At home, there are constant distractions, endless chores and, of course, family members whom you’d love to spend more time with. But, if you’ve ever tried to pay bills or accomplish a project with all the commotion and interruptions in the background, you understand it’s a real challenge. It’s nearly impossible and it takes you longer than it ever should, which wastes precious time.
That’s why, whether you own a business or need to manage the household finances, a private home office or personal workstation can be an excellent solution, offering a quiet respite and a place to concentrate. Having a home office you can retreat to can allow you to strike items off your to-do list faster, making time for what’s more important: Family.
To make the most of valuable space, how do you set up a home office so that it’s both inviting and productive? From choosing a proper flooring option beneath your desk to personalizing the decor and wall colors, here are some of the best tips and tricks for setting up a home office.
Choose an Appropriate Space
First, you need to choose an appropriate space to designate for your home office. A spare bedroom or a peaceful, quiet part of the home, such as a renovated basement or a finished attic space, is ideal. A basement home office, especially, offers many advantages like a separate entrance for guests and even the possibility of a small kitchenette where you can make coffee and store snacks and refreshments.
However, for those homeowners with limited space, you might have to get a bit creative. With an open mind, take a walk around the house and see if there are any corners or spaces that are used infrequently. Even if it’s a compact space, like the dining table or a stair landing, there are numerous ways to incorporate a workstation. Just remember, however, that if you’re not able to designate a room for your home office, at least ensure your workstation can be tucked away or that files and paperwork can be easily removed out of sight. This way, you can maintain your work-life balance much more easily.
Install the Best Flooring Option
When it comes to setting up a home office, flooring can play a significant role. If you have the opportunity to renovate an area into a workspace and are able to select what’s installed, choose suitable flooring for that particular space. However, there are some caveats and extra tips as you consider the best flooring option for your home office.
As an example, a home office can easily become a noisy area, especially with conference calls and video chats. So, it’s best to choose a flooring that can reduce the level of noise and not disturb other family members–or worse, wake up rambunctious kids or crying babies!
Your personal home office flooring choice may depend on how often it’s used. If the home office is used every day, stick with something more durable, able to withstand wear and tear from rolling office chairs, spilled coffee cups or even messy paint or other art mediums if it happens to be a studio. But if it’s used once a month to pay bills, a more affordable flooring may do just fine.
With this in mind, Twenty & Oak recommends these flooring options for your home office space.
Solid hardwood and engineered hardwood are both fantastic choices for home office flooring, creating a classic foundation for just about any style you desire. Not to mention, it’s durable, elegant and increases your home’s resale value. It's also easy to keep clean and allergen-free. Both solid and engineered hardwood also come in a variety of species, surface treatments, stains and plank sizes to achieve any design you want.
Keep in mind, however, that solid hardwood is best-suited for mild climates and in a home’s upper levels. In other words, solid hardwood is not a wise option for a basement home office. Instead, choose engineered hardwood, which can be installed on any level. If you use a hardwood floor, be sure to lay down a decorative rug or floor mat under your rolling chair and attach felt pads to heavier furniture pieces to minimize damage.
Vinyl Tile and Plank Flooring
Vinyl tile and plank flooring can resemble anything from real hardwood to marble tile, but are better equipped to handle high-traffic areas. Vinyl plank also offers a budget-friendly option when you still love the gorgeous look of genuine hardwood, where vinyl tile offers the look of ceramic and natural stone. Vinyl flooring is also quite easy to maintain and a great option for homeowners who prefer to install on their own.
Laminate flooring is quite versatile and a wonderful long-lasting option for a home office space. This flooring is for homeowners who really want that genuine hardwood look at a more affordable price. Laminate flooring is also known for its stain-resistance, fade-resistance and is perfectly suited for high-traffic areas and busy households with kids and pets. The laminate collections offered on Twenty & Oak have the added benefit of being water resistant. Beauflor Hydrana has an attached pad which helps with sound reduction.
Sheet Vinyl Flooring
Sheet vinyl offers an affordable flooring option for home offices and can resemble anything from hardwood, stone, tile and stained concrete for that industrial art studio vibe. Vinyl sheet with textile backing also offers a warm underfoot, which is perfect for basement home offices, as well as sound absorption, which lends acoustical value to large spaces.
Many flooring options are available. However, if you need to use an existing room as is, we recommend staying away from carpet, as it can be difficult to roll around in an office chair.
Ready to renovate your home office? Discover the perfect home office flooring with our Floor Genius Quiz or check out our virtual flooring showroom to browse our vast collection.
