The greatest thing about decorating your home office is that you don’t have to play by the rules. Mundane filing cabinets need not apply. Drab grey walls should be outsourced. And, standard-issued furniture can take an indefinite leave of absence. Here are seven easy ways to re-invent your home office into a chic example of style at work.
1. Make Your Space Work for You
Re-assess your space to make sure it’s working for you. Does your home office take up the entire basement or does it comprise of a small computer desk and hutch in the kitchen? Do you need a lot of computer equipment or can a laptop and a small printer do the job? Do you want the space to be incorporated into your home’s existing décor or do you need something more official-looking in case potential clients drop in? If you take the time to figure out what you want from your space, it will make decorating it that much easier.
2. Colour Code Your Mood
Thank goodness you’re not stuck with boring, grey, cubicle walls. Paint your home office a vibrant colour to spark your energy and creativity. Orange evokes vibrancy, green lends a serene feeling and blue is calming and restful. Fabric panels can also alter the look if you’re not able to paint. This is a good time to find old pillowcases or blankets that have been damaged or stained, but you loved too much to toss out. Just cut them into equal-sized panels, spray glue the edges for an instant hem and put them up on the walls with peel and stick Velcro or frame them and hang them on the walls for instant art. You can change the panels with your mood and keep your work environment new and interesting every week.
3. Furniture Redux
It’s okay to think outside the box when it comes to furnishing your home office, in fact, not using traditional office furniture will go a long way in making it more chic. For instance, your desk doesn’t have to be a desk at all. An ornate side table with Queen-Anne legs and fancy millwork makes a sophisticated statement. Boring bookcases can be given new life with a few coats of paint and the addition of tone-on-tone wallpaper panels. Buy a wallpaper sample book from your local décor shop or pick up simply patterned contact paper. Ditch the swivel chair and replace it with one from your dining set or a second-hand rocker that can be easily slip-covered and voila—a new way to work.
4. Light the Right Way
You’d be surprised how dramatically you can alter the look of a room, just by using strategic lighting. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a window in the space, you’ll have to bring in some outside workers, such as table lamps, floor lamps, task lights and accent lights. Working at a computer for hours on end and poring over endless reports can be hard on the eyes. To avoid the strain, have a light above or on either side of your computer. Then consider a chic table lamp, like a Tiffany-style reproduction or an ultra modern stainless steel lamp to use for tasks such as writing and reading.
5. Stay Stylishly Organized
Of course the big box office stores have a large selection of storage items and plastic filing bins and the like, but your budget department store, dollar store or thrift shop sells wicker baskets, graphic printed trays and an array of mugs that make equally great storage containers that are a lot more visually interesting. The pockets of hanging canvas shoe caddies are great for visual learners because you can keep your pens, markers, scissors and other stationary close at hand without adding to the clutter. Small decorative boxes are great organizational aids inside of drawers for paper clips, push pins and other small items.
6. Get Artsy with Accessories
Take a trip to your local art gallery or museum and find unique desk accessories, calendars, stationary and posters. You can score even greater deals on promotional items designed for shows that recently closed or have already moved on to another city. Do you really care if the exhibit on French Impressionist painters is fini? At least you get that gorgeous water lilies poster at a discount! If you don’t have a gallery or museum in your city, try ordering online from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
7. Personally Yours
This is your chance to go crazy with family pictures and candid snapshots of your puppy. Add a homage to your favourite vacation spot on your computer desktop and keep a CD player nearby to play your favourite tracks when you need an impromptu boogie break. Keep notes and cards from loved ones nearby as well as thank you notes from clients for inspiration. Finally, keep a few scented candles or incense nearby for a lovely scent that will keep you in a happy mood and make you a happy worker bee.