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Set Up for Success: What to consider for an at-home office

By: Jessica Meszaros


An at-home office should serve as a functional yet comfortable space that facilitates productivity.

What’s not to like about working from home? The hours are flexible and it’s the shortest commute in the world. Working from home can be a liberating experience that allows for more hands-on control and flexible scheduling for family and friends. However, the freedom can lead to falling behind or poor time management from the lack of a specified, home office space.

An at-home office should serve as a functional yet comfortable space that facilitates productivity. Here are some tips on how to create a practical work space at home without compromising on design.

Consider your needs.

Home offices don’t adhere to traditional business hours, meaning they’ll be used at all times of the day. Whether you’re working before dawn or burning the midnight oil, make sure the location of the office lends itself to frequent usage. Don’t stiff on space or try to squeeze into an extra, rarely-used guestroom. Also consider traffic flow around the space and your ability to work with distractions. A home office near a backyard or busy street might not be the best for workers who are prone to becoming easily distracted. If clients will be stopping by, a private space with ample seating is necessary. For some, a whole home addition or renovation may be the best course of action to create the perfect long-term space.

Get a paint job.

Beige and eggshell may be safe choices, but for an at-home office, the walls should be a color that sparks inspiration. For some people, that may mean energizing shades of orange or bright green. Others may derive better focus from calming hues of lavender or sky blue. Professional paint crews can also help select colors and paint finishes that might work best for a room’s size or lighting options.

Invest in good furniture.

Look for pieces that are both attractive and functional. Home office furniture should also complement other rooms. If a home has traditional décor, warm wood accents and quilted seating can personalize the space without compromising professionalism. A contemporary home office can feature more modern metal furniture, minimalist lighting or industrial assets.

Take a seat.

Hours working means hours sitting. Look into purchasing an ergonomically-correct, comfortable desk chair for long days. For healthy-minded individuals, consider alternatives like standing desks or even treadmill desks to keep the mind and the body sharp.

Give yourself a view.

Arrange office furniture to make sure there’s a pleasing view. Utilize any available windows or natural light as a way to bring the outdoors inside for the occasional glances up from the computer screen. Ample lighting also helps minimize headaches and eye strain from working long hours in front of a screen. Some offices may benefit from adding windows, or even a skylight, to help light up dark spaces. For spaces where natural lighting isn’t an option, invest in fixtures that can fake the appearance. Look for bulb buzzwords like “White Light” and “Indoor Sunshine.”

Organize from the top-down.

Most home offices have smaller square footage, so efficiency with space is imperative. Many hardware or home decorator stores provide multi-tasking shelving and other organizational options for home office. Installations like floating shelves can help get office clutter off the desk and file cabinets, and small items like vertical file folders can help keep important files within easy reach. Cube storage provides a fun spin on more classic, office-type bookshelves.

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