How to Create Your Perfect, Inspirational Home Office Space

Let Your Home Office Reflect Your Personality
By Lisa Kanarek

What I don’t miss about a corporate office is having a standard-issue office that looks the same as everyone else’s office. When I was a corporate employee, my desk accessories were smoke gray, my desk with a return was tan and nondescript, and my guest chairs looked like something from my dentist’s office.

Working from home has changed all that. My home office has a mocha-color L-shape desk, a comfy animal print chair, family pictures and two bookcases.

One of the best parts about working from home is that your home office can reflect your style and taste. Just as you don’t have to wear a suit or dress to work, you don’t have to have a home office that matches your corporate counterparts. Instead, consider these four ways to make your home office reflect your needs and taste.

Bring your family into your office

Some companies don’t allow personal items anywhere in an office. When you work from home, adding artwork and personal photos can warm up and improve the overall look of where you work.

The perfect resource for artwork is right under your nose — just ask your children. Your budding Picasso or Annie Leibovitz can provide inspirational art and photos for every wall of your home office.

If you don’t have access to kid art, frame photos from your last vacation. The photos will add a bit of color and interest to your home office and you’ll always have a reminder of the great time you had on vacation.

Take a different view

What do you see when you look out your home office window? Depending on where you’ve set up your home office, you can change the feel of your office and even your mood, from the outside in. I changed the landscaping in my backyard because the dead plants and bushes barely hanging onto life weren’t very inspirational. Now when I look out my home office window, I see beautiful plants and (most of the year) blooming bushes.

Limit extra furniture

Take out old furniture that you moved into your home office because it didn’t fit the décor of your home. I’ve seen some incredibly ugly chairs make their way into a home office when they should have been donated or in some cases, burned. Also, don’t move extra furniture into your home office unless it does something other than take up room.

Let your office reflect your interests

If you enjoy gardening or playing golf, hang photos in your home office from your garden or your last golf game. Use desk accessories and mugs that reflect your hobbies and interests. If you’re a sports nut, hang memorabilia from your favorite team on your walls. Your office should be a reflection of you and your interests.

When you work from home, you can set up your home office any way you want. Just make sure it’s a place where you want to work, especially when the commute is only a few seconds long.

How have you personalized your home office?

Lisa Kanarek is one of the nation’s leading home office experts and the author of five books, including Organize Your Home Office for Success and Working Naked: A guide to the bare essentials of home office life. As one of only a few home office experts who is also an interior designer, Lisa combines her organization and design skills to create hard-working, productive home offices around the country. She is the founder of the work-from-home blog, WorkingNaked.com.

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45 Comments

  1. Your post really inspires me a lot Michelle. You know what before I started blogging and doing such thing here in social media. My office is located in my garage. No available space inside my house and to keep my important things safe from my younger siblings. From now on I just move out from the garage and find a new office outside. My uncle has a vacant lot just located near in our house. Finally, I just build a good office and a nicer one. Thanks for sharing this one Michelle. By the way if you have extra time. Just try to visit my site. It has undergone to major changes.
    Farrel recently posted… Another Monster at the End of This BookMy Profile

    1. Sometimes working from home doesn’t work. It’s not that you’re not disciplined, it’s your family that can get in the way. Good luck with your new office and congrats on your site update.
      Lisa Kanarek recently posted… 4 Home Office Traps to AvoidMy Profile

  2. I’ve carved out space in my daughter’s bedroom. She is away at college but there’s still a bed in the room. I took down a lot of her things and put up some of mine. She wasn’t thrilled about it but I needed the space. I love that it’s a light-filled room.
    Loran recently posted… Am I an underachiever if I don’t want to make $100,000 or more a year?My Profile

    1. it probably was tough to convert her bedroom, but considering that it’s not being used all year, you’ve made the right move (pun intended!). She’ll still have a place to stay when she visits, and you have a great office with excellent lighting.
      Lisa Kanarek recently posted… 4 Home Office Traps to AvoidMy Profile

