As we settle into our fourth official week of working from home, and without a real sense of how long this may last, our need to set up a comfortable and productive work area is becoming more and more crucial.
With spouses and children hunkered down together, finding that perfect work space in your home may seem a little too daunting and unrealistic right now. But don’t fret, there are many ways to create a designated work area so you can stay focused, creative and stress-free.
Shelley Jaccard, owner of Jaccard Interiors, shares her home office decor tips to get you started.
Tip #1 – Incorporate Multi-purpose Furniture
To avoid overcrowding in your rooms, use multi-purpose furniture pieces. These take on more than one role for the space. An entryway console table can double as a desk, storage ottomans can be used for extra seating, a rolling bar/buffet cart can substitute as extra surface space for desk supplies, file storage, printer, extra monitor, etc.
West Elm’s Modern Trestle Bar Cart is compact, stylish, and versatile for any space. Just remember to relocate all those liquor bottles to avoid any temptation before your Zoom Happy Hour call! If you find you do need to purchase something new during this ‘temporary’ WFH period, try to pick something that will have a second life post-pandemic and will blend in with your home’s aesthetic.
One of my favorite multipurpose furniture pieces for today’s WFH situation is a secretary desk. It can double as a desk, dresser, and bookshelf. The best part is when your workday is over, you can just close it all up, grab a cocktail and switch to relaxing in your ‘living’ space. You can find many used, eclectic or antique versions on Craigslist or OfferUp right now. For a more modern piece, check out CB2’s Kota Home Office Oak Desk which has a pull-out keyboard drawer and ample storage for all your office supplies. Two tall oak veneer doors with horizontal detailing hides your work area when you’re off the clock.
Tip #2 – Maximize Your Vertical Space
Take advantage of your vertical space to maximize your room and storage requirements.
Bookshelves, floating shelves, and large framed artwork will draw your eye up and make the space appear taller. Using open shelving with minimal design features will make the area more open and less busy. CB2’s Helix 70” Walnut Desk is a space-saving bookshelf/desk combo that offers (3) fixed shelves with a powder coated metal frame and a 30”W desk space. A perfect piece to add to that corner of your room for working and displaying pretty objects and a succulent or two. Later, the desk surface can be used as a bar or makeup vanity.
To add more visual height, drama and texture to your home office, try hanging drapery about 4-5 inches under the ceiling so the room will seem bigger and taller. Most people make the mistake of hanging drapery a few inches above the windowsill. Just make sure you measure the length of the drapery correctly for your space so that the bottom ‘kisses’ the floor and doesn’t fall too short.
Tip #3 – Keep it Light and Bright
Adding more bright light and a neutral color palette will make a small space feel larger. It’s always good to have (3) light sources in each room: primary (overall room lighting –ceiling pendant), accent (highlight artwork – table lamps), and task lighting (direct lighting: wall sconces, floor lamps). Using plug-in wall sconces above a desk, on either end of a bed or sofa will eliminate the need for table lamps and free up much needed work surfaces. Article’s Bino Wall Sconce offers task lighting with a sleek look and can easily tilt to point light exactly where you need it.
A few other tips to maximize your WFH space, is to position an oversized mirror across from a window to reflect natural light and create the illusion of more space. If you have the time and are motivated, try painting your walls, trim and ceiling the same shade of color. This trick of the trade will make your walls appear to fade into the background and adds more visual height. Some of my go-to paint colors for a crisp, bright room are: “Super White” and “Chantilly Lace” from Benjamin Moore, “Cornforth White” from Farrow and Ball and “Pure White” from Sherwin Williams. For warmer tones, I like “Pale Oak” and “Olympic Mountains” from Benjamin Moore.
Tip #4 – Less is More
And finally, one of the most important things you can do to maximize your space is to keep in mind the “less is more” philosophy and always edit, edit, edit! Avoid too much clutter by making sure every piece in your WFH area (and home) has meaning and purpose. Fill your space with things that speak to you or can tell a ‘story’. Clutter can quickly weigh down a space and create a sense of chaos in your surroundings. With a bit of savvy, you can find storage solutions you won’t mind looking at; like vintage hat boxes, woven baskets, ceramic mugs or small vases to hold pens, pencils, etc. By creating designated homes for your belongings, you’re more likely to avoid accruing random piles of stuff and will feel less bogged down by your possessions.
Don’t forget to add greenery too! Plants and succulents not only offer pops of color, texture and decoration to your surroundings, but they are good for your overall mental and physical health. It’s been proven that plants help improve air quality, reduce stress, boost your mood, improve concentration and productivity, thus making them perfect for not just your home but your workspace too!
Jaccard Interiors is an interior design and home organizing company offering smart, attainable, and creative solutions to maximize the space you live in. Our goal is to create a home you want to return to, a place to relax and enjoy so you can live your better life.