If you’re a woman who runs a business or works from home, you both need and deserve a beautiful office space. Many people who work from home set up shop wherever they can find it — like the end of the dining room table, or a basement. While these spaces can be fine, they can also cut into your productivity if they don’t provide an efficient space for the equipment you need. Does your whole computer fit comfortably on the edge of that table? Do you need a desk, not a table?
In addition, a lot of home office spaces leave room for distraction. If you’re in the dining room or haphazardly move some stuff into a basement, your kids or cats might feel free to wander in and demand attention.
Maximum efficiency means that you work when you work. Distractions can add up to two hours’ worth of productivity for every four hours you work. You don’t want that.
So what’s the solution? Easy. You need to mark off a space in your home clearly as your office. When you’re there, everyone around you needs to understand that you’re working — just as if you were sitting in an office downtown. Only work gets done in that space. The kids and the cats have their own space where you can play, and it’s separate from the home office.
Now for the great part: Along with efficiency, you also deserve beauty. Beauty calms us. As a result, it can be as efficiency-producing as the most streamlined office. You can take a little time to beautify the space you’ve chosen in a way that speaks both to your love of beautiful surroundings as well as your skills as a businesswoman.
Decide What You Need in a Workspace
Think about your business needs. What do you need to do your work? It may be obvious that you need a computer, for example. But do you need legal pads to write your sales call prospects on? Drawers to hold supplies like post-its? Binders to hold your past records? Will you need lighting to see once it gets past 4:00, or do you have a space where light will be adequate? Do you need blinds to counteract glare on your computer screen?
Part of planning for a home office is planning to have efficient equipment and enough storage space. In fact, one of the key mistakes home office planners make is not accounting for minor storage options like wire holders for their computer wires.
Choose the Space
Once you’ve determined what you need, start to scout around for a place to claim as your home office. Few homes have an area with a “home office” tag on it. So you’ll need to think about the spaces available.
When deciding on a space, think about what functionality is important to you. Would you prefer a room away from the high-traffic areas of the house? If you have an extra bedroom or a den not really used for anything else, it could be an obvious choice. A basement is also the site of many a home office.
However, you can get creative with spaces. Do you have unused corners in a large room? You can choose a desk that fits into a corner. Do you have a large walk-in closet not in use? Some walk-ins are a good size for an office once you take out everything that says “closet.”
Make the Space Say “Beautiful Home Office”
Once you’ve chosen the space, decorate it! Decoration does two things. First, it demarcates your office from spaces surrounding it, which enhances your productivity. You’ll be less inclined to do a non-work-related task.
If you’re in a corner of a den, for example, a wall painted a cool blue could mark off the home office from the TV space, where the walls are ivory. When you walk into the cool blue space, you’re working. When you move into the ivory space, you can watch every episode of The Middle.
Second, a beautiful space is calming. Have a bud vase on your desk with a fresh flower every day. Place an embroidered wall hanging where you can look at it while you brainstorm. Lacquer the sides of your desk in Chinese red and accent it with pink.
You deserve a home office that organizes your space, discourages nonproductive interruptions and soothes and uplifts you. Plan one today!
Savannah Hemmings is a lifestyle blogger and personal stylist. She has a passion for equal wages, guacamole and chickory coffee from New Orleans. When she isn’t writing about her favorite design trends, you can most likely find her training for her latest marathon.