11 Tips for Creating the Most Productive Home Office Layout

Kristin Luna
Written by Kristin Luna
Updated April 5, 2022
A woman having a video conference with colleagues in home office
Photo: Morsa Images / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Nail your home office design with these easy tweaks

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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a boom in remote working. But as companies are shifting to fully remote or hybrid styles for the foreseeable future, you might need to turn your spur-of-the-moment WFH setup into something a little more permanent. 

Here’s how to design a home office with your needs, comfort, and productivity in mind.

1. Determine Your Workflow 

The first thing you need to think about when figuring out your home office design is how you primarily use the space, as your flow will most heavily affect your productivity. Are you an architect or artist who needs a large desk space on which to draw? Are you a minimalist who has a sleek desktop computer and no other office accessories? Are you a recipe tester who needs a home office close to the kitchen?

Once you determine where you’ll put your office and what kind of furniture you need to run it effectively, then you’ll be able to suss out how best to lay it out.

2. Reduce the Clutter

Having mounds of paperwork cluttering every surface is not only a visual distraction, but it’s a mental one, too. If you’re someone prone to collecting clutter, minimize surfaces and other spaces likely to gather stuff. Instead, opt for a simple home office layout that’s more conducive to productivity and less likely to be a distraction.

3. Create a Flexible Layout

A young man working from his home office
Photo: Morsa Images / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Your needs as a professional are constantly evolving, whether you get assigned additional responsibilities in your current role, are promoted to a management position, or take a new job at an entirely different company. Due to the fluid nature of the workforce, it’s smart to create a flexible home office layout that can adapt with you and with your job. Flexible ideas for your home office could include installing a Murphy bed that can be used as a multipurpose guest room when you aren’t working, or light, minimal furniture that’s easy to rearrange when the need arises. 

Ultimately, you want to build a home office that allows room for both movement and flexibility. That way, if you don’t like something about your home office down the road, it’s easy enough to change without investing in a huge remodel.

4. Add Office Accents That Inspire You

The more you enjoy being in your home office, the more likely you are to spend time in it. If you design a space that brings you joy, you won’t be counting down the hours until 5 p.m. every day. Add family photos, original art, or other useful office accessories to personalize your office.

5. Ensure Your Home Office Is Properly Lit

If you don’t have ample natural light in your home office, you’ll want to make sure it’s outfitted with proper lighting. Depending on your setup, you may want to install can lights in the ceiling accented by floor lamps, or maybe the space is better suited for task lighting or desk lamps instead.

6. Prioritize Comfort

The more comfortable you are in your home office, the less likely you are to fidget or get up, which is why smart interior design is so important for productivity. Making sure you have a comfortable office chair—ideally, one that is ergonomic and won’t contribute to back pain over time—is key for your health and productivity. Considering a standing desk with a rubber foot mat is another option for improving both comfort and posture. 

7. Partition Off Your Home

Not every remote worker has the luxury of a spare room to dedicate solely as a home office. If square footage is a premium, consider partitioning off a workspace in a larger, more open area (like a living room!) where you can create a comfortable home office that won’t get in the way of the rest of your living needs. A simple room divider or by creating a separate vignette in a corner of the room is an easy way to do this.

8. Carefully Consider Your Storage Solutions

A mother working from her home office while holding her daughter
Photo: Maskot / Getty Images

Organization and productivity go hand in hand, especially when building a contemporary home office. Consider how many files and other office accessories you’ll need to methodically tuck away when plotting out your storage space. 

If you work with ample paperwork, you may want to make sure you have a filing cabinet system in place. If you’re someone who works primarily in digital files, you can likely forgo a file cabinet in lieu of sleek drawers where you can organize your tech, office supplies, and other essential elements. Keeping clutter and accessories out of sight will go far in eliminating unnecessary distractions.

9. Stay on Task

While a desk calendar may feel archaic to some, creating a daily to-do list and keeping track of your appointments will help you feel more organized and less scattered. Whether you opt for a digital calendar or go the old-school written route with a pen and legal pad doesn’t matter so much for productivity as keeping all your tasks in order does.

10. Bring the Outdoors In

If you’re someone who feels most inspired by nature yet work keeps you cooped up indoors for the majority of daylight hours, consider greening your space by adding a variety of houseplants to your home office. Not only will a smattering of greenery boost your mood, but science says it improves your mental state by reducing stress and anxiety, too. A less-stressed worker is a more productive worker, after all.

11. Choose Your Wall Color Wisely

While the right white paint indeed brightens any space, there’s no rule as to what paint color you have to use in your home office. Maybe you’re a creative professional who needs a color scheme that incorporates bright pops like orange and yellow to feel motivated, or perhaps you run your own small business or merchandise line and need both wallpaper or other fun accent walls for rotating photo backdrops.

Ultimately, how you design your office space should reflect your needs, your wants, and your intentions for how you plan to use it, so building out a productive home office layout that caters to your personality is imperative.

If you’re still at a loss for how to design a home office that best suits your needs, you may want to hire a local interior designer or general contractor near you to help brainstorm further ideas for your specific space.

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