Life in the 21st century has its perks. One of those is to be able to work from virtually anywhere. If you've successfully persuaded your boss to let you log more hours from home this year, you'll want a killer workspace.
Don't let your home office become the dumping ground for all unwanted furniture and accessories. If you're going to really use your home office, make it an inspiring and functional space. So here are some tips for upgrading your home office.
1. Clear the clutter. Clutter accumulates throughout the year, be it unfiled paperwork, fabric samples or dried-out pens. Before anything else, sweep your space clean and start fresh.
2. Get organized. After getting rid of all the excess clutter, find an organizing system that works for you. Make sure that everything that might end up in your office is accounted for: bills, important paperwork, magazines, office supplies. Store each item in its appropriate bin, box, container or tray.
3. Pay attention to the view. There's nothing more uninspiring than staring at a white wall all day. Is there room to rearrange the furniture for your desk to face a window? If there isn't, consider artwork or even a mirror to hang above your desk and reflect the window behind you. Just make sure to hang it high enough that you don't end up staring at yourself all day long.
4. Make your layout multipurpose. In many homes, the office sometimes doubles as a guest room, media room or den. Setting up your desk across from the sofa or sofa bed will serve as double duty for TV watching. With that setup, you can either stream Netflix from a desktop computer or mount a TV on the wall behind the desk.
5. Build it in or tuck it away. Not everyone has the luxury of having a full room dedicated to a home office. When dealing with a workspace in an open space, sometimes the best solution is to create a desk space within a built-in storage wall to keep clutter at bay.
6. Float your desk. Does your work involve a lot of client visits at home? Or maybe you like having your kids pop in and chat while you work? If so, consider floating your desk in the middle of the room, and adding one or two guest chairs. This layout is more sociable and open.
7. Dual offices. When creating an office space for both you and your significant other, creating continuity helps keep a sense of order in the space. Try to match desks, chairs and lamps, and keep individual clutter tucked away.
8. Use the wall behind your desk. Installing bookshelves behind your desk is possibly one of the most practical changes you can make in your home office. A quick roll around and you have access to all your important files.
9. Check your lighting. During the day, you'll want your computer screen facing away from a window to avoid the daylight glare. At night, make sure you have a good task lamp to keep you burning the midnight oil while keeping eye strain in check.
10. Take a lesson in ergonomics. Your chair should provide adequate back support to allow you to keep your back and shoulders straight. Your feet should be flat on the floor. Your elbows should be at a 90-degree bend and align with your hands on the keyboard (anything less can strain your wrists). Your eyes should be level with the top third of the screen, and don't forget to take occasional breaks.
11. Get inspired. If you work in a creative field, you know the importance of finding inspiration on a daily basis. Surround yourself with objects and images that get your creative juices flowing.
12. Add interest with art. We often favor our common living spaces when it comes to buying art: the entrance hall, the living room and the dining room get priority treatment, often simply because that's where the art will be seen the most. But if you're going to be spending more time in your home office, make a point to start an art collection for your workspace. It's the perfect room to experiment with edgier and more affordable art.