Have you seen photos online of beautiful home offices? Have you always wanted one of your own? If so, finding visually stunning and relaxing home office decor isn’t as far away as you think. Plus, the benefits of a relaxing workspace go far beyond comfort and aesthetics. It makes you more productive and efficient, as well as putting you in a better mood. If you’re at a loss for how to design your home office, here are some tips that can calm and relax you throughout the workday.
An Ergonomic Chair
So maybe a chair doesn’t necessarily fall under the term of decor/design. But it’s integral to a relaxing atmosphere. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to find the perfect one. Comfortable, ergonomic office chairs are available for $100 to $300, and they have everything you need to sit throughout the workday.
While you obviously want your office chair to fit with your decor, put comfort at the top of your priority list. Chairs that are easily adjustable can position you perfectly at your desk. Ideally, you want your computer at eye level, and you want to work without being hunched over. In addition, ones with adjustable lumbar support are conducive to completing an all-day project.
Pro Tip: You may not spend hours playing Nintendo Switch or Playstation 4, but don’t underestimate the value of a gaming chair. Oddly enough, these chairs are akin to an office chair on steroids. Typically, they have an adjustable headrest, adjustable lumbar support, casters, and even movable armrests. Plus, you can dominate an online game of Grand Theft Auto V once you’re done for the day.
Don’t underestimate the importance of the colors of your home office walls. According to psychologists, color can have a profound effect on your overall mood, productivity, and sense of well-being. Therefore, paint choices are more than just tastes and aesthetics; they’re a crucial part of your home office design.
Here are some of the top paint color options to promote productivity and dazzle the eye:
- Yellow has been shown to increase creativity. So if you’re a marketer, advertiser, artist, or writer, yellow hues are the way to go. Plus, you can easily accent it with whites and browns.
- Orange energizes the room you’re in. However, you may not want to paint all the walls orange, as it may resemble too much of an inferno. Instead, paint one accent wall orange to provide some vigor.
- Off-white is surprisingly warm, and its neutrality makes it easy to decorate around.
- Light blue is conducive to a laid-back atmosphere, making it the ideal choice for relaxing home office decor.
Pro Tip: Several other paint colors can provide you with a wonderful aesthetic and a palette to create the rest of your home office design and suit your individual tastes. However, avoid black paint, as it tends to shrink the size of the room and isn’t ideal for productivity.
You need natural light. And no, that’s not the moderately priced beer from Anheuser-Busch. It’s the light from that giant orange orb in the sky. While natural light may not technically be decor, where you place your office is beneficial to its design.
Natural light has been proven to provide a host of benefits for workers. According to a 2017 study by Dr. Alan Hedge of Cornell University’s Department of Design and Environmental Analysis, natural light in a home office can:
- Minimize headaches
- Drastically reduce eye strain
- Improve productivity
- Lessen the chance of mistakes
Add these together, and putting your home office near some windows instead of the basement becomes a no-brainer. In addition, studies show that natural light promotes the body’s natural circadian rhythm. Instead of the normal “sleep in on weekends, sleep less during the week,” natural light promotes normal sleep habits. Benefits include improved mood, higher efficiency, and increased productivity.
Pro Tip: Putting your office near windows is ideal for getting the most natural light possible. But if you’re easily distracted, eye-level windows aren’t always ideal. If this describes you, try to place your desk facing away from the windows or use an office space that has windows above eye level.
Something Old, Something New
Brides often follow the tradition of having something old and something new as part of their wedding day ensemble. But this can also translate to superb home office decor. Family heirlooms or cherished items from your childhood can bring a soothing element into your home office. And while the feeling of these is palpable, you can still build a modern workplace around it.
Pro Tip: Adding sentimentality in the form of something old brings a familiarity to the office that builds your confidence and your identity—two important things in today’s remote workforce.
