How to Decorate a Home Office

If you’re a city dweller living in a small-ish space like me, chances are, your “home office” doubles as a guest room, gym, walk-in closet, or possibly all of the above. In my case, I affectionately call it my “cloffice,” a combination closet plus office.

With many of us now working remotely from home, it might be time to level up your décor game so you’re not relying on a virtual background for those Zoom meetings.

Behold, my tips on styling a home office!

I love these blush pink binders from the Sugar Paper x Target collaboration.

Hide Papers

I know, I know – we’re technically paper pushers. Take a page from Marie Kondo and try to digitize all paper documents. Only print what you really need to print (like shipping labels). For important documents or hard copies, I store them in uniform binders or in file folders tucked into a drawer for safe keeping.

Repurpose Furniture for Storage

Begone, office filing cabinets! Consider using a cute buffet or credenza for storage instead, especially if you have modems, routers, printers or other equipment to hide. I keep my office supplies inside a vintage American of Martinsville dresser.

The paint color is Favourite Jade from Valspar.

Choose a Paint Color that Enhances Productivity

Do you work best surrounded by a vibrant, bold color that energizes your brain? Or do you need a calming, pastel color to be more efficient? My typical day job is stressful and fast-paced, not to mention I’m already an overly anxious person, so I personally find muted pastels to be grounding and better for my productivity.

Bring in Natural Elements

This faux agave plant sits perfectly inside a planter from the Atelier Stella x West Elm collection.

Provide an escape from being inside all day by bringing in the outdoors with natural elements like potted plants or floral arrangements. Although my plants are all artificial, they still do the trick!

This golden giraffe is actually a pen holder from Anthropologie.

Keep Things Organized in Trays and Catchalls

Clutter can be distracting, so keep mail and pending paperwork in a tray, and business cards and paper clips in a smaller catchall. Once your day is over, a best practice is filing or shredding completed paperwork and maintaining a clean desk.

Not the most ideal desk chair. I make sure I’m stretching throughout the day and not sitting in it for too long.

Find the Right Chair

If you’re sitting on your tush at your desk for 8+ hours a day, it’s super important to find a chair that’s comfortable, ergonomically friendly for your spine and enhances your posture. At minimal, be sure the chair is cushioned and your feet are flat on the floor when you sit in it. Chairs with adjustable seat (and arm) height are highly recommended by chiropractors, and Apartment Therapy put together a robust list of stylish options.

A souvenir from Florence, Italy.

Add Personal Items that Spark Joy

I’m typically very intentional decorating with knickknacks and tchotchkes, but even more so in my cloffice. I recommend adding items that make you happy, especially to help when you’re having a bad day at the office, like a framed photo of your family or souvenirs from your travels.

Make It Inviting for Guests

A day bed is added seating (or sleeping) for guests.

A true office should have seating available for meetings with and visits from guests or clients. For those whose home office is playing double duty as a guest room, consider a pull-out sofa, or in my case, a lightweight day bed. If you have space, I would even recommend a small bar setup – very Mad Men!

Keep Shelves Organized and Well-Curated

If you have bookcases or shelves, be mindful of what’s on display. Classic bound books, good. Carboard box filled with random things, bad. Open shelves should NOT be a solution for holding miscellaneous items. If you require more of a storage space than a showcase, put them in a closet or find shelving with cabinet doors instead. I keep my scrapbooks in a brass trunk tucked into a corner of the room.

It took me literally hours to style this shelf. Woof.

Give Yourself a Nice View

Obviously the whole point of this exercise is to make your office pretty so you’re more excited to work from it. Try to position your desk so it gives you a nice view of SOMETHING, whether it be facing a window to the ocean (#goals!) or an inspiring art piece.

My desk would otherwise overlook the alley filled with trashcans outside. Instead, I covered the mirrored closet doors with a fun peelable mural from Etsy.

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August 28, 2020
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  • Dave Nadkarni

    I love this post and it’s so timely given our current situation. Do you have any extra tips on turning your desk area into a little Zoom/FaceTime studio?

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