  3. my office is the lower level of my bed room (bed is loft-bed) – no extra space for me.
    yes i would love a new desk – if money wouldn.t count some glassy l-shaped desk would be awesome.
    by the moment i creat accents with a bunny “carpet” over my chair – it has a big head ;D and some self painted pictures on the wall … and don.t forget the desk top cats now and then …
    i love it
    helen bogun recently posted… Commenting Issues with WordPressMy Profile

    1. What a great place to work (and play)! I love that there’s nothing corporate about your home office. You’re more likely to use a space that fits your personality and taste. The bunny carpet sounds very interesting (and fun). :)
      Lisa Kanarek recently posted… 4 Home Office Traps to AvoidMy Profile

  4. I know that for me, I need to have an office space that is both pleasant to hang out in for eight hours a day and yet functional. Right now, I’m stuck in the corner of the basement, but I have added some photos of the kids on the wall, a small fridge full of water and I think I am going to paint the walls to cheer things up a bit.
    Kelly Miren recently posted… Stop Sweaty HandsMy Profile

    1. You seem to have a good space to work. Painting the walls a lighter color definitely will help cheer up the space a bit. I’m sure your kids’ artwork adds a bit of interest to your home office, too.
      Lisa kanarek recently posted… 4 Home Office Traps to AvoidMy Profile

  5. Yup. Great advice, Lisa.
    I have a little porthole window in my office. My kids swore it was so I could spy on them- through a spy hole…
    But, they definitely decorated my walls with their art over the two dozen years I’ve had that office at home…Now, it’s my grandson’s chore…
    Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A. recently posted… We interrupt this message…My Profile

    1. Isn’t spying what a porthole window is for? :) I’m sure your grandson loves making art for you. What a great story.
      Lisa Kanarek recently posted… 4 Home Office Traps to AvoidMy Profile

  6. Inspiring post!

    It sure does inspire me to get my own office! Being a freelance writer and working from home in itself is something that requires proper time management- and if you really don’t have a well organized separate place of working, things get all the more tough!

    I think what really matters at the end of the day is that you create your corner by either making it your home office, or segregate an area of your house and really keep it out of bounds for everyone, especially while you are working. But yes, you can’t really stop kids from coming in- if they are too small :)

    Great tips to create such an office.

    Thanks for sharing :)
    Harleena Singh recently posted… Steps to Resolve Family ConflictMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Harleena. I agree with you about it being a bit difficult to keep kids out. But, if you train them early on, they’ll get used to you being home and working part of the time. You’re right that time management is so important when you work from home. It’s easy to get distracted.
      Lisa Kanarek recently posted… 4 Home Office Traps to AvoidMy Profile

  7. Lisa,

    Thank you for sharing ways to make our office space inspiring. I’ve moved my office around to different rooms over the years, and even when I had a spare room I could have used for my office, I chose to make the living room my office because it has the most natural light. Since it is a room that we seldom used otherwise, it’s perfect.

    In addition to natural light, it has great seating, a thriving live plant and also has the fireplace that I can light at night to create a cozy atmosphere when I work after dark. I have one corner that I’m working on for making videos, and my design will be complete.
    Flora M Brown, Ph.D. recently posted… Writers, Is Pinterest in Your Marketing Bag?My Profile

    1. Once my children were grown and began moving out, I was fortunate enough to move my office from the basement to the former living room. As a graphic artist & videographer It was fun remodeling the entire space into my favorite colors, black, white and my special fire engine red showcase wall which makes me smile every time I look at it.

      I now have plenty of space for all of my equipment , and when clients come in they are immediately impressed with all the tech set-ups. Sometimes I’ve worked for hours before noticing how much time has passed.
      :-)

  8. You had me at fireplace. :) Cozy is the perfect word to describe your home office. So many people who have living rooms they rarely use, just can’t give up that room and turn it into a home office. When they finally do, they can’t figure out why they waited so long to have the perfect home office with natural light. That’s something you rarely find in a spare room.
    Lisa Kanarek recently posted… 4 Home Office Traps to AvoidMy Profile

  9. Great post…I think our home office is a very important aspect of our business. I recently invested in revamping my home office…I bought a new homey lamp and really cute calendar deskpad, sticky note holder, etc. Cleaned up my desk area and reorganized it. Now, I work even better because I invested time and money into surrounding myself with stuff that I love. I also have lots of plants in my room since I love plants.
    Rhonda recently posted… Ultrabook PLR Reviews – 10 Articles and BonusMy Profile

    1. I love what you did to your home office. You’re right that it takes time and money to change your home office, but the difference in makes in the way you work, is worth it.

