5 Tips to Improve Your Home Office Setup

Posted in Freelance, Tips, Web Design3 years ago • Written by 12 Comments

Your workstation allows you to work freely and think creatively while saying much about your personality in the process. Each setup has its own story and plays an important role in helping a graphic or web designer finish their work successfully.Since we spend a lot of time in front of the computer, it’s important to consider your working environment and how it affects both your mood and productivity.

While there are countless ways to organize your workspace, and no hard and fast rules for doing so, it is still worthwhile to explore ways to construct your office setup to maximize productivity. Through this article I will present 5 ways to do just that!

Storage boxes like these from Ikea are a simple way to organize your office and clean up clutter.

Clean Up Clutter

Disorganization and clutter can be a constant battle in your home office if you don’t have a system set up to manage it. Clean the desktop of anything you don’t use or need anymore. Set up a time each week/month where you clean out your office, too. Creating a proper schedule ensures your desk and overall workspace looks neat only for you but potential clients that may come through.

Use the storage features of your desk regularly. Check often to make sure there are no unused papers, files or other items that can make drawers or cabinets needlessly full. A messy look can reflect on your personality and capability – something to not look forward to when you have a deadline looming.

Include Sufficient Lighting

One of the elements that has a large impact on the overall appearance of your space, but is often overlooked it lighting.

  • You should try to incorporate two sources of light into your room – an overhead light as well as a task light.
  • If you prefer a natural feel and you have access to it, natural lighting can do wonders to improve your mood in addition to providing the light you need to get the task done.
  • Extra seating can also be highlighted by a floor lamp.
  • It’s easy to express your personality through lighting with a large variety of modern styles available today.
  • It’s also important to set up the lighting to reduce glare. Your desk lamp can use LED technology to consume less energy and be more efficient overall.
  • Use curtains or a lamp shade to reduce glare.

Sources:
Ikea.com

CB2.com
JustHomeDecor

Establish A Focal Point

Having a focal point that directs your attention can keep you focused on the task. Many home offices don’t have one but it’s to your benefit to establish one.

  • For designers this can simply be your MAC or PC at your desk.
  • To enhance the visual impact, offset your computer with some hanged grouped artwork in the background or installing a specialized wall treatment such as wallpaper or a mural.
  • Adding an area rug also grounds the space and adds a little something extra in the process.
  • A focal point is a necessary design element that grounds the space so take careful considerations in how you wish to organize it.

Choose the Wall Color

It may be beneficial to set up your home office and the materials you wish to include in it, then chose a wall color that compliments them as opposed to the other way around. Remember a room can be interesting without the walls screaming of color, so choosing a neutral shade with a touch of color may be to your benefit. It’s also hard to grow tired of a neutral color, which means less painting over the long haul. And remember that colors are often more intense than they are on a paint chip so you’re best bet is to move down a shade or two on the color card before finalizing.

  • Yellow is known to stimulate creativity, clarity of though, and mental activity – making it an excellent choice for a home office color.
  • Red is an aggressive color, so it’s good for those selling or making deals.
  • Blue-Green can be a soothing color – a great choice for writers.
  • Oranges encourage socialization – great for a small office using a team approach to management.

Here’s a guide on Color Psychology that can help in your decision.

Inspire Yourself

This is perhaps the most fun aspect of decorating your home office – inspiring yourself through:

  • Artwork
  • A whiteboard
  • Family photos
  • An inspirational quote that speaks to you
  • Fresh flowers that liven up the room can go along way in enhancing your productivity and keeping you motivated

Since a lot of web designers are freelancers who work from home, we have full creative control over what we place in our workspace to keep us on task. Use this category to express your personality and motivate yourself through visual encouragement.

Sources:

Wallwords

Showcase of Workstations

Joseph Lifrieri

This creative workspace by Joseph Lifrieri clearly makes use of a focal point in his home office workstation. Behind his PC’s are posters expressing his personal interests and lend to the overall style of the workstation very well.

Ignaty Nikulin

Ignaty Kikulin uses a creative mix of existing shelving and bought to create his workspace. Although there are trinkets, the space remains clutter free and still gives you a glimpse into the designer’s personality.

