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If you’ve been following along with me for a while, you’ll know I am a freelance copywriter. Going freelance was absolutely the best thing for me. It gives me flexibility to work around the girls school and activities, and to write my blog. Not to mention being around for the girls after school, and being able to take them to their clubs. I’ve learned a lot about working from home, and how to set up your home office to make the most of the space is the most important.
Our home office is a box room, but it’s amazing how much you can fit in, with a few clever space-saving ideas (thank you Ikea!) Many of us aren’t lucky enough to have a dedicated home office, but these tips will help you maximise the space of wherever you set up your desk.
Even if you’re not working from home, these tips will also help you set up a little space for your hobbies, or general life admin.
Here are my 10 top tips to set up your home office for success…
1. A Neutral Colour Scheme Makes Your Office Look Larger
I personally like a monochrome scheme as it lends itself so well to most looks. It’s also not too distracting! A simple scheme with light, bright walls will make your home office look bigger, and be more inviting and inspiring to work in. I’ve broken up the black and white with copper and gold accents, and a few pops of pastel shades.
2. Large Desks & A Supportive Chair
We have managed to fit not one, but two IKEA desks into our small office. One corner desk which houses our Mac and a smaller one for reading, writing and (one day, if I ever get time) using my sewing machine. There’s no need to spend a fortune on your desk – ours cost £2.50 per leg and the top was £15. They are sturdy, but lightweight so we can move them around if needed. I believe IKEA are still delivering. (This isn’t an advert for them, I just think they do they best affordable and practical home office furniture!)
We just have one chair that swivels between the desks, to save space. Ours is a good quality one that my brother in law gave us when he got a new one. It’s really comfy, even if you’ve been working in it all day. It’s so important to look after your back when you work from home. This is a good resource if you’re looking to invest in an office chair at home.
3. Maximise Space with Simple Home Office Storage
When you’re planning a home office, I firmly believe you can never have too much storage. Ours is all from IKEA, with a combination of kids’ cupboards and ALEX office storage. As it’s all white with cut out handles, it works well together. Ryan and I have one side each of this cupboard, and we also store our rechargeable batteries and charger (a home office essential!) and padded envelopes to reuse in there.
I store wrapping paper in an oversized vase. Repurposing items from around the house is a great way to inject some personality into your home office, without having to spend any money.
Storing long items vertically instead of horizontally is the best approach in a small space, too.
4. Gorgeous Organisation Stationery
I am a massive list-maker, so I need notebooks and desk pads to scribble down notes and to dos. This monochrome weekly planner is ideal for keeping me on track. I can fit all of the kids activities on there, as well as my own. The ‘don’t forget’ section is probably the one I use most.
Now my girls are at school, I’ve started to think in academic years again. My big academic wall planner by Doodlelove is so useful for seeing where you need to be at a glance.
I am an eternal optimist when it comes to time, so I tend to over-commit and then get stressed. Seeing how many weeks there are in a term helps me be realistic about what I have time to achieve, and say ‘no’ a bit more. It works much better than a week, or even month to view calendar for me.
5. A Great Notebook and Pencils
I wouldn’t get far without a notebook. This softbound black notebook has extra tools to keep you organised, including planners and pockets.
Having a pocket for loose bits and bobs is also a great way to make your space tidier and more organised.
Do you prefer pens or pencils? I love a Sharpie, but I tend to write in pencil, rather than biro. These beautiful metallic black and gold pencils are just the ticket for my monochrome theme.
6. A Pin Board of Motivation
I am a big believer in seeing positive messages, so much of my wall art has little messages of encouragement and words of wisdom. Whatever you choose for your home office, I think it needs to be personal and cheerful. I have a mix of inspirational cards (£8.95 for 50 postcards) and framed pictures with a few photos.
As a constant faffer, my shelf gets rearranged regularly, but this is how it looks at the moment.
7. Light and Shade
Our office get a lot of sun in the morning which makes it hot in summer (though oh so cosy in winter). We installed a white wooden blind, so we can filter out the sun and see the computer screen.
I got a gorgeous copper desk lamp to light up the second desk. I bought mine from an independent shop but they have since closed down sadly. You can buy it here.
The minimal, open frame helps give a spacious feel, as it doesn’t block the light, and it looks so stylish too.
8. Fabulous Filing
The best thing for anyone who’s self-employed is an expandable file with 12 pockets, one for each month.
I put all my receipts in this as I go along, which makes filing my tax return so much easier. Find a good range of practical and pretty expandable files here.
9. Scented Candle and Tea
Finally this is the most important thing to include when you set up your home office. Tea. I don’t know about you, but I can’t get a lot done without a nice cup of tea.
10. Blankets & Fans
One of the best things about working from home is that you can wear slippers, and sit under a blanket! I think you’d get a few looks if you tried that in an office. We keep a little fan heater under the desk, because I try and minimise using the whole house heating in winter, if there’s only me here using one tiny room.
I’m always cold, so I keep a blanket draped over the back of the chair to wrap up in, and my mum knitted me some fingerless gloves so I can keep typing!
Our home office also gets really hot in the summer. The vintage industrial style fan cools the room when the window isn’t enough. I got mine from Dunelm a few years ago, but this copper USB powered mini desk fan is just as nice.
I think making the most of the space in your home office is key for productivity, but also your state of mind. Now my office is so tidy and organised, I actually want to sit down and write.
I hope you found my tips on how maximise space in your home office useful, why not Pin it for later?