Throw a Plant in There
Call it human nature, but there’s something about taking care of another living thing that we find rewarding. But instead of pets or children, a plant can provide a soothing feeling with minimal hassle or attention. If you’re not a green thumb, don’t worry. Several types of plants are almost impossible to kill, despite your greatest efforts. With direct sunlight, some plant food, and daily watering, these home office-friendly plants can brighten up your home office decor with a modicum of effort:
- Spider plant
- African violets
- Peace lily
Pro Tip: If you’re really on edge about destroying one of the Earth’s creations, opt for a cactus or a succulent. These plants require minimal attention, sparse watering, but can still provide vibrant flowers and an inviting ambiance to the room.
The Wireless Workstation
Thanks to the advent of laptops and Wi-Fi connections, the wireless workstation is alive and well. Instead of pushing your desk up against the wall like you’re in detention, you can now center it in the middle of the room. By placing your desk centrally, you open up the room and lose the claustrophobic, cubicle-like feel that you get with a desk against the wall. In addition, a glass top desk or one that doesn’t have bulky legs can add to the open feeling of the room.
Pro Tip: If you require constant power to your work desk, you have numerous options. Typically, you can hire an electrician to put an outlet in the floor for a few hundred bucks, or the DIYer can do it themselves. Otherwise, you can place a cable protector over your cords so you aren’t tripping over them, and so they don’t detract from the ambiance of the room.
Choose the Right Desk
While a height-adjustable chair can circumnavigate short or tall desks, desk height is still crucial. According to ergonomic studies, a desk height somewhere between 28 and 34 inches should give you the best posture, comfort, and relaxation.
Once you’ve decided on desk height, the next idea is to find a desk that fits around the rest of your relaxing home office decor. In many regards, this is a choice of personal preference. Some people love the elegance of wood, while others prefer more modern designs. The most important facet of this choice is that it fits with the rest of your decor, simply because it’s the focal point of the room and where you’ll spend most of your time.
Pro Tip: Avoid overly clunky desks, as these can make your room feel smaller, and thus, take away from your relaxing home office design.
Have you had the same workspace for a decade? Do you find the prospect of getting rid of your amazing $20 thrift store desk unbearable? Well, you might just need to let go if you want a relaxing home office space. When you fixate on certain elements of your old office, you fail to build a new home office that’s relaxing, modern, and warm. So while some of your decor from your old office may work, sell or move the components that can actually detract from the design and decor.
Pro Tip: If you pride yourself on thrift shop finds and bargains, don’t stress. You can often find some great home office accouterments on the cheap that have personality and a unique vibe. Just make sure not to obsess over certain furniture. Remember that these pieces can often find a home in other places of your house.
Quiet Windows and Doors
Perhaps nothing is more distracting to remote workers than noise. Even the slightest noises can destroy concentration and productivity. That’s why you need a moderately soundproof chamber to get your work done. Any room in your home with functional weather stripping and double-pane windows should suffice. If your home has older windows, you may want to consider other options. Thick blind, removable fiberglass panels, and even sound-suppressing curtains can all soak up some of the sounds.
Doors are equally as important for home office design. If you use pocket doors or your home office has an opening rather than a door, sound can seep in. Therefore, you should have some sort of sound barrier. Hopefully, you have a door that extends to the ground to prevent sound escape. If not, consider an under-door noise blocker, which fits along the bottom edge of the door. When in place, this can drastically reduce noise and distractions.
Pro Tip: Sometimes you may find noise reduction impossible, especially if you have kids running around. So do yourself a favor and put together a schedule of your office hours. Hang it in a prominent place, hold a family meeting, or do whatever you need to do to ensure that your family knows you’re working. With any luck, this will minimize aural distractions and contribute to a relaxing home office.
Whether you’re a seasoned telecommuter or you’re new to virtual work, home office design and decor are an integral part of your job productivity. But unlike a cubicle or traditional office space, you can design your space just as you’d like. But don’t let that freedom go to your head. Use these tips and put together the best home office possible. Your clients, your employer, and your mind will thank you.
iStock Image: zoranm, PeopleImages, Prostock-Studio
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