More and more people are working from home, either to save on their commute, have a looser deadline schedule, or to spend more time with family. The last thing you want to do is make your job at home feel like your job in a cubicle. To prevent your working area from feeling like work, try these three space-saving tips and renovation projects for your home office.
Shelves, Shelves, Shelves
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Take advantage of your wall space with a variety of shelves to hold all your important files, books, and other important things for your work. Standard rectangular shelves or bookcases maximize the amount of surface space you can have in your home office. While interestingly-shaped shelves that make words or pictures are a fun visual treat, they aren’t very practical for storage, so keep those to the other rooms of the house and stick with the tried and true style of bookcase.
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You do have a lot of options amongst standard shelves, depending on how efficient you want your office. Built-in is better as they can fit exactly in any corner of your home office, but can be a costly and time-consuming project to install. Ladder shelves take up less room literally and visually than their counterparts with sides and can be easily anchored to the wall for security, though they sacrifice storage capacity to do so. Store-bought shelves are the easiest to acquire for a matching set, and there are many stylistic options available to choose from to fit your office look, but one will never be a perfect fit for an odd shaped room.
If you’re looking for professional storage that isn’t on display, you can look to:
Hiding Away with File Cabinets
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If you find the open nature of bookshelves too much for your calm office space, file cabinets are a more discreet alternative. They have a professional office feel that shelves may not and are specifically designed to hold folders and paperwork most efficiently. A lot of them come with the added security of being able to be locked, in case you keep vital documents in your office.
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A filing cabinet is meant to keep paperwork inside, not on top, despite how easy it is to stack things there. Piles of paper can fill up the visual space of the room and make it feel disorganized and closed-in. I find that sticking something you absolutely can’t put paper on (e.g. a houseplant) on that space helps keep clutter from accumulating. Even having just your cords out of sight can make a big difference in how cluttered your office feels. Many cabinets now offer models where there’s a hole to connect cords through into the drawers. If not, an easy DIY project is to make a cord-sized hole yourself (though practice on a similar surface first).
Keep it Simple
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A tidy workspace is not a new concept, but you may be surprised at how big of a difference proper storage makes. It’s a difficult habit to put away supplies after every use (you might need that stapler again in five minutes, after all), but long-term it opens up your desk space and makes you feel less disorganized and closed in. An option to avoid a large amount of home office clutter is to opt for less stuff in general. Dual-purpose furniture can come in the clutch if you’re tight on usable area, like a desk with a built-in filing cabinet or a bookcase with shelves that can be folded out of the way when not in use.
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Aside from physical stuff, you can also keep it simple through your paint palette. Don’t overdo your paint or decor and instead opt for a simple three to four muted color spread. A unified neutral color draws the room together and makes it feel less chaotic than several conflicting shades, and you can always add fun splashes of a brighter color through frames, cabinet knobs, and other office accessories if you need some pizzazz during the work day.
There are many ways to take a small room in your house and convert it to a fun, functional office. With some practical furnishings and discipline, you can make your home office the ideal work place.