Jonas Lekevicius

This bare bones, modern workspace allows the designer the comfort and convenience of focusing solely on their work with this minimalist backdrop.

Matt Regan

The workstation of Matt Regan utilizes task lighting and the materials essential for a designer to get their work accomplished.

Brendon Grobler

Through the use of natural lighting, this workstation of designer Brendon Grobler utilizes a key element in maximizing productivity.

Jonathan Patterson

This slick, modern workstation for designer Jonathan Patterson is another example of a simple layout with a focal point – the Mac.

Dean Oakley

Through the use of posters and stereo speakers, the designer Dean Oakley achieves a personalized space effective for getting work done.

Additional Resources

There are websites that are designed to show you workstation setups. Check out Workstation Setups and also one of my personal favorites, Deskography. If you find another workstation setup that you would like to share, feel free to leave a comment about the website!

Conclusion

Here are some tips to take away from this article (and more to consider) in designing your new space:

  • Just because a paint color is on a chip doesn’t mean it should be on a wall
  • Incorporate something that inspires you, such as a piece of artwork, area rug, or accessory
  • Eyes 24-36 inches from computer screen and the top of your monitor should be below or at eye-level
  • Feet should be on a foot rest or planted firmly on the floor
  • Slightly reclined chair posture is best to reduce vertebrae pressure and minimize lower back pain
  • Enhance your focal point and offset it with a bookshelf, wallpaper, or decorative mural
  • Pick lighting that suits your personal tastes
  • Your office design can match your brand, have fun with it!

Your home office has a big impact on your productivity, creativity, and energy levels. Clutter as well as an uninspired space can deter your business goals, so taking these steps to enhance your home office setup can help your feeling of personal success.

14 Written Articles

12 Comments Best Comments First
  • Fareed

    Monday, June 6th, 2011 19:54

    1

    Thats awsome, very stylish and looks rich…

    0
  • Jary

    Thursday, June 9th, 2011 14:12

    5

    Very informative! I have a small office now but will be looking to expand soon and this will be helpful. Thanks for this great article!

    0
  • Gavin

    Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 09:41

    4

    After reading this I went home and moved my set up, desk, boxes, books everything into the conservatory. It’s completely out of the way from everyone walking in and out and has awesome light and warmth. As well as that, I’m surrounded by a 360 degree view which is always inspiring.

    The best of it is, it has awesome acoustics for my music – so, win win all round I think (except the glare on my macbook screen of course)

    0
  • David

    Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 02:58

    3

    I think if I bought a 27″ display to use with my MacBook, that would be a great start to improving my home office. I agree with having inspiration around you when you work, it can help get your mind working. Great article.

    0
  • Andrea Spikes

    Monday, June 6th, 2011 20:47

    2

    This article inspired me to change my office up :p

    0
  • Yuriy

    Monday, June 13th, 2011 01:37

    6

    Nice, i like it.
    Also i like photos of people workspace :)

    0
  • chudamani reddy

    Monday, June 13th, 2011 18:04

    7

    It’s nice ,good looking

    0
  • Trevor

    Wednesday, September 14th, 2011 05:25

    11

    I am in the process of organizing and setting up a spot to work. The pictures of the work stations really gave me food for thought.

    0
  • Samuel Guebo

    Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 11:50

    10

    Great post. You made my day..

    0
  • Kenn Schroder

    Wednesday, June 15th, 2011 04:49

    8

    “Slightly reclined chair posture is best to reduce vertebrae pressure and minimize lower back pain” – huge. I strongly recommend setting good posture and a relaxed breathing position. Even breath for a minute or two and upright yourself comfortable before beginning. I know it sounds a bit out there for you newer designers – perhaps you’ll just find out in time.

    Here are three things that did NOT work out for me.

