10 Tips for Designing Your Home Office

Work in style in a beautiful and functional home office.

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Distressed Custom Shelves Used for Cape Cod Theme A cottage-style office by designer Luis Caicedo



6. Choose homey accessories. Unless you're going for a contemporary look, choose extras that enhance the comfy feeling of your home office, like a pretty mug for a pencil holder, trendy notepads and sticky notes, and a decorative waste basket. Wrap your bulletin board in a gorgeous fabric, and hide utilitarian bookshelves behind curtains made from the same material. Hang inspirational prints on the walls, whether that's simply your kids' framed artwork or a classic painting.

7. Organize vertically and horizontally. Many home offices aren't swimming in square footage, so using space efficiently is imperative. Hang floating shelves on the walls to get papers and office equipment off the desk, and use vertical file folders on the desk to keep important papers within arm's reach. Are you a stacker or a filer? If you tend to make piles, get a nice basket to tame your mail, notes, and papers. If you prefer a clean desktop, designate one drawer for your "to-do" papers. Wooden or metal cube storage is a fun alternative to bookshelves, since each space can be used for books, knickknacks, or baskets of odds and ends.

8. Master your technology. There's not much you can do to beautify the computer, printer, and phone, but you can hide unsightly cords. Start by making sure your equipment is close to outlets and easy to access if you need to unplug. Encase cords on the desk in a pretty fabric cord cover like this one from Taylor Gifts, and feed the cords into a desk grommet, a plastic or metal cap that helps guide cords through a hole in the desk and hides them underneath. Tame the cord jungle on the floor with cord winders, tubing, or a wire organizer that's attached to the desk and lifts the cords off the floor.

9. Let there be light. Here's a bright idea: make sure your office has plenty of light to cut down on eye strain and headaches. Position the computer monitor so there's no glare from a window or overhead light, and put a small lamp on the desk for task lighting.

10. Inspire yourself. Set up a mini-shrine — a few cherished knickknacks, a piece of framed art, a special photo on your desk — that motivates you to create and/or get the work done so you can get out of there. A print of Paris can channel your inner muse, or a photo of your children might remind you that you're doing it all for them.

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