There’s some obvious benefits to working out of your home office: you can set your own hours, wear PJs all day, and have a lot more control over your workday. But there’s some definite downsides as well—whether it’s your cats wanting a cuddle or those dirty dishes calling to you from the sink, there are plenty of distractions around the homestead. Thankfully, great home office design can help you focus.
The right home office setup will improve productivity, and give you the space and energy to work on more important things, like building your online portfolio website so you can land more clients. Gotta find some way to pay for that new roof somehow! (Don’t have an online portfolio yet? Just find a website builder that can create a professional online portfolio in minutes, so you can focus on the big picture. Check out our guide on how to showcase your best work on your site.)
Looking for some home office ideas? Here are some tips for designing your home office that are sure to keep you focused on what really matters.
Home Office Design
Make sure your home office is as separate as possible from the rest of your home. While it’s important to make your home office cozy and welcoming, it should be designed to bring your focus back to the work you’re doing.
Home Office Organization
The key to home office organization? Keep it tidy. When you go to your home office to start work for the day and the space is cluttered and messy, you’re more likely to find somewhere else to work (like the couch, or even your bed). This can lead to your brain associating a variety of spaces in your home as workspaces, which makes it more difficult to separate your work life from your home life, a necessity for maintaining good mental health.
Home Office Setup
Everything in your home office should be functional, and organized with productivity in mind. Here are a few tips for an optimal home office setup:
As a creative, you probably end up splitting your time between hands-on artistic creation and admin work. If you have the space, it may make sense to keep these two areas separate from one another. For example, you could keep your easel and paints in one corner, and your desk—set up with your computer and files—in another corner.
If you don’t have the room for two separate work areas, separate the two in your mind by completely clearing your workspace before shifting to a different type of work. This can mean putting away your drawing supplies before getting your laptop set up for an invoicing session. The simple act of keeping these two types of work separate can help you to focus in on your current task rather than having a bunch of things racing around your head when you need to concentrate.
Have a bunch of little social media shoots coming up? Maybe you need to photograph your new line of crafts to sell in your online store. Consider painting one wall a rich shade that photographs well, or install a few different photo backdrops. Just make sure your color choice reflects the hues in brand guidelines!
Small Home Office Ideas
We don’t all have a ton of space in our homes to dedicate to a home office, so making the most of the space you do have is key. Here are some space-saving ideas:
Make use of smart design options, like this chair and table system that folds away onto the wall like a murphy bed. This is also a great way to keep your work life separate from your home life—only fold it down when you are ready to get to work!
Increase your storage space by installing shelving wherever you can fit it. Take a good look at the space you’ve set aside for your home office, and identify areas that can accommodate your various needs. If the square footage of your home office is limited, consider putting in storage higher up on the wall, so it doesn’t cut into your work area but still provides the storage space you need.
Get crafty when it comes to deciding where in your home to locate your office. Do you have a guestroom whose only guests are your skis and old yearbooks? Maybe there’s a nook next to your washer and dryer, or even an unused corner of the basement. If your only option is to convert a small part of your main living area into your home office, make sure to face your desk against the wall rather than looking out into the room at all of the potential distractions that can take your attention away from your goals.
Home Office Cabinets and Home Office Shelving
Your home office will likely be the backdrop for some of your social media content, so you want it to look good. This is where designing the right combination of home office cabinets and home office shelving comes in! Take a peek at our pointers:
Install a cabinet with lots of storage space, drawers, and doors to cover up what you’re storing. Then, you can place some more aesthetically pleasing items on the top of your home office cabinet, while the real clutter is safely out of sight.
Got some open home office shelving? Only store the cute stuff there: stack them with design books, inspiring fabric samples, or art related curios – anything that gets you smiling. This way, you’re not annoyed by piles of ugly clutter every time you look at the wall.
Consider setting up a home office wall organizer. Having a few different writing surfaces—whiteboard, chalkboard—alongside office supply storage and some handy corkboards will free up room on your actual desk to spread out more and get creating faster.
