Your home office is the nerve center of your living space — it’s your workspace away from work, your financial desk, your communications hub.
Home office organization is key. Messes are distracting. And if your home office is both chaotic and small — like a desk crammed into a corner of your living room — good luck accomplishing anything.
We’ve come up with 10 home office ideas to get the most out of this important space. With these tips to spruce up your room, you may actually welcome the opportunity to balance the books, wrap up that big presentation for your boss or simply cruise Pinterest for a few precious minutes.
10 home office ideas to get you motivated to work!
1. Color-code your paperwork.
It can be easy to let endless paperwork clutter your desk, leaving you with no space to be productive. Get organized with this colorful two-step process:
- Sit down, respond, dismiss. If bills, letters and other documents need your attention, make a reoccuring appointment in your calendar to sit down and get them done. Feels good, right? Now toss (preferably recycle) and repeat. Schedule time to knock out paperwork or you’re going to just rebuild the mountain.
- File all paperwork into color-coded folders. Some paperwork needs to be saved. Each category (medical, financial, insurance, warranties, etc.) should have a unique color or pattern. Not only will this system make your paperwork easy to find and store, but it will add a pop of color to your workspace.
Plan to Scan. Want to minimize even more? Invest in a digital scanner that allows you to keep your files on your computer — and then sign up for e-billing whenever possible. Just make sure to back up any important files in the cloud. Programs like Google Drive and Dropbox are free and easy to use.
2. Make a DIY supplies caddy.
Never lose your favorite highlighter again! Create a do-it-yourself desk caddy to hold and organize all of your pens, markers, scissors and other supplies.
- Take a shoebox that is in good condition and cover it with decorative paper, using Modge Podge as an adhesive.
- Cut toilet paper rolls that reach about a half inch above the box and cover those rolls in paper that matches the box.
- Line the toilet paper rolls next to each other so they touch. Use a little glue to keep them in place. When dry, fill them with your tools.
3. Create emergency binders.
While a filing system is great for day-to-day paperwork, you may want to create specific binders for your most critical documents.
“Organize your most important papers in binders for easy grab-and-go in case of an emergency,” blogger Toni Hammersley of A Bowl Full of Lemons explains. “For example, if there was a medical emergency, you could grab your medical binder and have all the information you need immediately.”
Other emergency binder ideas include auto manuals, home appliances and individual binders for each person (and pet!) in the house.
4. Conquer your cords.
It’s okay to say it: you hate cords. They are a pain to untangle and look messy when just thrown in a drawer. Tame your cords by wrapping them in toilet paper rolls (surprising how handy these things are): simply cut the roll lengthwise, roll tight and adhere with fun, colorful tape (see the great job done by Jillee at her One Good Thing Blog). You can even write the name of what each cord does right on the roll. So convenient!
5. Re-use cookie tins.
For larger office items, like paint cartridges, labels and business cards, cookie tins are are great way to keep things organized and out of the way. Stack them on top of each other on shelves, place them in your drawers or leave them on your desk. Tins are available in many shapes, colors and sizes, so you won’t be stuck buying Christmas-themed ones (unless you want to. Then go for it.).
Added bonus: Buy a cookie tin with some cookies inside…you know, office cookies.
6. Utilize a crate.
Stuck in a small space? A rustic wooden crate is a great substitute for drawer space and bookshelves, and it can be placed nearly anywhere it’s most needed. Hold binders, books, supplies and other office essentials while adding a litle touch of Americana to yourworkspace. If you get an authentic vintage crate, it can stand alone; if you pick one up from the craft store, feel free to add some decoration.
“An ecofriendly way I have created storage in my office is by stacking old wood crates on top of one another to create a bookshelf,” Jackie Hausler, creator of the Haus2Home blog, told us. “I purchased some at an antique store and received a few from local farmers to make my space fit with my style, all while creating a creative space for my books to live.”
7. Put thought into your wall color…
Colors can change your mood and should be chosen carefully. For example, painting an office white can have a sterile feel associated with a clinical setting (think hospital) and seem intimidating. In contrast, deep colors can also have a negative effect on your mood.
“Colors that are very saturated and not very bright, like emerald green and sapphire blue, generally promote an energy level that puts people into overdrive if they’re trying to do thoughtful work alone or to collaborate with others,” Sally Augustin, PhD, an environmental psychologist and principal at Design With Science, told The Huffington Post. “They just can’t concentrate well.”
So what’s the ideal office color? Subtle neutrals. People have a hectic lifestyle, meaning they are drawn to calming environments. If you like having bright color in your space, incorporate it as an accent.
8. …and the same goes for lighting.
The wrong lighting can have a negative impact on your mood — even causing depression! If you can, pick a room for your home office that has the most natural lighting. Sunlight has an almost equal balance of each color in the spectrum, making it a pleasant option for the eyes. If your office is in a room that lacks sunexposure, it’s important to choose the right kind of bulbs.
“For human comfort, a yellow-cast illumination is best,” Emtrepreneur.com’s Eve Gumpel suggests. “It is the color of brightness, and midway through the color progression from cool to warm.”
Protect your eyes! Avoid placing your lighting above your computer screen, since this can cause a glare.
9. Incorporate (literal) life.
“Another way you can make your home office space an inviting and comfortable place is by including plants,” blogger Jackie Hausler says. “They brighten up the room and provide cleaner air in your space.”
Plants reduce stress, remove air pollutants and offer a pleasant focal point, adding positive energy into your workspace. For those new to the plant game, the experts at Gardening Know How recommend using pothos, spider plants, philodendrons, snake plants and cactus plants. These options can withstand indoor conditions and don’t require much maintenance.
10. Add a personal touch.
Working countless hours at a desk can be draining, and, frankly, quite boring. Instead of sticking to typical picture frames, try these unique ideas that add personalization without cluttering your office:
- Blow up black and white photos of your family onto canvases and hang them in a college, creating an accent wall.
- Attach a string horizontally above your workspace, using clothespins to hang pictures at eye level.
- Arrange your photos on your desk and cover them with a sheet of plexiglass, giving yourself some inspiration every time you look down.
- Add a second workspace to your home office — sometimes, it’s more fun (and productive) to work with your spouse, kids or a friend.
No space to create your dream home office?
Having problems focusing due to a cluttered home office? With the right tips, you can transform any room into a productive work zone.
Uncle Bob’s can help get you started. With a variety of storage units to choose from, our facilities are capable of protecting even your most valuable items. Check out our website to contact us or learn more about our storage rates, locations and current deals.
Do you have any creative home office ideas? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @UncleBobStorage.
Subscribe for Free Printables
Join our mailing list to receive exclusive access to free giveaways once a month.