How to Give Your Home Office a Makeover

Woman at desk in home office

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Rumor has it that Mary Kay started her business on her kitchen table. Many home business owners get started in a tiny corner of their home. As your business grows, you might want your home office to grow with it. If your home office isn't inspiring you anymore, it could be time to redecorate. Here are some things to consider when updating your home office.

Key Takeaways

  • Decorate your space with items that motivate you to do your best work
  • Make sure you have organizational tools to minimize clutter
  • Choose the style of desk that works best for you, whether it's a standing desk, traditional desk, or something else

Things to Consider in Your Home Office Design

While you may not have many home office options when you first start, it's important to consider a permanent home office that maximizes productivity. But even the ideal home office space can lose its oomph. Periodic redesign of your home office can re-energize and inspire you. Below are things to consider when setting up or redesigning your home office.

Office Space

Your kitchen table is a good place to get started when you first work from home, but eventually you’ll want an office that supports your work. Having to pack up to move off the dining room table each night can get old quickly. The ideal space in your home is free from work-time distractions and has a door, both of which make it easy to divide work time and space with your personal time and space to create greater work/life balance.

Along with being away from high traffic areas, you want to think about other distractions, such as how loud is the outdoor activity, TV or appliances. Make sure the temperature of the room is conducive to working. If you’re meeting clients in your home, you want a place that is close to where they enter and that can be away from your regular living space.


Many people put their home office in a basement, which isn’t bad, but there are many benefits to natural lighting. If you have to be in a dark area without windows, get good quality lighting that not only lights the room but your work area as well. Light can help you avoid eye strain, and boost your mood.


When you work at a desk all day, you need to make sure you don't strain your back. There are home office items you can skimp on, but a chair isn’t one of them.

Clutter Control​

Research suggests that messy people are geniuses. However, a messy desk can increase stress, sap energy, and lower productivity. Your desk doesn’t need to look like Martha Stewart organized it, but it should be organized enough to find what you need easily. Put pens, paperclips, and other office items into a cup or other desk organization tool.


If you find that you have too many papers to keep track of, you might want to consider switching to a digital system to make organization easier.

Functional Office Space 

While getting up and moving is good for your health, it can interrupt your focus and workflow and slow you down. Make sure that you can easily access items that you use a lot. For example, if you use the phone often, you’ll want it on your desk.

If your home office requires a lot of technology, you want to make sure you have available outlets. While extension cords can give you some flexibility, they can get in the way and cause a tripping hazard.

Decorate to Inspire and Motivate

Even working at home can get tedious and dull. A drab home office can sap your energy and make it hard to work. Paint your home office in a color you like. Hang pictures and posters that motivate you. Surround yourself with items that bring you joy, like pictures of your family, inspiring quotes, or a vision board.

Be Green

Designing an environmentally-friendly home office isn’t just about being kind to the earth. It can also reduce clutter and your expenses. Reuse and recycle paper and other items whenever possible. Use energy-saving light bulbs and power strips. Energy saving methods can also help you will save on your power bill.

Consider Your Budget

It can be fun to decorate a home office, but you don’t want to waste money on unnecessary items. While you don’t want to sacrifice your comfort, you do want to be frugal, at least in the beginning. Take inventory of your home and see what items you already have that can be moved to your home office.

Hold off on buying new computers, printers, and software unless you need it. If you need new furniture, check out your local thrift shops, which often have durable furniture at affordable prices.

Where to Place Your Desk

Along with the other office space issues already mentioned, don't forget about a crucial piece of your office. Your work desk will need to suit your work, fit your budget, and complement your office space. Some considerations in choosing your desk include the location of the office in your home, and whether or not you need space for multiple monitors, monitor stand(s) and a keyboard drawer. 

Traditional Desk

A simple straight-forward desk is ideal for small spaces, if you prefer a minimalist design, or if you’re just starting and don’t have the budget for office furniture. A table can even work, although a desk with drawers offers storage to keep your desk clutter-free.

While you can put your desk against a wall, in many cases, regular desks can be placed almost anywhere, including in the middle of the room, perpendicular to a wall, or in front of a window. If your home office is in a bedroom, you can put the desk in the closet.

Desk With Hutch or Shelves

If you don’t have a lot of room, but still need something to keep all your tools and resources close, a desk with a hutch or bookshelves is a good option. Like the traditional straight desk, a desk with a hutch can take up little space, while offering more function.

Because desks with hutches take up vertical space, they’re usually placed against a wall. If you need the features of a hutch but can’t afford a new one, consider buying an inexpensive bookshelf to set on your desk, or hang shelves over your desk.

L-Shaped Desk

If you like to spread out or need many resources within reach, an L-shaped desk is a good option. An L-Shaped desk can sit in the corner to use up just a little space, or you can be creative, placing the desk like a V in the room. Or you can set the desk perpendicular to the wall, in which case you can have a bookcase or shelves along on the wall, creating a U-shaped work area.

If you can’t afford to buy an L-shaped desk, you can create your own using a table and an existing desk, or buying two desks from the thrift shop. 

T-Shaped Desk

T-shaped desks are ideal if you have a partner or spouse you’re building your home business with, or need two work stations. A T-shaped desk can also have bookshelves or a hutch at the top of the T, giving you even more storage.

While you can create your own, using two desks at the top of the T, and two desks along the stem of the T, this can take up more room, and be more costly. 

U-Shaped Desk

If you want a complete command center, a U-Shaped desk is a great option. A U-shaped desk takes up a lot of space, so it’s best in a larger room. The benefit is that you essentially get three work areas. If you need multiple monitors, but also, space to work on non-computer activities, a U-shaped desk can provide that. With a simple turn of your chair, you can switch your workstation. U-shaped desks can be expensive, but you can create your own buy putting desks and tables you already have or found at the local thrift store together in a U-pattern. 

Galley Design

The galley design is essentially two desks laid out parallel to each other. It offers similar benefits that the U-shaped desk does in that you can swivel to work at one station or the other. It's easy to create a galley design with two desks or a desk and regular table or buffet table.

Standing Desk

Research suggests that a sedentary lifestyle is detrimental to your health. One solution to sitting all day is to get a standing desk. A standing desk often has all the features of a traditional desk, such as keyword drawer and monitor stand, but it’s at a height that has you standing to work. With that said, other research suggests that standing all day isn’t necessarily good either. In that case, you can get an adjustable desk-top stand, which allows you to work sitting or standing. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Decorate My Professional Office?

Hang work-appropriate artwork that inspires you, bring in low-maintenance plants, and use small area rugs and family photographs to make the space your own.

Where Should a Desk Be Placed in a Home Office?

You should put your desk as close to any natural light as possible. If you do not have natural light, you'll want to get lamps to brighten up the space.

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