  10. Good post! I’ll definitely be pinning this on pinterest!

    1. Great. Thanks! Pinterest is one of my favorite sites.
      Lisa Kanarek recently posted… 4 Home Office Traps to AvoidMy Profile

  11. Thanks for sharing your tips Lisa. As you suggested my furniture is down to bare necessities. I also use some elementary Feng Shui in my office … I do not look at a wall when I work, I look out my window, and I have the colors red, black, white, green, and yellow in my work area – they correspond to the five Chinese elements and bring balance into my work space. I have a beautiful clear quartz crystal hanging at my window to capture the light from the window.
    Adalia John recently posted… How to Cope With Rejection: 2 Simple StepsMy Profile

    1. Some people say you can’t use Feng Shui in a home office, but you’ve proven you can. It’s a good idea to avoid facing the wall and facing the window instead. You undoubtedly enjoy working in your home office, even though there’s no commute. :)
      Lisa Kanarek recently posted… 4 Home Office Traps to AvoidMy Profile

  12. I now have a core ball chair, side table, a folding table for a desk and look out a large picture window at a pipe organ cactus. I have a Poster to the right of the desk, on the wall, that says “What are you gaining?” to remind me to use my time wisely. I have cut-down soda bottles planted with garlic and Roma tomatoes along the back edge of the folding table I use for a desk. The real desk, in the corner, holds art supplies.
    Jack V Sage recently posted… Poet’s Spotlight: Life Through Broken PensMy Profile

    1. What a great description of your home office. I can tell you enjoy working there, especially with all those special touches you’ve added.
      Lisa kanarek recently posted… The Advantages of Renting a MailboxMy Profile

  13. Thanks for sharing this, Michelle! And thank you, Lisa, for the awesome ideas! Right now my “office” is in the main area of our house (kitchen/diningroom area) LOL but I have a huge window (the doors to the deck) to look outside! YAY okay .. it’s my driveway and our neighbors’ back yards but I still get to see the outside world. I am hoping to have my own “space” by May .. but for now this works.
    Kimberly ~ Gypsy recently posted… Infograghic Sunday ~ Evolution of the Business CardMy Profile

    1. You’re right that the view doesn’t always matter. You get to take advantage of natural light and you don’t have to commute to a stuffy, corporate office without a window.
      Lisa kanarek recently posted… The Advantages of Renting a MailboxMy Profile

  14. Well, I haven’t get the luxury to work from home and I’m definitely considering it in coming months. Meanwhile I really liked your suggestion to make your work place more interesting to work on. I like to add one more suggestion here, you can also paint the wall with your favorite color with create more interest.
    Andy recently posted… Stay ahead in your PhD PreparationMy Profile

    1. Yes, that’s a great idea! Paint is one of the least expensive ways to change the look of your home office, but can make the biggest difference. Thanks for your suggestion.
      Lisa kanarek recently posted… The Advantages of Renting a MailboxMy Profile

  15. thanks for the tips that you shared and It’s helpful
    great job.
    Cley recently posted… Unlock iPhone 4My Profile

  16. Being at home is really a bit boring so sometimes, you can also make it interesting and you can make your home office as awesome as possible…
    AizzaMarie recently posted… Utopia Systems Hosted CRMMy Profile

    1. Working from home CAN get boring, and a bit lonely, too. By personalizing your space, you can make it more interesting.
      Lisa kanarek recently posted… The Advantages of Renting a MailboxMy Profile

  17. Some nice ideas – I might rethink a certain chair in my office, actually…

    1. I’ve changed the chair in my home office a few times, so I understand.
      Lisa kanarek recently posted… The Advantages of Renting a MailboxMy Profile

  18. I am in the process of moving my home. Of course, my home office is also moving!

    The only thing that I can see is the immediate desktop in front of my computer! Everything else is in boxes, piled high on the desk, or scattered through out the room! My files in the new place, but my file cabinet is still at the old place. I feel like I am in a state of disarray and confusion (probably because I am!)