Home Office Furniture
How do you find home office furniture that is both practical and fabulous? Here are some tips on how to pick the perfect pieces:
Home Office Desk
The ideal home office desk combines efficient design with comfort and style. Consider these questions when deciding on your perfect home office desk:
Are you a minimalist designer, or do you hoard all of the craft supplies you can find with the intention of maybe one day turning them into art? If you’re the former, you may prefer a sleek, understated desk with one or two drawers, whereas the latter type could benefit from a desk that incorporates a variety of storage options. Browse some different styles of desks in order to get a sense of what will work best for your purposes.
Are you the type of creative who prefers sitting, standing, or the option to do both? Adjustable standing desks are becoming more and more popular with the realization that sitting for too long can lead to health issues. As a creative, you might want to switch up your perspective once in a while, so consider investing in a home office desk with adjustable height.
Is your home office desk used only for computer tasks, or are you also using it as a workspace for sketching ideas, inking illustrations, or other hands-on artistic work? If you’re planning on doing artwork at your desk, a drafting table where you can adjust the angle of your desk can be a great option.
Home Office Chairs
Working in any desk chair for extended hours can do damage to your body, especially when you’re up late at night editing photo proofs or hunching over some detail work on a big art project. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time sitting in your home office chair, make sure to invest in one that is ergonomic, so you can focus on your work rather than your aching body! (And, ideally, you should try and test them out in person.) Here are some key things to look out for when choosing your home office chair:
Adjustable seat height: No two bodies are built exactly alike, so a chair with adjustable features will allow you to customize your chair to fit you perfectly. Your feet should be able to rest flat on the floor, and your knees should be slightly below your hips in order to ensure good posture through all those late night photo editing sessions!
Lumbar support: Many typical office chairs offer some sort of curved backrest to support your lumbar spine, but ideally, this feature should also be adjustable, so that you can fine-tune it to fit your body’s specific needs. Insufficient support for your lumbar spine can lead to back pain, so taking some of the pressure off will enable you to spend more time working on what you love and less time (and money!) on massage therapy for your aching back.
Swivel base: Nobody spends their entire day in their office chair just staring straight ahead in one direction. Inevitably, you will find yourself moving and rotating throughout your workday. Without a swiveling base feature on your home office chair, you may experience back strain over time.
Home Office Décor and Home Office Accessories
The ideal home office décor and home office accessories should keep you inspired, and remind you of your goals. Here’s how:
Add some houseplants. They improve air quality, and can give you a sense of calm. You can get a low-light plant if your home office is a little on the darker side.
The decor within your line of sight should remind you of your purpose, and bring your focus back to the tasks at hand. You may want to design a vision board of sorts to emphasize what matters most, your career goals, and what success means to you. This could even take the form of a gallery wall.
Think about what inspires you and surround yourself with things you love. Select things that evoke creativity within you. Maybe you’ve been lucky enough to do some world travelling, and mementos from those times will remind you of the places you’ve seen and the different perspectives the world has to offer. If you find yourself drawing inspiration from other creators, this would be a great time to hang up some artwork you’ve collected to keep your brain firing in creative directions.
Don’t be shy about hanging your own artwork up, either! Surrounding yourself with recent work that you are proud of and that reflects the stuff you’re working on can be a great inspiration and self-esteem boost for those inevitable times where the pressure is getting to you and you start to doubt your creativity. Use your home office space to remind yourself that your unique point of view is powerful and worth sharing.
You know all those beautiful coffee table books you’ve been hoarding but never knew how to put them to good use? Your home office is the perfect place to put them on display, plus they offer a great distraction for when you need to take a break from your hustle but don’t want to veer too far off track (because you know once you start watching Netflix it’s gonna be real tricky to get back in that working mindset)!
Don’t Be Afraid to Tweak!
Once you have your basic home office design ready to go, you can take your time adjusting things depending on how your needs and wants develop. Maybe you thought you would be using that desktop easel a whole lot more than you actually are, so it makes sense to relegate it to a more remote area of your home office—or get rid of it altogether. You can always make little tweaks and add or remove things as you go.
A streamlined, personalized workspace filled with positive vibes will keep you focused on what matters and lead to more productivity. Once you’re all set, you’ll have so much more glorious time to work on your portfolio. And that’s the dream, isn’t it?
Want to learn more about working from home?
How to Find Fantastic Freelance Design Jobs
How Four Artists Use Their Websites to Sell Their Work
Tips for Taking Your Side Hustle to Main Gig