5 Tips for setting up your home office

Creating a peaceful and productive work environment doesn’t have to require expensive upgrades or time-consuming buildouts

For some, the call to start social distancing came early last week. For others, it was a Sunday evening email cautioning you to prepare for a new, albeit temporary, reality. Regardless of the message you received, many Coloradans woke up on Monday morning in an unfamiliar place with an uneasy feeling.

While we have few answers regarding the long-term impact of COVID-19, the way we work, the way we interact with our colleagues and clients and the way we maintain balance in our daily lives is undoubtedly changed. This is especially true for the millions of us who, over the past few days, have traded a spare bedroom for an office, a quiet nook for a conference room and a kitchen island for a water cooler. But creating a peaceful and productive work environment doesn’t have to require expensive upgrades or time-consuming buildouts. With the right approach, you can find – and create – an at-home work environment that works for you.

Here are five tips to follow when building out your home office.

Find Inspiration

Beyond the basics like a good chair, a desk, maybe a bookshelf or two, remember that your home office should be suited to your style. Find inspiration in the design elements – plants, artwork, furniture layout, etc. – that are most important to you to create an environment that helps you feel (and be) at your best.

Find Functionality

Good things come in small packages, and your home office is no exception. Some of the best home offices can be found in small nooks or hidden alcoves throughout you home. Consider how built-ins or thoughtful storage solutions can make a small space feel larger. And for those in square-footage-strapped environments, don’t be afraid to change a room’s layout to accommodate your workspace needs.

Find Natural Light

Natural light is the primary ingredient of a successful interior space, especially a home office. Views to the outside have been shown to improve everything from productivity to our sleep-wake cycle to our well-being. Especially when we’re isolated, it’s important to create the best possible environment for our mental health. If natural light isn’t an option for your home office, do what you can to limit the use of harsh, overhead lighting with subtle floor or desk lamps.  

Find Color

The use of color can either fill your home office with energy (bright, bold tons) or create a soothing environment (light, neutral tones). If you decide that a neutral palette is right for your home office, consider how artwork and accessories like accent chairs and shelving to personalize and add color to your space.

Find a Balance

When work and home are the same place, it can be challenging to ‘turn it off’ at the end of the day. If you don’t have a dedicated room for your office, try to avoid putting your office in your bedroom. Find a spot somewhere else in the house so you can shut the door on work before turning in for the night.

Adjusting to this new style of remote work will challenge each and every one of us. Although we don’t know when things might return to “normal,” the value of creating a home office environment that helps you feel inspired and accomplished is a great way to set yourself up for success.


Angela Harris is CEO and Principal of TRIO, an award-winning national design and visual merchandising firm headquartered in Denver.

Categories: Business Insights, COVID-19, Human Resources