As I’ve designed my way around my little Capitol Hill studio apartment, adding in a home office was a pretty important step. In addition to this blog, I have a busy career teaching third grade, so I do a fair amount of work from home. It was a challenge integrating an office into such a small space, but with the right furniture and arrangement I found it ultimately very doable, even with a desktop computer and full size desk. Today I’m sharing my 6 home office essentials so you can create a beautiful, productive working environment all your own.

1. Design for your real life.

I don’t know about you, but I hate seeing unrealistic office spaces on Pinterest. I am such a realist when it comes to productivity, so things like giant magnifying glasses, 42 designer notepads, and uncomfortable looking seating make me cringe! Instead, design your space around your real life and the work you actually do. If you’re dealing with big spreadsheets or editing photos on the regular, a desktop computer with a big screen might be right for you. I paint, so integrating that into my office space was such a wonderful thing to keep me motivated. Start with a list of priorities for your space that support the work you plan to do.

2. Add task lighting.

Although there are a lot of beautiful table lamps out there, for a home office task lighting is a must. This means finding a lamp that’s not only bright enough, but has a downward facing bulb to adequately light your desktop and keep you focused. Remember not to go too bright, because no one wants to squint while trying to get their work done. I found this little task light at IKEA and have loved it so far. It integrates well within the aesthetic of my desk, plus it moves side-to-side and up-and-down so I can use it in a variety of ways to support whatever work I’m doing.

3. Keep it clutter-free with ease.

Previous home office spaces had me drowning in paperwork. Once I got my files in check, everything worth keeping had a home and my desk space was finally clear. I also went paperless with all banks and financial institutions to cut down on paperwork from the source. I also have a home shredder and made it my policy to go through the stack of mail at least a few times per week. I make sure to recycle junk, shred private documents, and file the rest. I know the mail can be overwhelming at times, especially when it seems like 75% of it is total junk, but getting in the habit of taming paper before it gets to your desk will do wonders for keeping your space clear and open for productivity.

4. Add things that bring you joy.

Although I consider the home office mostly utilitarian, it wouldn’t fit in studio apartment without a little color and design. Art is hugely important to me, so I framed my desk area with a few of my favorite pieces hanging on the wall. I also added a framed photo of me and two of my best girlfriends from my friend K’s wedding a couple years ago. Every time I glance at it, it puts a smile on my face, and who couldn’t use a little more joy while trying to get some work done? My mousepad is a memento from my trip to the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan, and if you’ve read my previous home decor posts you know I love integrating travel finds into my home design. Whatever your aesthetic, make sure to find a space for something special that will put a smile on your face, even when you’re swamped with work.

5. Dress up your computer screen.

Another easy way to add a little fun to your desk is by finding the perfect desktop wallpaper for your computer. I change mine regularly to keep things fresh, and it’s absolutely free! I’m a huge fan of Bri’s “Dress Your Tech” series on her blog Design Love Fest. Every week she posts a new set of beautiful desktop art through her collaborations with designers and artists. With 197 sets and counting you are sure to find something beautiful to make your computer feel brand new again. I love the ones with inspirational quotes to keep me grinding when I want to quit for the day.

6. Keep it cozy with textiles.

Although it’s tempting to get the most comfortable chair at your local office supply store, I’d highly suggest finding something a little prettier to match your other home decor. Living in a studio apartment, everything has to go together since my home is basically one big room. I matched this barrel style office chair to the fabric on my sofa to give it a cohesive look. I also love the shape and size of this chair and it fits nicely under the desk when not in use. The seat is also big enough for me to sit criss-cross-applesauce when I want, which is an added bonus! I also love to integrate color through fun pieces like this little lumbar pillow and ottoman to put my feet up on occasion. In addition to making the space more cozy, it also adds a little more design to an otherwise simple space.

Well, there you have it! Six quick tips for designing a prettier, cozier, more productive home office space. What are your priorities in creating a productive environment within your home? I’d love to hear your thoughts! As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below. I love hearing from you!

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Thank you so much for stopping by Lindsay Living!

xo, Lindsay

Home Office Details

desk, West Elm Parsons desk in white lacquer | desk chair, Wayfair | braided stool, Threshold via Target | lumbar pillow, West Elm | desktop computer, Apple iMac 21.5″ | large seascape oil painting, by artist Charlie Palmer | gold stapler, tape dispenser, and scissors, Target | task lamp, IKEA “Ranarp”

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