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Having a home office means you have to strike the fragile balance between aesthetic appeal and distraction-free productivity. The trickiest part of having a home office is setting boundaries between your personal and professional life that should ideally not blur at any cost.
In a way, it is challenging to create a space with a professional vibe within your home – where the larger vibe is fun, comfort and warmth. At the same time, you need to keep your home office lively enough to make you want to work from there. Decorating your home office correctly could have a massive impact on your productivity and mental health.
Having said that, there’s no denying that this can be as challenging a task as it is rewarding.
Here are a few tips to help you sail through the creation of your dedicated workspace:
Photo by Slava Keyzman on Unsplash
Organize and Pulverize
It is the mantra, the reinforcement that will be needed from the point you begin decorating your home office to … well, forever. The importance of staying organised can never be overstated.
The disheartening bit in this is that home offices can get messy and it can spiral down from there fairly quickly. Documents, files and folders can pile up one upon another.
Your drawers can overflow. The knee-jerk reaction would be to get more organisational cabinets, bins and drawers and other storage solutions. A reckless purchase will add to your problem and make your office cramped and ugly without you even realising. Invest in sturdy and solid storage cabinets so you do not fall into this temptation of hoarding more of what was supposed to solve the hoarding problem.
It might also help to start with just the fundamental things and build it up as you go.
The KonMari Method
Experience the life-changing magic of tidying up. Declutter.
Minimalism is as simple as that, but in practice, it can be an exhausting exercise. But your future self will thank you for painstakingly going through your clutter and getting rid of the superfluous things.
Once your home office is set up and you have clarity about your priorities, you will realise that there’s a different and more productive use of the space for you.
Photo by Viktor Talashuk on Unsplash
The way to keep your workspace optimal for both storage and an effective working area is by installing furniture on the walls.
Think in terms of floating shelves, wall cabinets, and holders. Try and make use of the entire expanse of the height of your walls and arrange the storage in a meaningful way.
Let’s explain what ‘meaningful’ would mean: One, if you have multiple levels of storage, make sure the one on top (meaning the least accessible one) has things you may not often need. Store the daily tools in the storage that levels to your height.
Two, ‘meaningful’ could translate as things you consider important versus things that can easily go into the trash. Do you need print-outs when you can have digital files for the same?
Your home office is yours. You can design it the way you feel most comfortable. Have it reflect your personality.
One of the perks of working from home is being able to adjust the lighting and furniture the way you find fit. You can add a tinge of fluorescent to the walls or to the lights if that is what kicks off the creative and analytical energy in you. Or you can choose to install windows and have natural lighting serve you for a major part of your day.
Next, custom-built furniture can help define and refine a space where everything is meticulously placed. Your furniture should also blend well with your professional requirements. If you are a writer, you may want a couch by the window side to read up every now and then. If you are an artist or illustrator, your need for a desk will shadow every other piece of furniture. If you are a digital marketer, you might be looking at nothing more than the basic desk-chair combination.
Even in the choice of your furniture, you need to add some spunk. Opt for a quirky sidepiece or couch or a beanbag to complete the look.
Photo by Henry McIntosh on Unsplash
Let There Be Light
You can choose to have a bulb hanging up on the roof, have a table lamp, or even rely on gigantic windows for natural light. All of these alternatives can even be synchronised, but remember two things: Firstly, the lighting should be optimal for a conducive work environment.
Secondly, you are likely to be attending video calls and webinars and video conferences in this very room. It is imperative to have a lighting arrangement that doesn’t leave eerie shadows and that doesn’t reflect on your computer/laptop screens. Keep it chic and practical but make it well-lit.
Paint It Red
Or any colour you feel suits your work. People working in creative jobs seek inspiration in the barest of walls. You can even take the offbeat path and opt for a glass wall – it could double up as a pinboard for your post-it notes during one of those brainstorming sessions.
If you choose to keep it conventional, however, make sure you choose the right colours – warm hues can be nice, but greys could get too boring. Do not crowd the walls by hanging multiple posters, artworks etc. Pick one artwork that can define the vibe of your office room.
Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash
Catch And Discard The Cord Clutter
We can talk all about decorating our home offices but the moment you set to work with your laptop, wires dangling from its side as it charges on a plug station that has three other devices charging alongside, all aesthetic senses go down the drain.
Digital technology has made remote work possible but it also brings clutter of its own. A computer, a printer, a tablet or laptop and your internet router are essential items, but they are also enough to create electric clutter.
Of course, we cannot get rid of the charging cables and USB wires, but we can be sneaky and work around them.
Here are your options to deal with this. One, you can get under-desk wire trays for the wires. This way you can protect the wires and extension cords etc from damage, wear and tear while also having a clean desk to yourself.
Another option is using cable ties and hooks to keep the cords intact. You can also tape them together, but that would likely create much more of a mess in the long-run.
The Extras Count
Incorporate little items to give your home office a personal touch.
Add indoor plants, or throw pillows or a bookshelf with all your favourite reads.
You need non-work-related things to create a pleasing atmosphere. Keep your knickknacks corralled. Put up quirky keyholders. A colourful pen holder. A stationery kit. These little things can go a long way in keeping your desk and office clean and by extension, beautiful.
In the end, what matters is that you express your authentic self through your home office. Once you feel at home, you will feel productive at your home office too.
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