Find the Perfect Desk or Workstation
For homeowners who are lucky enough to have a designated room for your home office, you have the advantage of choosing a desk and a workspace to set up and accomplish all your tasks. You can choose a spacious and classic wood credenza desk, complete with file cabinets, or you can choose something more studio-esque like a drafting table with a trestle base and a rolling cart to keep supplies.
Desk style aside, the more important aspect of your home office desk is its space and height. Make sure it’s spacious enough to support your monitor, keyboard and any other equipment, as well as extra space for task lighting or a table lamp. A desk’s height should also be comfortable. Some love an adjustable standing desk, as it gives them a bit more mobility, where others have long hours at the computer and prefer to sit. Also consider installing a slide-out keyboard under your desk so that you may customize to your preferred height. The office chair you choose (which we’ll discuss next) will play a large role in the height of your desk as well.
Also, before you choose a desk, measure your home office space and sketch out a floor plan on graph paper to ensure it fits the way you imagine. Cut out shapes and experiment with different configurations to see what works best. For homeowners who lack a designated home office, there are still ways you can create a workstation.
For instance, you could stand an armoire desk cabinet in the living room corner or install a drop-down wall desk inside an empty closet.
Add a Comfortable Ergonomic Chair
To go along with your home office desk space or makeshift workstation, get yourself a comfortable, ergonomic chair. As you shop for an office chair, be sure it provides proper back support and armrests are at an appropriate height to your elbows. Consider an ergonomic chair with a headrest to support your neck.
A good ergonomic chair should offer lumbar support for the lower back to prevent back strain. It should also offer a caster wheelbase so you can roll around to retrieve out-of-reach files and items. A swivel base can also allow you to freely rotate instead of overreaching. Also, consider if your office chair needs a breathable mesh fabric, preventing you from getting too hot and uncomfortable, especially if the room is in a renovated attic or a room with lots of windows.
Last but not least, when it comes to your office chair, consider placing a small footstool or ottoman under your desk to prop up your feet. Super relaxing!
Incorporate Various Lighting
A home office needs proper lighting to reduce eye strain, so it’s best to incorporate a variety of lighting throughout the space. For instance, it’s a good idea to have four basic types of lighting: natural lighting, general lighting, task lighting and accent lighting.
During the day, allow as much direct sunlight into your office as possible. Natural sunlight can boost productivity, keep circadian rhythms in check and just improve your quality of life. Just be wary of monitor or screen glares during certain hours of the day and prepare with window treatments, sheer curtains or solar shades. You could also avoid this by placing your desk in front of a window, especially to have a view of nature.
However, on the occasional rainy day or late-night work, you’ll need something to replace that sunlight. This is where general lighting comes into play, offering an overhead illumination through recessed lighting, a chandelier or ceiling flush-mount at the center of your room. Also, be sure to add task lighting, such as a table lamp or swing arm lamp mounted above your desk or reading areas. Lastly, add accent lighting, which can be purely decorative and is used to create ambiance. In a home office, this could be anything from a glowing essential oil diffuser to a few wall-mounted picture lights to display your gallery wall.
Keep Everything Organized with a Shelving System
Having a clutter-free home office can keep you focused and productive. So instead of crowding your desk, keep it neat and organized. One of the best ways to do this is by adding a tall shelf or two that makes the most out of your vertical wall space. Whether you prefer beautiful etagere shelves that offer the flexibility of future rearrangements or want to make the most of floor space with a wall-mounted shelving system, you’ll make space for books, files and home office electronics.
On your desk or shelf, be sure to add desk organizers, such as pencil trays, file holders and a catchall dish for your reading glasses, earbuds and cell phone. Ultimately, make your desk organized to eliminate any distracting clutter.
Decorate, Personalize and Add Color
When it comes to home offices, you can take many more liberties than a cubicle in the corporate world. So take advantage of it! Choose a decor style that suits your personality–from farmhouse chic to mid-century modern to industrial or bohemian–and dress up your office. Start with the desk and chair first, of course, and add your shelving system and other larger furniture pieces. From there, incorporate your personality through inspiring artwork, photos of family and little embellishments like bookends and desk accessories. Add textures by rolling out a rug or hanging window treatments.
Also, if your home office has its own dedicated room, feel free to stray from the rest of your home decor and make it uniquely you! Your office space should be a respite and feel separate, which also helps to maintain a work-life balance. Consider adding an accent chair, ottoman or comfortable seating for guests to wait or for yourself to sit during light work.
When it comes to decorating, color is an important choice when setting up a home office. If you plan to paint the walls, be sure to choose a home office color that’s relaxing and improves focus. For instance, blue hues are a stable and calm color, offering productivity, while green shades make you more efficient and reduce eye fatigue. Yellow is perfect for uplifting a space and stimulating those who work in a creative field.