Whether you have a dedicated home office or just want a small space for paying bills and being creative, you will want to consider several elements when creating your perfect spot. These elements are function, location, filing, storage, and decor. In today’s post, I will help you set up your workspace and navigate through paperwork, electronics, basic office supplies, books, reference materials, and decor.
When planning your office, you will want to think about your specific needs. Will you need extensive computer equipment, an area for meetings, file cabinets, extensive shelf space, lighting, or bulletin boards? You will also need to consider the outlet locations and finally, most folks prefer to face the entrance when seated at their desk. Wherever you place your desk, I recommend leaving 36″ clearance behind the chair to move comfortably. When planning lighting for your space, you have many options, including ceiling lights, table lamps, and wall sconces, wired or plugin mounted on the wall above the desk. Make sure light is not above a computer screen, which can make it difficult to see.
Not everyone has enough space for a dedicated office, but that’s okay, because you can divide one room into distinct areas with a little spatial planning. As you think about setting up your workspace, consider setting up a space in a closet, guest room, kitchen nook, or basement. Where in your space does it make sense to place your desk or work area? Remember to consider, lighting, outlets, noise, and other distractions.
We use one of our three bedrooms as an office/den, which provides a place to work and a comfortable seating area to relax. I found a small, live edge desk with hair pin legs from HomeGoods that looks great and didn’t cost a fortune. The vast majority of the time, we will use this space as an office, but it may need to accommodate an overnight guest on occasion. We bought a gently used Natuzzi leather couch at True Treasures, which will make a comfortable bed in a pinch.
Filling & Storage
I love the wood grain and color on those shelves, chair and desk, which all work beautifully in this light filled office. Hopefully, the wall facing the window has matching closed storage that meets the needs of the homeowners. I recommend keeping 70-80% of your stuff in closed storage, such as file cabinets, drawers, closets, etc. By creating negative space around the remaining objects (20-30% of your things), those items will take center stage.
As you can see below, Jim designed and installed a Home Depot Closet system that works for our needs. About 80% of this closet is used to hide clutter and things we use occasionally.
Pro Tip: Now you are ready to get organized! Start by gathering all the items that belong in the office into a bin. You will need to sort, throw out and file everything that you brought into the office space, but remember it doesn’t have to be done all at once. Follow the Rule of One principle by owning fewer, better things. Here are the items we keep in closed storage in our office:
- Minimize the amount of paper by downloading and digitizing instead of printing
- Pay bills online
- Financial, Will, and Living Will Documents (Originals with attorney or Safe Deposit Box)
- Office supplies
- Cords and Electronics
- Business papers
- Educational materials
- House and appliance manuals
- Books to read
- Fishing supplies
- Hobby items
Placing your favorite pieces into your space is how you will bring personality into your office. We used many of our existing pieces, including Jim’s aerospace stamp art and my colorful, hand-blown glass cup to hold pens. Consider adding your favorite colors in paint, art, pillows, and rugs. When choosing a color, consider using muted hues over bright, pure colors. Adding a cork board surrounded by a picture frame will give you a spot to contain your inspirational photos and clippings.
Adding your favorite books, family photos, a plant, scented candle, and a inbox will make the space inviting and pleasant. Since our desk is small, I prefer a wall mounted inbox for action items like bills, career, personal projects, or kids stuff. The inbox is only for items that need your attention, everything else needs to be put away, thrown away, or digitized. Keeping your space organized and uncluttered ensures your office will always look great.
If you need a bit more help, take a look at Shira Gill’s book, Minimalista which provides a step-by-step guide to a more organized home, wardrobe, and life.
Our office and den space functions perfect for us, plus it is a warm and inviting space. We are currently using this space to store items needed to finish our primary bathroom remodel, but this room will be cleared out when the bathroom is completed shortly. Which will be just in time for the new AllModern daybed I ordered today.
I will update this post once the daybed is set up. In addition, I will be sharing our Primary Bathroom Reveal in the coming weeks, so be sure to subscribe below to never miss an update!