    Time to get things in gear and make my office my own (and one I can work in!)

    Thanks for the post, Lisa.

    Be Well.
    Paul.
    Paul B. Taubman, II recently posted… Blog Post InspirationMy Profile

    1. Your office sounds similar to many I hear about (and see). Take it one step at a time. Unpack a few boxes every day, move your file cabinet to your office on another day, and soon your office will be the way you want it. It takes time, but it’s worth it to have a space where you enjoy working every day. Good luck!
      Lisa Kanarek recently posted… Bare Essentials: Bins and PinsMy Profile

  19. Hi Lisa,

    I just started working from home and I’m really excited to get my home office done. I have an extra room that I would like to convert to a home office and I already have a few ideas on how I would like it to look. I agree that your office should reflect your personality, you’ll be spending a lot of time in it so it should be a place you really want to be in.

    – Cristina
    Cristina (bedding babe) recently posted… DreamSacks – Silk Bedding Queen Silk Sheet Set Soft BlueMy Profile

    1. So true, Cristina. Making sure your home office reflects your personality makes all the difference in whether or not you’ll actually work in that space. I know I spend more time in my home office than I ever did in a corporate office. I’m not sure whether that’s good or bad. :) But, I love my home office (after redoing it a few times) and I enjoy working there.
      Lisa Kanarek recently posted… Bare Essentials: Bins and PinsMy Profile

  20. This is a nice thing about having a home office. I am still just a part-time blogger so i get to the differences of my two offices. The office at my work is drab and I don’t care to decorate it while my home office is full of the things I love. The feel of my home office is much more relaxing to me and of course I enjoy working there more than at my office at my job.
    Elena Anne recently posted… Acupuncture for Anxiety and DepressionMy Profile

    1. Those of us who work from home agree with you. There’s no reason to have a boring home office, especially when you can decorate it any way you want.
      Lisa Kanarek recently posted… Bare Essentials: Bins and PinsMy Profile

  21. I’ll use most of your tips to make my office more enjoyable. Unfortunately, the company I work for has several strict policies, therefore my creativity is pretty limited.
    Jack Sander recently posted… How to repair hole in drywallMy Profile

    1. I understand. You can still let your creativity come through by the pictures you hang and even the accessories you keep on your desk.
      Lisa Kanarek recently posted… Bare Essentials: Bins and PinsMy Profile

  22. It’s nice working with an office with a very beautiful set.up, because beautiful design ease any pressure and inspired in making things possible…
    Laura recently posted… Payant le métier d’avocat en France?My Profile

    1. You’re right. Some people don’t realize what a big difference the right home office setup can make.
      Lisa Kanarek recently posted… Bare Essentials: Bins and PinsMy Profile

  23. My space is similar to yours, it’s a cubby off of my family room. No privacy at all but that’s okay because it is just me and my husband. Kiddos all grown!
    I like to have things that inspire me and cheer me up. But my favorite thing is the large framed print of my book’s cover art. My husband surprised me with it for Christmas.

    Off subject, but is there a place on this site where people can talk about things off topic such; as my husband does not get what I do, nor do my friends and family? It’s like I am on an island by myself. I want to talk about what I’m doing, bounce my ideas off someone or have someone to share with when I’m excited about something new, that I just learned how to do! How do you find real support for those types of issues? I am alone in a room full of people!
    Susie recently posted… Product ReviewsMy Profile

  24. Thanks for the tips. When I’m trying to add decor to a room, I always look for neat prints or something to add. I have to have a personalized room, otherwise I get way too bored wit it.
    Mark recently posted… View Dynamic Glass: Electronically Tinted WindowsMy Profile

  25. Wow! Great tips. Thanks a lot. Glad I stopped by. Gonna subscribe ;)

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