In 2020, those "couple of weeks" of working from home turned into a new lifestyle for many of us. We learned that we could do our work from the dining room table if we needed to—but you deserve better than that. Make your setup is more productive and sustainable with these tips for furnishing your work-from-home space.
If you’ve been conducting Zoom conferences from a TV tray in a walk-in closet, it’s time to upgrade. You deserve it. There is someplace in your home that you could put to better use as your office. If you hate to sacrifice your guest room, ask yourself, “What’s more important, your career or Aunt Sylvia’s occasional visits?” (Hint: it’s your career. Put up your aunt in a motel.). If you don’t have the luxury of an extra room, you can separate work from home with a decorative divider. Even an area rug can help define your office space. And don’t forget that quite a few legendary companies originated in a garage: Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and more. Of course, their interior design probably left something to be desired, but yours will be on point.
It was probably a tough adjustment to figure out how to be productive at home, but there’s one big opportunity here: you have control over your environment. Those gray cubicles, the coffee spills on the carpet, the huge clocks looming on the wall, the chattering co-worker, and whatever was driving you crazy—it’s all gone. Now you have the power to create the best surroundings for meaningful work. You can extend your home’s interior design into your office or use a completely different concept. Make it bold and vibrant or calm and soothing. Make it funky. Make it elegant. Make it a place that inspires you.
Most meetings and conferences now take place via video. Theoretically, you can create a home office space that’s steampunk chic and still convey conservative authority—all you need is one wall that embodies your intended work image. You can customize your video call backdrop with virtual backgrounds, but they can be distracting. Callers should be able to focus on your competence, not what you might be hiding behind a virtual smokescreen. The main rule is to keep it professional, but a lot can go under that heading, especially if you’re in a creative field. Think about what you want to show on-screen. A floating shelf with books? Watercolor art? Greenery? A photo of you shaking hands with Elvis? Just make sure it’s sending the message you want it to.
A folding chair in front of a wall-mounted folding desk is not a permanent solution. A proper desk will anchor you so that you can perform your best work. Traditional desks with drawers can keep paper and supplies handy. If all you really need is your technology, browse computer desks that have pull-out platforms for keyboards. If you don’t need drawers, consider a table that gives the space a more open feel. And if you don’t want to feel stagnant at the computer, invest in a standing desk that will keep you alert and moving.
This tip for furnishing your work-from-home space is not optional: you need an ergonomic chair. Your aesthetic might not be “wheeled and practical,” and interior designs often recommend using surprising pieces. But an antique garden stool is not going to cut it here, chichi as it may be. Invest in an ergonomic chair that fits you and supports your back. Your posture is everything, and if you’re sitting in an unsuitable chair, you won’t realize it until it’s too late. It’s definitely more challenging to get work done when you have an aching back, a crick in your neck, and a carpal tunnel flare-up.
This is the fun part, right? You get to whirl through a high-end organizational store and stock up on $1,000 of color-coordinated desk accessories. It’s just not fun when you have to pay for it—or realize you’ll never use it. If you don’t have files, you don’t need to-die-for floral file folders. You just don’t. Instead, shop on the store’s website, put everything you want into the cart, and then close the browser window. You’ll get ideas that you can probably achieve with stuff you already have or less expensive options. Think about how you really work. Do you have enough paperwork to justify a filing cabinet, or would a bookshelf with baskets be more effective? Do you want a cabinet that closes to hide any clutter? Decide on the best solution, and then focus on style.
You might not have a roomy home office, but you do have walls that can work for you. If you need more storage, you can build in shelving to the ceiling or install a few floating shelves. Hang up filing systems, calendars, whiteboards, and a fabric-covered bulletin board. Or use this surface to set the tone for your workday. Choose a paint color to create the mood you want, or try stick-on wallpaper for a style statement without commitment. Put up family photos to remind yourself why you’re doing it all. It’s difficult to sustain motivation for the whole day, and working from home provides plenty of distractions. Display some meaningful objects, awards, certifications, or souvenirs—anything that builds up your confidence for a positive workday.
Your home office can be slick and modern, warm and rustic, clean and minimal, or stark and industrial. It’s all about putting together a space that suits the way you work, but don’t forget to put the “fun” in “function.” It’s OK to create surroundings with a point of view. Your office should inspire you to achieve great things. Envision your goals, and let them guide you.
At Midwest Clearance Center, we have endless possibilities for a work-from-home space that combines productivity with your personal taste. If you’re on a budget and looking for furniture liquidators in St. Louis, you’ll be surprised by our selection. Stop by to browse at one of our six locations.