How often do you use your home office? It’s not a trick question. Many homeowners set up dedicated spaces for getting work done, then allow those spaces to largely go underutilized. Often, the reason home offices don’t get much use is that they aren’t designed properly. But with these tips and tricks, you can make some minor renovations that may actually make you want to spend time getting stuff done.
Here are six tips for improving your home office design:
- Make it a space where you actually want to spend time.
- Bring in some distractions.
- Ensure comfortable seating.
- Include simple exercise equipment.
- Get into the habit of decluttering.
- Be smart about layout.
Make It a Space Where You Actually Want to Spend Time
One reason you’re maybe not using your home office is that it feels like a prison. Hopefully, you’ve set up shop in a room that has a window or two. Make sure you have window treatments you can pull back to not only let in some natural light, but to allow your mind a break with an outside view. Paint the walls a soothing, light color. Bring in a house plant or two. Consider hanging some of your children’s artwork, or maybe just some family photos that bring a smile to your face.
Bring in Some Distractions
This one may sound counter-intuitive, but if you have some favorite distractions in the office, you can reward yourself with some work breaks without having to leave the room. Your vice may be a guitar, a video game console, a book or a painting space – just be sure it's something you can spend a little time with and then return to work. Have some items in the room that you can use to give yourself a little reward after finishing a project. Again, you’re aiming for a place where you actually want to spend your time.
Ensure Comfortable Seating
It’s easy to take this one too far. When we say comfortable seating, we’re not encouraging you to get a sofa, a beanbag chair or any type of furniture that’s going to make you fall asleep. We’re just encouraging you to get a chair where you can be comfortable for more than a few minutes – an ergonomically designed piece that supports your back, promotes good posture and keeps you comfortable but also fully alert. A good office chair can be a really important investment as you seek a workspace you’ll actually use.
Include Simple Exercise Equipment
You don’t necessarily want your home office to double as a home fitness center. Bringing in a treadmill, bike and rowing machine is probably a bit much for an office space. But maybe you can bring in some free weights, dumbbells, or a yoga mat – just some small items you can use to stay active and get your blood pumping again from sitting at the desk. Again, you can use these items to reward yourself with a little break, and also to fend off drowsiness or fatigue. Something as simple as a resistance band can make a world of difference with regard to your home office use.
Get Into the Habit of Decluttering
There’s no way around it: The more you’re in the room, the more it’s going to attract clutter. The more clutter you generate, the less organized you feel, and thus, the less productive. The only way to deal with this problem is to develop a routine of decluttering regularly. You can add it to the family chore calendar, or even set up Google reminders for yourself. Remember, in today's day and digital age, saving paper documents is rarely necessary. Make sure you spend a few minutes tidying up your home office space at least once every couple weeks.
Be Smart About Layout
The way you arrange your home office matters a great deal. Ideally, you’ll have your desk facing or near a window to give yourself a good view, and away from the door, minimizing distractions from within the home. Have plenty of shelving and storage to help with organization. Have everything you need such as a scanner, printer and other office supplies readily accessible from your desk, with cords and wires properly organized and tucked out of sight.
A well-designed home office space will make it so much easier – and so much more enjoyable – for you to be productive. Follow the above tips to get started in the right direction.
It may be time to update your decor.
You may not be moving into a new house in 2020, but you can make your home feel new again by taking stock of each room and updating the design. You may want to make your living room more functional by finding a better furniture layout, brighten up a guest bedroom with new paint or go big with a full renovation of your kitchen for a more modern style. To make any design changes a success, however, you’ll want to know what styles will become more popular in 2020 and what fads are on their way out. Here are 10 interior design trends to consider in 2020.
Updated on Dec. 6, 2019: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.Zen dens break up floor plans.
Zen dens break up floor plans.
Open floor plans may be here to stay, but many homeowners are interested in creating a room that lets you separate yourself from the goings-on in the rest of the house. For some people, open floor plans are "too open,” says Tim Bakke, publishing director of online home and design plan company The Plan Collection, based in Scarsdale, New York. “If you have the TV on in the living room, everyone in the kitchen and the dining room is hearing it and seeing it.” Bakke says separate, closed-off living spaces called “zen dens,” are ideal for reading a book or having a more private conversation, and he thinks they’ll gain popularity in the coming year. “It’s not splitting up the house, but you have someplace where you can kind of get away from it,” Bakke says.Master suites expand.
Master suites expand.
As wellness gains emphasis, more homeowners are looking at spaces where they’ll most likely benefit. As a result, master bedrooms and bathrooms are getting more love. “Maybe a little bit of square footage is taken away from other parts of the house and put into the master suite,” Bakke says. Whether it’s to expand the bathroom and add a soaking tub or to make room for a sitting area in the bedroom, homeowners are considering their bedrooms as a space where they can spend more time beyond sleeping and getting ready for the day.Inside and outside continue to blend.
Inside and outside continue to blend.
Outdoor living has been gaining popularity over the last few years, and designers continue to see blurring the line between outdoor and indoor as a desire among homeowners. Gena Kirk, vice president of design for homebuilding company KB Home, based in Los Angeles, describes successful interpretations of the trend as “extending the great room into the backyard,” which not only makes entertaining easier, but also allows you to relax on comfortable seating on the patio when the weather is nice. For homes that experience colder seasons, a fire pit, outdoor fireplace or outdoor heaters allow for snuggling under a blanket while still enjoying the outdoor living space when the weather is chilly.Organic elements are here to stay.
