Remember the days when offices were synonymous with fluorescent lights, tacky carpeting, and rolodex-wielding cubicles? While our corporate overlords have spent the last two decades working overtime to turn their headquarters into places that look more like tricked-out residences, more and more people were actually doing the opposite, corralling themselves behind closed doors and turning entire rooms in their homes into soulless, cluttered spaces where it’s hard to imagine anything gets done. No more. The new home-office is a bastion, a place where you can take care of business while living your best life, sometimes even in plain sight. From décor to fuel your inspiration to locations that boost your productivity, here’s how to achieve aesthetic and spiritual balance in your own hobby corner or small office space.
The perfect home-office is a place where you can focus. Is that in front of a sun-filled window or in a dimly lit corner, in the middle of the action or away from the commotion? Once you’ve figured out the kind of environment that’s most conducive for productivity, factor in how much space you’ll need: If a laptop is the only piece of equipment you have to accommodate, you can tuck a home-office into a living room, kitchen, or bedroom; if you’ll require space for frequent visitors, consider a separate room.
Most retailers offer plenty of choices when it comes to furnishing your home-office, but steer clear of those ‘90s-era U- and L-shaped modular desks and opt instead for pieces that mimic residential furnishings—especially if they coordinate with the style of other items in the room or your home more generally. A dining table set beneath a striking chandelier makes for an attractive desk, colorful wallpaper can help delineate a space, and a side table that becomes extra seating for when clients drop in is both efficient and beautiful.
Whether you live in a small space or have plenty of room to branch out, choose multifunctional pieces that can pull double duty. A secretary that folds up to hide clutter or shelving that adds storage while dividing a room can make a big visual impact.
Your workspace should be a place of inspiration, so place things you love within eyesight. Hang colorful artwork, select pretty desk accessories and stationery, or enliven your space with a forest of potted plants. Just because you’re working doesn’t mean you can’t have fun—and you’ll feel more creative to boot.
Bad habits not only hinder your productivity—they mess with your chakra. Invest in your spiritual well-being by making your desk more ergonomically sound: stop hunching and prop up your computer so that the top of the screen is aligned with your eyes, opt for a comfortable chair that keeps your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, and use a task lamp to prevent squinting and eye strain.
A good home office takes organization to the next level—literally. Use your walls to maximize storage and decorative space vertically, whether that means installing shelving for books and filing or adding a cork board to pin important reminders or everyday inspiration where its easily visible.
Not big on square footage? You can install a home office in even the tiniest of spaces: a closet where the doors have been removed, an alcove under a stairway, or in a corner in any old room with a discreet wall-mounted desk. But do try to be near an outlet—there’s nothing like an unruly cord nest to lay waste to all of your best intentions.