I am certainly not a professional decorator, but I have painted, organized and rearranged enough home offices in my day to have gathered a few tips. To get started, I always like to divide my wants and needs into three important categories: Style, Form and Function.
Style – The office is typically the last place in the house to get the “Style Treatment”. Let’s face it, you go in there to do business and leave when you are done, so why should you care what it looks like? Well, increasingly, many of us spend more of our time in our “home” office doing professional work. This means more hours logged on the computer. To keep your mood up while you are in there, it really helps to make it a place of your own.
My favorite (read: easy and affordable) tricks to transform your office style:
· Paint – simple, cheap, enough said.
· Houseplant or faux greens and flowers – cheerful and calming
· Area Rugs – color!
· A colorful throw blanket or pillow on your chair – comfort
Form – Truly a subset of style, form means what you put where. I used to have my desk facing the wall, but by simply swiveling it out to face the room, I gained an extra window of light, making my workplace seem brighter and bigger.
Function – Equally important to style in the office is how it is working for you.
· Filing – Be honest about how much paper filing space you need to reduce stressful clutter. Plastic file crates are a great choice as they are inexpensive and modular (a system that can grow with your paper storage needs over the years).
· Holding Area – (Again, being honest here,) most of us need a holding zone for bills and letters that we are not ready to deal with. A desktop or wall mounted mail organizer is designed just for this job.
· Extra Storage – plastic storage drawers or an old, small dresser can keep office supplies, cords and even the kids’ arts and crafts tools organized for a neat and tidy look in the office.
Above all else, your office should be a place for work, not headaches. So set yourself up with the right tools and design to keep your mind free of clutter.