    1 – Multiple monitors / computers. The more screenspace and more processing power lead to more applications and more windows open which lead to less focus and more distraction. Now I have 1 laptop with a 12inch screen. One thing at a time as best I can – and if something is “running” i can jump on something mindless, like cleaning up the desktop or picking my nose. ;)

    2 – Any cool chair with wheels or arm rest etc. Arm rests cause me to lean on them and then my body is unaligned, leading to some ache somewhere (neck, shoulder, etc). The chair that works best is something hard, basic, no arm rests, allows me to sit upright and I aim for typing space just about belly button level. Posture is huge, especially because of hours on the laptop.

    3 – Paper clips, nice paper, extra folders, gadgets, gizmos and other desktop doodads. Most I obtained thinking it will boost productivity and they only caused clutter. They say masters try out many things but eventually scale back to the few things they do well. I go minimalist when can.

    Thanks for your tips and starting this discussion Stephanie!

    0
  • Cristy

    Thursday, June 16th, 2011 17:19

    9

    Nice post. I was thinking about changing my office setup, and haven’t yet decided on what color should I choose for the painting :) . Hope to start updating soon :D

    0
  • Trevor

    Wednesday, September 14th, 2011 05:25

    11

    I am in the process of organizing and setting up a spot to work. The pictures of the work stations really gave me food for thought.

    0
  • Samuel Guebo

    Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 11:50

    10

    Great post. You made my day..

    0
  • Cristy

    Thursday, June 16th, 2011 17:19

    9

    Nice post. I was thinking about changing my office setup, and haven’t yet decided on what color should I choose for the painting :) . Hope to start updating soon :D

    0
  • Kenn Schroder

    Wednesday, June 15th, 2011 04:49

    8

    “Slightly reclined chair posture is best to reduce vertebrae pressure and minimize lower back pain” – huge. I strongly recommend setting good posture and a relaxed breathing position. Even breath for a minute or two and upright yourself comfortable before beginning. I know it sounds a bit out there for you newer designers – perhaps you’ll just find out in time.

    Here are three things that did NOT work out for me.

    1 – Multiple monitors / computers. The more screenspace and more processing power lead to more applications and more windows open which lead to less focus and more distraction. Now I have 1 laptop with a 12inch screen. One thing at a time as best I can – and if something is “running” i can jump on something mindless, like cleaning up the desktop or picking my nose. ;)

    2 – Any cool chair with wheels or arm rest etc. Arm rests cause me to lean on them and then my body is unaligned, leading to some ache somewhere (neck, shoulder, etc). The chair that works best is something hard, basic, no arm rests, allows me to sit upright and I aim for typing space just about belly button level. Posture is huge, especially because of hours on the laptop.

    3 – Paper clips, nice paper, extra folders, gadgets, gizmos and other desktop doodads. Most I obtained thinking it will boost productivity and they only caused clutter. They say masters try out many things but eventually scale back to the few things they do well. I go minimalist when can.

    Thanks for your tips and starting this discussion Stephanie!

    0
  • chudamani reddy

    Monday, June 13th, 2011 18:04

    7

    It’s nice ,good looking

    0
  • Yuriy

    Monday, June 13th, 2011 01:37

    6

    Nice, i like it.
    Also i like photos of people workspace :)

    0
  • Jary

    Thursday, June 9th, 2011 14:12

    5

    Very informative! I have a small office now but will be looking to expand soon and this will be helpful. Thanks for this great article!

    0
  • Gavin

    Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 09:41

    4

    After reading this I went home and moved my set up, desk, boxes, books everything into the conservatory. It’s completely out of the way from everyone walking in and out and has awesome light and warmth. As well as that, I’m surrounded by a 360 degree view which is always inspiring.

    The best of it is, it has awesome acoustics for my music – so, win win all round I think (except the glare on my macbook screen of course)

    0
  • David

    Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 02:58

    3

    I think if I bought a 27″ display to use with my MacBook, that would be a great start to improving my home office. I agree with having inspiration around you when you work, it can help get your mind working. Great article.

    0
  • Andrea Spikes

    Monday, June 6th, 2011 20:47

    2

    This article inspired me to change my office up :p

    0
  • Fareed

    Monday, June 6th, 2011 19:54

    1

    Thats awsome, very stylish and looks rich…

    0

Comments are closed.

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