Home Design Ideas For Working From Home

Decoration and Design
Additions and Remodels
By Ani Mouradian April 15, 2021

2020 has taught us the value of slowing down and appreciating the smaller things. We now know to avoid planning trips too far in advance, and that background noise-reducing apps are worthwhile investments. 2020 has also brought on a lot of uncertainty. It’s not exactly easy to imagine how our morphing lifestyles will continue to change. But one thing is pretty clear: we are going to be working from home for a while.

Bringing the pace and productivity of the office into your home is not an easy feat. But we believe a few minor design and layout changes can be really helpful. Based on the opinions of seasoned work-from-home-ers, designers, and the health industry, it’s not enough to just make working from home bearable — we should also prioritize making it comfortable and motivating.

These work from home ideas are, for the most part, modest home projects that will allow you to enjoy your workday instead of just “getting through it”. With a little paint here and a little wall knocked down there, you’ll start checking things off your to-do list with much less stress and fewer muscle aches.

Separate Your Working Space

It’s important to create or choose a place that is as cut-off from domestic issues as possible. One way to do that is to separate your work to-do list from your everything else to-do list — being reminded of dinner preparations or that a lightbulb needs replacing is just going to take valuable time from meeting your deadlines. Another way to set those boundaries is to physically separate your workspace and create little islands of work inside your home.

moody home office

moody home office

You don’t need to have a room dedicated solely to being a home office to succeed. Adding a room separator can be helpful to improve concentration. It can also serve as a statement piece to add a dash of positivity and inspiration. Maybe it’s a warm tangerine color, or maybe it’s a beautifully carved vintage wooden screen. Either way, adding an element of fun to your environment will help keep you energized and motivated. To give it a sense of officiality and to add a modern touch you can have a handyman install hanging room dividers.

home office separator

home office separator

Another way to mentally separate from home is to allow yourself to play tricks on your mind. A simple but distinctive paint job in your little corner of productivity is a wonderful way to subtly alter the space and to tell yourself “I’m at work and it looks good here.”

accent wall

accent wall

Accommodate Rooms For a Change of Scenery

Many seasoned remote workers insist on having one dedicated work area. However, that kind of discipline is hard to come by, and working in the same setting for hours at a time is not everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re the type of person who needs a change of scenery, make sure to accommodate the rooms you switch to for comfort and efficiency. Here are a few tips and ideas on how to improve productivity and accommodate for being on the move in your home:

  • Don’t settle with just having a space to sit in the rooms you roam to. Spending time positioning on your sofa or rolling your chair up in front of a cabinet that doesn’t give you knee space can slow your stride and the discomfort will eventually distract you. Have your setup in different rooms already in place. 
  • When crafting a stand-up desk, make sure not to overlook the height of your screen. Even with laptop stands, it's common to strain the neck. Consider having a drop-down desk put in, which is a great idea for a makeshift office space whether it’s sit-down or stand-up. Installing one is easy on the wallet and on the eyes.
stand-up workstation

stand-up workstation

  • One flexible idea is a desk on wheels. Whether your home has a minimalist, art deco, or rustic vibe, this nimble piece of furniture can serve to compliment every room you decide to work from. You can even roll your office outside.
  • movable desk

    movable desk

    Ergonomics In the Home Office

    It is only too easy to develop muscle, nerve, and ligament problems from using your bed or couch as a desk. Make changes around your comfort and health and try to implement some ergonomics. To avoid aches, pains, and the development of bad posture,  incorporate plenty of legroom in your work-from-home setup You can also get a footrest, and change the placement of your keyboard so your arms rest comfortably at a right angle. Make sure your screen is at eye level. Pay attention to how you sit; ideally, your back should be supported with your feet flat on the ground. This way, your knees won’t hurt from your seat being too low or too high from the ground.

    Comfort is emotional as well as physical, and both kinds of comfort are important in assuring productivity and inspiration. When choosing a fun accent piece or wall color, choose colors that make you happy and calm. Positive energy is necessary to prevent motivation from dying down. 

    Let There Be Light

    There’s a reason why lights in the office are so white and bright - to keep us awake! If you haven’t gravitated your workspace to a window already, try it. It makes all the difference in lighting as well as attitude. However, rather than positioning yourself and your screen towards the light, try sitting perpendicular to the light source. This reduces glare on your screen.

    good lighting

    good lighting

    Natural light is especially nice and easier on the eyes. If your home does not have many windows or opportunities for natural light, consider getting a quote from an independent or certified window installer for putting one in. Integrating a window wall into the architecture of your house is a wonderful way to get more natural light and give the impression that the space you have is larger than it is. The light and airy feel will also increase the value of your home for when and if you decide to sell it.

    window wall for home office

    window wall for home office

    Reimagine the Space You’ve Got

    Although you’re most familiar with every nook and cranny in your home, especially after experiencing quarantine for months at a time, sometimes a professional eye may see an opportunity where you merely see a useless square foot or two. If you’re open to a little renovation, there are plenty of projects that a general contractor can suggest that will give you the space and atmosphere you’re craving.

    If you don’t have the space for an office, you can create a work nook. Since criss-cross applesauce isn’t ideal for the knees, you may want to avoid a reading nook bench.  Instead, you can have a tiny built-in desk and seat designed for you which can fit into the same amount of space.

    It may need an architect’s eye but you may even discover the possibility of creating a secret room, which may be especially interesting for parents who work from home with kids! If this is an option for you then break down that wall and dig in. A new room is an ideal way to get creative with endless home design and workspace setup possibilities.

    staircase office

    staircase office

    A bit less Hogwarts is the attic office. If you have an attic that is simply a storage room, a few weekends are really all you need to turn it into a home office. If the idea has tickled your interest, why not have a contractor give you an estimate on what the transformation will take? You may be surprised at how simple it can be. Some drywall, paint, insulation, and shelves for tucking away everything you don’t Maria Kondo away is really all that’s needed to make a loft office in your attic.

    attic office

    attic office

    Bring the Outdoors In, or Take the Office Outdoors

    biophilic office

    biophilic office

    Plants have the power to keep you awake, keep you positive and calm. They help establish harmony in the room which in turn helps reduce stress. If you’ve gotten this far then you probably won’t shy away from a little interior design project. So, let’s think bigger than placing a succulent on your desk. You can incorporate greenery into the actual design of your space. Hanging plants can embellish your space or create a living wall. Both have the effect of bringing a bit of the outdoors inside — a great natural boost for when the hours seem to drag on.

    plant in home office

    plant in home office

    When you’re working from home all day, sometimes it feels like you're simply stretching away from the couch, bed, or other procrastination zones like a rubber band: eventually you snap back, give in, and slow down productivity. The best way to get yourself in the zone is to create a zone. Whether you have a separate office, a nook, or an arbitrary part of your living room to work from, there are many creative ways to set yourself up for success. With clever yet simple designs, you can tell yourself “I’m at work” at home.

    Written by
    Ani Mouradian

    Written by Ani Mouradian