If, for whatever reason, you’re switching to a work-from-home setup for the first time, be prepared to learn something that every freelancer knows in their bones:
Working from home is a trial of wills.
On the first day, you might be tempted to work in your bedroom. You might even have the audacity to – gasp! – work on your bed itself! You’d think, “I’ve done it before. I can be productive.”
Know this beforehand: your bed is a vortex. It will pull you in. And so will your housemates, if they’re home to distract you.
You can resist, and keep your productive flow by setting up a small home office.
It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but these examples sure know how to turn their workstation into something chic!
The most you’ll need for your new “home office” is a table that fits your computer and other materials. One that’s preferably placed a reasonable distance away from your bed.
When you look at this workstation, it’s a pretty standard setup. A single shelf with rods hovering above a novel drawer that you can pull down to use as a desk. Bulletin board at the side.
What makes this space chic is the fact that they obviously chose a theme early on and bit down on it. The gold on the “V” that decorates the empty space is echoed by the scissor handles and binder details. Accompanied by pastel that leans toward the less saturated shades, it all fits into one pretty puzzle.
Even when you’re away from your bed, hearing nothing but the tap of your own keyboard can lull you to sleep. It’s a curse that lingers around you no matter where you go. In these moments, it’s great to have colleagues you can chat with for a quick break.
At home, you might have family members who’ll spend the day working with you. Share a workspace by finding a particularly long table. Or, in this case, a hovering shelf with drawers to divide separate where your work ends and theirs begins.
The blue and white geometric wallpaper helps brighten up an otherwise pared-down room. It’s a visual element to fuss over and stare at once you’ve run out of energy for the day.
Face the windows
Not every home can claim to have a separate room or nook to use as office space. Sometimes, even if you’d rather not, you might need to set up your workstation in your bedroom. When that happens – and when you find yourself in a similarly cramped environment – face your chair across from the windows.
This distracts you enough that you can imagine yourself somewhere else. Maybe at your desk or in a cafe. If you have large windows, this can distract you away from the size of your room, too.
When you’re too focused on your work to notice, it could remind you that the day’s over and done with.
Use your living room
Since it’s the place where most people gather, there’s bound to be enough space in your living room to fit a desk.
This home office puts a minimal twist on the traditional bookshelf-and-desk combo with clean, wooden panels and white trim. Empty space at the back of the shelf means you’ll have somewhere to hang picture frames, paintings, or bulletin boards as needed.
Face away from your couch and TV as much as possible. If you want to, you can just plop yourself down for a quick show during your lunch break. But remember to set strict schedules for yourself!
Have everything within reach
Most office jobs require a laptop and nothing else. But if you’re bringing home more practical-oriented work, it’s likely you’re bringing home materials, too.
For architects, artists, and the like, working from home might mean laying down a broad sheet of paper flat on the table for plates. It could mean alternating between rulers, pencils, and colors in every stroke.
In this line of work, it’s best to have everything you need within an arm’s reach. Metal shelves and pegboards echo the productive spirit of industrial decor. They provided ample storage space, too, especially when you can hang additional shelves and containers on the pegboard’s slots.
The people who can only work in a coffee shop are the same people who will seek out every room in the household to find the one with the most productive energy buzzing through it. They’re also the ones who can’t buy a desktop computer because they can’t use it while “on the go.” Nevermind that “on the go” usually entails watching Netflix with a laptop burning through your thighs.
Am I calling myself out and dragging you all down with me in a hasty generalization? Why, yes, that’s what’s happening.
Whatever your reasons for wanting a mobile office, whether they’re more legitimate than these or not, you can have your cake with a bar cart. Drag it from room to room if you need to do chores while working. Or use it to hold liquor and snacks when you’re ready to sign off for the day.
Standing desks have become a new thing. You don’t technically have to buy a specialized desk to stand while you work, but they certainly make things easier. This matte black desk and shelf combo have the desk higher than usual, with creativity surrounding the furniture, so it doesn’t get dreary.
There have been several studies that support the health benefits of standing while you work. Among them, there’s weight loss. So, if you thought you’d use this time to exercise, only to find yourself bombarded with work, a standing desk is a decent alternative.
Other health effects include lower blood sugar levels, lower risk of heart disease, and less back pain. The latter, in particular, is a great change of pace for people used to hunching over their laptops.
For creatives, there might sometimes be a need to both isolate yourself and stimulate the ol’ noggin somehow. In general, an office nook the size of a hallway might work for the former, but not the latter.
This home office does away with that limitation. By keeping the furniture minimal – in terms of both style and amount – it widens the space. The large window nearby doubles down on that effect, as well as the light-colored decor. Elaborate finishes in the mirror, paperweights, wallpaper, and accenting chair are just ‘extra’ enough to fuel anyone’s creative fire.
Laundry room office
Any high school computer class will tell you, strictly, that you should keep fluids outside of the room with your electronics. Let’s be honest here, though.
Laundry cycles that need 30 minutes each, sessions that are never a single cycle long, and the machine itself providing a constant white noise. Who could blame anyone who decides to lug up their laptop and work while doing some chores?
Besides, housing being as it is, laundry rooms are sometimes the only place you can be alone to think inside a home. Especially if you’re living with children. Make yourself comfortable by setting out pillows and stools down there. Let everyone know that laundry chores await anyone who’ll disturb your workflow.
Pull down desk
If your work-from-home situation is temporary, then you need a solution that could be temporary, too. You could spend an afternoon clearing up a room to fit an office, or you could just install a mounted desk.
Pull down desks, fold-down desks, drop down desks – pick your verb of choice. The bottom line is that they’re incredibly useful as countertops that you can easily stow away when idle. This way, you won’t have to burden your tiny room with more unused objects.
You can even place it near your bed for a quick breakfast-in-bed type of deal during lazy Sundays.
Hide behind shelves
If you don’t have an extra room to use as an office but still want relative isolation, no fret! Just as long as you have space between two high shelves, you can work with a makeshift office.
The femme Instagram-worthy decor and the solid pink walls in this office make it look chic even if it’s a tighter fit than you’re used to at the office. On the bright side, you have much more freedom to decorate this space than you do your work cubicle.
Dividers are a usual find in open floor plans and old movies with Victorian characters. In both cases, they serve to sequester a portion of the space for additional privacy. In the former, it might even be used to separate rooms according to their function. Both of which you might want to do if you’re serious about being productive during this time.
The fun part is that dividers aren’t as dull as the walls of an office cubicle. In this office, they used a wooden divider with circular weaves and a bronze-like finish to match the gold in the other furniture. There’s a rattan basket, prominent green and bamboo leaf patterns, and actual plant life.
Honestly, it seems like a breath of fresh air compared to any other office building.
It’s going to be an odd transition, but you can do this. What are your plans for your new home office?