So you're lucky enough to work from home (WFH, the holy grail for many). You're freelancing or proudly set up your own business. You make your own work schedule. You can 'walk to the office' barefoot, prepare lunch in an actual fully functional kitchen, save £10 a day on Starbucks, manage your day as you wish, take a break whenever you want... and most importantly, you can lie down for a quick disco nap if needed (or is that just me then?!). The list of perks of WFH goes on.
However, for some reason that usually has to do with budget and time constraints, your 'home office' decor hasn't been at the top of the priority list and you've somehow ended up with a desk that's as inspiring as a cubicle from the US comedy movie Office Space... Sounds familiar? Keep reading, as you're not alone.
After 10 years working in various 'corporate' offices, earlier this year, I started working for myself (and from home). It has been a slight shock to the system as I get easily distracted and been used to work as part of a team most of my career, but also a revelation, because for the first time in my entire life I get to work in a room that I actually love, that I designed myself, and this makes me feel is warm and fuzzy inside (and more productive bien sur!).
I don't know about you but for me, the environment I work in has a massive impact on the way I perform. The more comfortable and inviting the space, the more creative, inspired and productive I tend to be. I suspect that applies to a lot of people too. It's been a learning curve and I thought I'd share 5 simple tips to make your home office as fun, stylish and comfy as possible.
1. Give your home office the star treatment
Creating an inspiring home office is not about just buying a desk, a computer, and a printer. The same way that you wouldn't consider your living room 'furnished' if all it contained was a sofa, a coffee table and a TV... Chances are, once you start 'WFH', your study will be the place you spend the most amount of time so you should really give it some serious TLC. I basically decorated my home office like I would have a second living room in terms of colour, accessories and furniture. I have a desk and a chair obviously (well two chairs actually just to be on the safe side...), but also a sofa and a coffee table, a patterned rug, faux flowers, lamps, frames, art, a mirror... You get the vibe... In addition, the best and most simple thing I did to the room was painting the walls a rich, sophisticated grey colour which makes it feel 'luxe' without actually having spent much cash. The grey paint is Downpipe by Farrow & Ball and I absolutely love it. And before you ask, yes the room is small, and no the dark paint doesn't make it feel smaller... #urbanmyth
2. Play the swaparama game
I changed the layout of my home office about... erm, 50 times?! For various reasons: sun exposure, boredom, pinterest-induced envy, procrastination... the list goes on. The photo above is the layout that I loved the most as it meant I could look at the little park opposite our house all day long, say hello to squirrels, and generally watch the world go by... It worked really well through the winter days where there was barely any sun and the natural light was not too bright. However, as soon as spring arrived, it just didn't work. The sunlight was blinding (south facing room) and I spent hours squinting at my screen (I blame this for those ugly new wrinkles...) and felt like I was in a green house. I just moved everything around on a whim one day, and now, the room looks bigger and my desk feels more cosy. And I don't need Botox anymore... Don't be afraid to experiment; swapping things arounds costs zero and sometimes just having a little swaparama session can make all the difference. Just try and see how it looks. What sounds like the ideal layout on paper, often doesn't feel right once you start using the room.
3. Hide the ugly
I hate having clutter hanging around. I have mild OCD so usually end up clearing things out before I can get any work done so having a clutter-free work area is crucial for me. Storage wise, think outside the box (pun intended). Shelves, cabinets, chests of drawers, there are so many ways to hide anything that doesn't look good. And in my book, it's very simple: if it ain't pretty, I don't want to see it. H&M Home have THE BEST, and crucially affordable, storage collection in the universe. Faux marble boxes, copper baskets; I challenge you not to add everything to your online cart, like, right now...
4. Make it personal
Framed art, pictures, decorative items, fun posters, personal mementos, anything that shows a little bit of your personality and that will keep you going on those long nights glued to the screen is a bonus. Make your home study your own little private space and add anything that will keep motivation levels high. Those cheap wooden ledges from Ikea are a great solution to display lots of different frames and trinkets.
5. Let there be light
Yes, setting up your office in a bright room is a great idea if not a must. But even then, you'll need to work on your lighting for those darker and grey days and evening working sessions. A decorative table or desk lamps are functional pieces, but they are also nice to look at between emails. Here at Stella + the Stars HQ, we have a ceiling light, a floor lamp and a decorative desk lamp. I like to think that my Abigail Ahern for Debenhams hare lamp makes my office a place of highly creative productivity!
And remember that if you are stuck for ideas or have too many and don't know where to start, you can get the Stella + the Stars treatment with our affordable e-styling services and packages. Just get in touch to find out more and our fees.