Organic elements are here to stay.
Indoor plants have made a resurgence in recent years because they add life to a space. Meanwhile organic elements are expanding into furniture and decor as designers incorporate more natural wood tables, natural fiber rugs, coral, dried flowers and branches into decor. While these items are no longer living, they offer a connection to nature and the outdoors. Keep an eye out for sisal, jute or seagrass rugs, which can be found at major retailers like Home Depot, Ikea and Wayfair. While it’s easy to find faux coral tabletop decor, you need to read product descriptions carefully to find real coral for purchase.Wallpaper and texture provide depth.
Wallpaper and texture provide depth.
Rather than sticking to traditional eggshell wall finishes and basic cotton throw pillows, design experts are looking to patterns and textures to make rooms feel more dynamic and personal. Interior designers particularly encourage wallpaper in a half bathroom, where you can have a bit more fun without overwhelming the space. Wallpaper is making a comeback in other parts of the house as well. Barbara Kavovit, CEO and founder of Evergreen Construction in New York City, says wallpapering a room makes a great do-it-yourself project, requiring little skill – just the patience to do it right. You can also experiment with texture on walls, whether it means creating a faux stucco look with plaster and paint or incorporating upholstered panels or reclaimed wood.Velvet becomes a staple.
Velvet becomes a staple.
Velvet is becoming a preferred furniture fabric over microfiber or leather, since it offers a soft texture that looks luxurious in bright, bold colors. Expect to see more bedding accessories and throw pillows in velvet, which can provide additional texture in a bedroom or living room. This trend isn’t just for winter, either – if it's the right color and paired with other textures and materials, velvet works in a room year-round. Light pink or mustard velvet pairs well with just about any color.Blue is the color to incorporate.
Blue is the color to incorporate.
Both Pantone and paint company Sherwin Williams have announced that their colors of the year for 2020 are dark shades of blue: "classic blue" for Pantone and "naval" for Sherwin Williams. Dark and navy blues can serve as neutral colors for a room and pair well with lighter colors, bold jewel tones and even metallics for an art deco look. Lighter blues and greens are also popping up more in furniture, decor and paint palettes, which can make for a soft look or a bold statement in different combinations. As a wall color, navy creates a darker setting, leaving room to play around with lighter neutrals and pops of color in the decor. It can also be used as an accent in a lighter room.Say goodbye to gray.
Say goodbye to gray.
If you’ve been watching HGTV renovation shows or have toured homes at just about any point over the last decade, you know that gray has been the go-to neutral for walls, furniture and even home exteriors. But over the last couple of years, other neutrals have been threatening gray’s domination of the color market. “Those very cool grays – they’re dying. They’ve been dying. Everything’s starting to warm up,” Kirk says. Interior designers are seeing a return to shades of brown and beige, as well as navy, to offer a warmer palette. Don’t be afraid of looking outdated if you use gray in your color scheme for a room, but if your entire house is painted in the same gray shade, it’s time to add some variation.Computer rooms are out; charging stations are in.
Computer rooms are out; charging stations are in.
If you’re still dedicating part of your kitchen to house the family desktop computer or it has its own designated room, rethink that space. With everyone using laptops, tablets and smart phones to browse the internet, do homework and pay bills, there’s no need to take up space with a bulky desktop that no one’s using. A family computer room can be converted into the "zen den" your house has been missing, a guest bedroom or another space your family would use more. But there’s still something you can do for the family electronics: “Phone, tablets – all those things need to be charged,” Bakke says. He recommends creating a charging station with enough outlets to plug in multiple devices, located in a common drop zone where people enter and exit the house like the mud room.Minimalism moves over.
Minimalism moves over.
People still like clean lines, but these days designers are seeing more homeowners embrace eclectic decor styles, with modern vases and bowls as well as imperfect antiques that add variety. While a simplistic, uncluttered look is still popular, designers and homeowners now look to "incorporate focal points with an older piece," says Jim DiGiacomo, board member for Olde Good Things, an architectural salvage store based in New York City. Flea markets and antique stores are prime shopping targets. The opportunity to find one-of-a-kind pieces has expanded online as well, as eBay, Etsy and more specialized stores like Olde Good Things offer extensive online inventories, allowing you to find vintage prints, vases and even architectural gems like mantels, doors and ceiling tiles to incorporate in a room remodel or new home design.Interior design trends to keep an eye out for in 2020 include:
Interior design trends to keep an eye out for in 2020 include:
- Zen dens break up open floor plans.
- Master suites expand.
- Inside and outside continue to blend.
- Organic elements are here to stay.
- Wallpaper and texture provide depth.
- Velvet becomes a staple.
- Blue is the color to incorporate.
- Say goodbye to gray.
- Computer rooms are out; charging stations are in.
- Minimalism moves over.
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Haas’ team advises homebuyers and sellers on how to make the most of their experience by connecting them with the optimal agent partner for their needs. With over 10 years of experience in the real estate industry, including previous roles at Zillow and Auction.com, Haas is an expert on the ins and outs of home sales.