing the direction that someone faces in a room can make for an impactful update.”
Try A New Color Scheme
Looking to freshen up your space with a new trend? Lowe, Hanisch, and Davis suggest adding color — though in slightly different ways. For Hanisch, that means incorporating a monochrome or monotone color scheme. “Composing a space in one color story creates a visual effect layered with depth and complexity, such that the room continues to open up and stimulate your senses,” she says. “All while remaining clean and pared down.”
Alternatively, Lowe and Davis recommend adding wallpaper, which they say brings a new mood to a room. “It livens up the space and can work double-duty for those Zoom calls,” says Davis.