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Too often, creating a functional home office ends up at the bottom of our to-do lists. Most of us would rather put work out of our minds entirely than spend time and money designing a space where it’s the primary focus. However, we’d argue that neglecting this room is a mistake. Home offices don’t have to be boring and, when put together with your unique needs in mind, they can become a tool that boosts your productivity.
If you’re ready to give your workspace a chance, take a look below. We’ve pulled together our favorite tips for creating a fabulous and functional home office. If you put our advice to the test, your office just might become your new favorite room in your home.
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Splurge on seating
It may seem strange that we’ve made seating the first point on our list, but think of it this way: Like it or not, the office chair is where we spend the bulk of our day. According to a 2013 survey commissioned by Ergotron, a company well-known for producing office furniture, workers — and Americans in particular — are prone to sitting for up to 13 hours per day.
With staggering numbers like these, it’s critical to make sure your office chair is properly fitted to your body. If not, continually sitting in an uncomfortable position can lead to short-term pain and long-term health problems. Your best bet is to invest in an ergonomic chair with customization options. Ideally, you should search for a chair that allows you to sit comfortably with straight shoulders and offers plenty of lumbar support.
The room’s supplemental seating is where you can really let your sense of personal style shine. Consider adding a chair or two opposite your desk that allows you to welcome visitors. Alternatively, you could add an accent chair and bookcase in a cozy corner of the room.
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Add plenty of lighting
It goes without saying that if you’re planning on working long hours, you need enough light to ensure you won’t strain your eyes. To do this effectively, use a mixture of lighting types to fill every corner of the room. As an added bonus, including a variety of light sources gives you more control over the room’s ambiance.
If you’re new to lighting — or need a refresher — here’s an overview of the different types you can include:
- Ambient: Lighting that’s used to fill most of the room, usually from overhead
- Accent: A light fixture used to highlight a specific feature like a bookcase, fireplace or piece of art
- Task: Light fixtures for a specific purpose like a desk lamp
For best results, try to include at least one example of each of these types of lighting in your home office. And feel free to add more, if needed. In this case, it’s better to err on the side of too many light sources than not enough.
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Take organization seriously
There’s no bigger impediment to productivity than a messy desk that’s hidden under a mountain of paperwork. Do yourself a favor while you’re setting up your home office and put organizational systems in place that are easy to use and suit your unique needs.
Before you make any purchases, sit down and think about the items you need to store. Is your workload mostly document-driven or do you need room to stow bulkier items like art supplies? Then, be honest with yourself about your organizational abilities. Are you the sort of person who can keep open shelving looking neat or would you prefer the ability to keep your office’s inner workings hidden from view?
Once you have a firm idea of the kind of organization you need, do your research. Search sites like Freshome for design inspiration and then shop around. Look for items that fit your budget, your room dimensions and your aesthetic.
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Don’t forget personality
Last but not least, your office needs a healthy dose of personality. Do your best to make the space feel like your own by infusing it with plenty of personal touches. With any luck, this effort will help make your time spent in the office that much more enjoyable.
Here, your color palette is your most powerful tool. One of interior design’s best-kept secrets is that a fresh coat of paint is the best way to give a room a makeover. Choose a color you love, even if it’s a little outside the box, and then choose bold, coordinating accent colors.
Then, it’s time to tackle your accessories. Don’t be afraid to add a sense of comfort into the room through textiles like rugs, throw pillows and blankets. Adorn the walls with plenty of art and feel free to indulge in a few décor items. These little aesthetic pieces are perfect additions to built-ins and shelving.
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Home offices don’t have to be boring. In fact, with the help of a few personal touches, they can become spaces that are as useful as they are fashionable. If you’re ready to give your workspace a chance, keep these tips close. Consider this your guide for creating a home office that is equal parts fabulous and functional.
How did you put together your home office? Do you have any additional tips to share? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.