No matter where you find yourself working around the house, you can make a small office space look and feel like an encouraging environment to work in with a few tweaks to the decor, furniture positioning and storage of smaller objects in the room. Here are our top tips for decorating a small office space to make it look good – and bigger.
Become a minimalist
To become a minimalist, you’ve got to make space. This means breaking your relationship with unuseful material objects and getting rid of the clutter.
Objects and accessories in your immediate area encroach on your eye line and distract your focus, so if these aren’t useful to you, you should remove them where possible.
If you’re struggling to break free of your clutter, modern-day minimalist guru Marie Kondo (@konmari.co) advises categorising your belongings before downsizing them into groups such as clothes, books and sentimental items. You can do the same with the items in your home office, creating new categories. This will allow you to focus on one group at a time and identify if it’s valuable enough to you to keep.
Use smart lighting techniques
Good levels of natural light are key to making any room feel more vibrant and you feel more energised.
If you have a window in your office room, to feel the benefits of sunlight and avoid its glare on your screen or right in your eyes, try to angle your desk so you are facing north or south.
If there’s no way to draw daylight into a room, lighting that simulates this effect is a great alternative. With advances in LED technology, you can choose lighting that allows you to dial in the colour temperature, adjusting the setting from warm to cool for a more natural feeling light. As a guide:
- Warmer lighting is roughly 2,700-3,000 Kelvin
- Natural white light = 3,300-6,500 Kelvin
- Daylight white light = 6,500+ Kelvin
Aim for around the 4,000 mark for a home office.
Use mirrors to enlarge a room
Using mirrors to enlarge a room might seem like a cheap trick but it actually works. Popular and effective mirror tricks include:
- Placing mirrors opposite a light source, such as the window in your room, to reflect back light and give the illusion of more space.
- Positioning mirrors on opposite walls, facing each other, to throw light around the room. Just make sure you don’t have a mirror that reflects back dead or cluttered space or a blank wall, or you won’t achieve the desired effect.
- Cut to size and frame a mirror to look like a window, ensuring that natural colours and plants are reflected in it to make it seem like the outside is beaming in.
Define your space with separate wall colours & textures
If your office area is situated within another room, you’ll more than likely feel like it’s the inferior space, with most of the room’s decor and furniture noticeably serving its primary function such as cooking, sleeping or relaxing in front of the tv.
But you can still divide and mark out the spaces in the room without the need for physical dividers (which can be jarring in a multi-purpose room and take up precious floor space). Depending on your personal style, you can opt for:
- A complementing or contrasting paint colour on the walls in your desk area.
- Different wall textures – an area of exposed brickwork works brilliantly and is a feature often used to break up traditional office spaces.
- Artwork or hanging drapes adorning one wall or corner are great at signalling a separate, creative space.
Once your space is marked out by its own colour or texture, you can distinguish it further with its own furniture and accessories.
Try vertical storage
Vertical space is often empty space in a room – and this can be incredibly handy for smaller home offices.
Even if you’re squirrelled away in the corner of a room, you can build upwards with your shelves to allow you to store paperwork, plants and even larger devices you’re not using in order to keep a clearer desk. Vertical storage solutions for large and small items include:
- Get creative with shelving. Consider asymmetrical shelf alignment, shelves with varying depths and corner shelves depending on your wall space.
- Using pinboards to tidy paper notes from your desk space and elevate desk photos of family and friends.
- Installing hooks or horizontal railings from which to hang baskets or bags to store your items.
- Wall mounting large electricals that take up desk space such as monitors and speakers. You can do the same with large family items that end up in office rooms such as instruments or sporting equipment by creating wall mounted stands for them.
Tidy your cables
Trailing, dangling or bunched up cables are a surefire way to make a desk space looking chaotic. Follow these steps to begin organising the cable spaghetti under your desk:
- Unplug everything from small headphone wires to large PC cables and start from scratch.
- This is a simple housekeeping tip, but ensure you straighten your cables if they’ve become overly twisted.
- Locate the closest power point for each device or ensure your power strip is positioned a good distance from all your devices.
- Coil individual cables loosely to keep long wires tidy. Follow the natural curve of the wire rather than forcing it.
- Use velcro ties – they’re cheap and great for organising close running cables together.
- Hide any dangling wires by fixing them to furniture where they won’t be seen, such as down the back of table legs.
- Plug in and go!
If your house doesn’t have a traditional office arrangement to work from, each day you need to set up and work from that space can be a daunting prospect. But, no matter where you have to set up your office around the home, there’s always a way to change both the space and your perspective of it until it’s somewhere, for eight hours a day, you feel happy and motivated to work.