1. Space or Room
When adding a home office you must first choose where you will put it. There are many options. You could add a home office in the basement, garage, or in the attic. You can also share a room, such as using a corner of the bedroom or kitchen. The ideal home office, however, is in a spare room of its own. List where you could put your home office and weigh the pros and cons. Think about where the best place would be for you to work from home. Factor in outside noise, neighbor noise, daylight, windows, and more. Take everything into consideration.
Next, choose a style for your home office that is functional. The style should be part minimalist, which means you need not add anything unnecessary to it, and you should always utilize the most optimal organization. Infuse your personality into the style you choose. Some home office styles include colorful, outdoorsy, modern, techie, or even industrial influences.
3. Furniture Setup
This is where your planning really comes in when adding a home office. Where will you put everything? Before you begin moving your furniture into the space or room, draw a layout plan. Make the most of the space you have to work with. Grab some drawing paper and a pencil and sketch a bird's eye view of the soon-to-be home office. Mark where there are cable outputs, phone jacks, and outlets. Make several sketches of where you could put your desk, file storage, bookcase, etc. and choose the one that best suits you and your work style. Make sure you measure first!
Being well-organized saves time and aggravation. Use bookshelves, cubbies, baskets, totes, and wall shelves to store your work items. Don't go all out and splurge on too many storage helpers. Figure out what you need to organize (papers, magazines, office supplies, drawing materials, etc.) and choose your organizing products accordingly. Organization is part decluttering. Don't accumulate things you do not need in your home office. Abide by the ultimate organization rule – everything must have a home and be in its home when not in use. This is also the hard work part, because it is time to move everything into your new home office space.
This is where you get to really make the home office your own. Paint your favorite color on the walls. Add a plant or two. Hang up a motivational painting or poster. Think about what will make you smile and be ready to work when you walk into the room. What will inspire you? What do you like to look at?
Low lighting can affect work in a negative way. You will need enough light in order to work well and with ease. A desk lamp will help illuminate your core work area so you can focus on what needs to be done. There are a wide variety of desk lamps on the market and you can find one that fits your office's style and design.
Exposed cables and wires are not attractive and can equal clutter. They easily get tangled and unorganized, but there are plenty of things to help you keep them in check. Peruse your local office supply store. You can use cable ties to keep them together so they are not splayed out. If you have a label machine, use it to print out "monitor", "printer", etc. and wrap it around the appropriate cables and wires. This will help you locate them easily.
Privacy is necessary when working from home. There are far too many distractions from home life that can easily get mixed up with work life. If you have an entire room for adding a home office you can simply shut the door when you are working. Let your family know that you are not to be bothered when the door is closed. If you are sharing your home office with another room, consider a room divider.
Adding a home office means you can create some inspiration instead of dealing with a dull cubicle. Use whatever inspires you. Here are some examples to get your creativity flowing:
- Listen to music
- Create a collage
- Keep a collection of your favorite books
Your home office should be up and ready to go, and that means getting to work. Within days you might find that your file cabinet works better on the other side of your desk. Go ahead and move it. Planning ahead helps you avoid moving your entire office, but you can customize it to fit your needs now. Personalize your work space and get productive.
"10 Tips for Designing Your Home Office" published by HGTV
"21 Ideas for Organizing Your Home Office" published by Real Simple Magazine
"9 Thrifty Home Office Ideas" published by Better Homes and Gardens