Whether it’s temporary or permanent, your home is your office. It may not feel that way, though — and that’s a mistake for your mindset and productivity levels.
Having a designated office space gives you the mental division you need between your home and professional lives. As soon as you sit at your desk, your mind switches onto the day’s tasks. That’s all fine and well, of course, but you want more than just a backdrop for a day’s worth of productivity — you want a beautiful space, too.
Here are six ways to get both — a comfortable office and a workspace that works for you:
1. Choose the Right Location
Location is key when it comes to creating a home office. You can’t just spread across the kitchen table or curl up on the sofa. Instead, you have to choose a free corner of your home, set up a desk and make it into an office. This step is one of the main ones in boosting your productivity while working from home — that’s how important it is.
If you’re lucky enough to have a guest room, consider having it double as your office. Otherwise, find an open corner somewhere that’s as low-traffic as possible. That way, you have some division from the rest of your home’s activity.
Seek a space with lots of natural light, if possible. The glow will only enhance what you do with your workspace. On the other hand, Harvard Business Review found a space sans sunshine made workers feel gloomy and tired — and that’s not the vibe you want from your home office.
2. Invest in the Essentials
Now that you have the spot picked out, you can select the furniture you need to make it an office. You’ll need a desk, as well as a comfortable, ergonomic chair.
If your job requires a computer, your company probably will have provided one for you. Place it right in the middle of your desk as a reminder of your main focus while you sit there — it’s a workspace. You can maintain that mindset by using it only during working hours.
On that note, try not to jumble personal and professional items on your new desk. For example, you grab the mail and toss it there to open later. Choose another spot for it — your desk is for work only.
3. Pick Your Palette
The wrong paint color can leave you feeling uninspired in your workspace. Fortunately, there are some hues proven to be perfect for an office. For instance, blue can stimulate your communication skills and boost your efficiency. Yellow in a large room can stoke creativity, but it can cause you to feel stressed in a smaller space.
You might not have the luxury of having an office space to paint. If that’s the case, place your desk in a room with the perfect palette, or hang some colorful wall art over your desk.
4. Cut the Clutter
You can make any space look better by removing excess items. In your workspace, though, this step is especially important. It turns out that clutter clouds your brain and distracts your focus.
Clean out your office — or the room in which you’ve set up your workspace. Remove the items you no longer use and either prepare them for donation or recycle them. Reorganize what’s left in an aesthetically pleasing way so your brain won’t be on high alert. Instead, it will be able to hone in on your responsibilities and get it all done.
5. Cultivate an Indoor Garden
When you rent an office space, you have to stick to building rules. When you work from home, though, you can decorate your office however you want. That means you can make your workspace an indoor garden if you desire — and there are plenty of reasons to put your green thumb to work.
For one thing, plants provide your office with an instant burst of color and freshness. Most houseplant varieties won’t flower, but they come in every shade of green. Layer a few different ones to add some interest to your palette.
Apart from that, you will feel happy just having houseplants in your vicinity. Studies have shown that people with plants on their desks get more done than those with stark workspaces. They also help purify the air, helping you to breathe easier, too. If you’re limited on outside time, then a bit of foliage can give you that fresh-air feeling.
Finish the project by placing your houseplants in decorative pots. Colorful planters can take your office decor up yet another notch, so shop around for the perfect containers.
6. Make It Yours
Everyone’s design sense is different, as is their decorating budget. Still, you should take some time to decorate your office space to make it feel like yours. Houseplants are a good start, of course, but you have so many options when it comes to desk design.
You could frame some of your favorite photos to look at while you work. Maybe you have a favorite scent — purchase a candle or diffuser so you can enjoy it all day. Wall art, curtains, a rug, a desk lamp — all of these accessories can completely revolutionize your home office.
Get to Work
Working from home doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your routine or productivity. Instead, you can create a dedicated office space that’ll spur you on every day of the week. With these tips, you’ll strike the perfect balance between professional and comfortable. You’ll look forward to going to work each morning — and making it happen from home.
Lexie is a digital nomad and graphic designer. If she’s not traveling to various parts of the country, you can find her at the local flea markets or hiking with her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.