Working from home may not be your ideal scenario, but it doesn't have to be a total drag. And one of the ways you can make the most out of a tough situation is by focusing on the things you can control, like making your new work space more beautiful and efficient — which you can do by putting a few expert-approved inspirational home office ideas into practice.
Not everyone has the luxury of enough space to have a formal home office, but with a little creativity even a small desk in your living room can become a place that's not only conducive to getting work done, but one where you'll actually enjoy spending part of your day. However, before even getting into tips on the decorative aspects of your new office, there's one factor that is of utmost importance, and that's trying to maintain some sense of separation between work and regular life.
"Creating an environment where you feel inspired and can focus is essential — a physical space where you are not interrupted, a space where you work that is separate from where you 'live'," says mindset coach and author Tracy Litt, who recommends creating — and sticking to — certain boundaries to avoid distractions and maintain a routine.
Additionally, to maintain balance as well as improve productivity, Litt believes that work breaks are essential — in all environments, but this is especially true when the lines are blurred between home and work. "I recommend taking a mental break every 60 minutes," she says. "Pause, do some deep breathing, get up from your chair, and stretch. You can walk out your front door and simply breathe in the fresh air and take in the beauty of the ordinary miracles around you."
Once you've gotten those logistics covered, Litt adopts a Kondo-esque policy in terms of your physical/aesthetic setup. "When creating a designated space, fill it with only things you love," she says. "Things that bring you joy and help you feel inspired." And according to Sybille Zimmermann, Founder and Interior Architect for Studio Zimmermann, that could mean something as simple as a scented candle. But there's more where that tip came from: Read ahead for the design pro's full list of suggestions for the best ways to spruce up your home office into a more joy-filled space.
Incorporate Personal Objects
"First and foremost, make the space reflect your personality, and surround yourself with things that inspire you and bring you joy," says Zimmermann. "I like to keep a piece of art from my seven-year-old daughter in rotation and use ceramic pots or beautiful vases to hold my pens and rulers — even an old tin cookie box your parents brought back from a trip can help make the environment feel less sterile."
Bring In Nature
"If you can, set your desk up in front of a window, so when your eyes get tired of looking at the screen you can look outside and give them a well deserved rest," advises the interior designer. "Even better, bring nature inside with a pretty vase filled with fresh cut flowers from your yard or a potted plant."
Create A Comfy Zone
"If you have room, configure your space to have a corner area with a comfortable lounge chair, so you can move around a bit to help break up the day," says Zimmermann. That said, she also notes that comfort shouldn't be limited to your "break" areas. "One item that I don’t recommend skimping on is a proper office chair," she adds. "Whether it's a classic Eames chair or something from Ikea, buy a chair that works for you — period."
Customize Your Lighting
Leave the overhead lighting back in your former office. Zimmermann suggests using your lighting as a way of personalizing the space — and getting creative with it. "Instead of a task light, use a decorative table lamp that fits your decor," she says. "If you don't have a lot of desk space and want to keep it uncluttered, there are so many awesome decorative wall sconces available that plug-in."
Collect Inspiring Imagery On A Corkboard
"A corkboard to keep important memos, notes or personal vision board is a nice way to help keep yourself inspired," Zimmermann offers. "If corkboard isn’t your style, wrap it in a fabric that complements the rest of the space."
Add A Little Ambience
Don't underestimate the power of a beautiful scented candle to make you feel soothed or transported. "I always have an aromatherapy candle on my desk," says Zimmermann. "On those gloomy days when I’m feeling a little less motivated, I light a candle and it fills the air with a subtle aroma that helps raise my spirits."