Home Office Ideas to Design a Productive Space

When Brad and I purchased our home in Denver, we knew we had quite a few projects ahead of us. This fall, I finally got around to making my home office beautification project a priority!

Research shows that workspaces that reinforce your identity – that really feel like you – can result in better overall performance.  So a little personalization isn’t just better for your mood in your office, it’s better for your work, too!

My office occupies a small spare bedroom off the back of the house. We may eventually replace it with a bigger addition later on, but that’s just one of a few plans we’re considering. So I didn’t want to do anything too drastic in there, since it might not be a space that lasts for years to come.

I also didn’t want to break the budget to make this space more beautiful and comfortable to work in. So the improvements detailed below are perfect for the budget-conscious bosses amongst us who might be renting and don’t want to make lasting structural changes to a space.

Designing My Desk Space

For me, it all started with using whatever I could get my hands on for cheap or free. I salvaged this simple wooden desk (originally $79 from Ikea) from a curbside give-away back when we lived in DC. My neighbors in the U St. neighborhood gave away tons of great stuff, and with a little sanding, priming, and painting, my desk was lookin’ very Bossed Up and brand new!

Emilie's desk in home office

I like keeping things minimal and super-simple when it comes to my desk space. For me, cluttered storage systems cause me anxiety, so I love a fairly empty-looking workspace. The few must-have desktop items I do like to keep around include:

  • This incredible lavender calming lotion my bestie got off Amazon for my bachelorette party (which consisted mainly of a spa night in), which helps with dryness brought on by high elevation here.

 

  • Plant babies! Office plants have been shown to boost productivity and happiness, but truth be told: I have a bit of a black thumb. Succulents, cacti, and dessert plants are the only ones I’ve managed to (mostly) keep alive. I picked up a whole bunch of them from a nearby plant lady who needed to unload some of hers for super cheap on Craigslist! I highly recommend checking your local listings there first.

 

 

  • I recently added this delightful gold desk lamp from Target, too. I adds a nice additional light source as the days start to get shorter and my single overhead lamp can feel a little cold. Pro tip: I picked this one up in the KIDS section of the home department! This lamp, made for the “pillowfort” collection of children’s home goods was only $29.99, which is half as expensive as some of the similar lamps the grown-up office section offers.

 

Function and Form

Like any office, I needed some way to stash away my stuff, but didn’t want to compromise on style for storage. Ikea to the rescue!

I splurged on this glass-and-metal open shelving unit for $79.99. While there, I picked up some pine storage crates (for only $9.99 each) and perfectly-teal plastic storage bins with lids ($14.99 each) to anchor the top and bottom of my new shelving unit with seamless-looking storage.

With the biggest, ugliest stuff hidden away in those boxes, I could use a more minimalist approach to laying out items on the open shelving in a more curated way. That’s where my books, air plant in a cute geometric vase (for only $4.99 at Target), another new succulent plant, some past awards, and even my Lo & Sons tote can now “live” while adding a stylish vibe to the whole room, too.

I pulled things together with a simple but chic area rug (from Target for $64.99) that covered up most of the paint-splattered floorboards that I exposed earlier in our renovation by removing the truly disgusting carpet previously there. Properly carpeting this room in full is on the TO DO list eventually, but seems like a royal pain in the butt, so this cute rug will have to do the trick for now. Of course I had to add a little dog bed for my four-legged assistant to hang out in, too. And the final fabric that tied everything together nicely were these adorable velour-patterned teal and white curtains I found on Bed Bath & Beyond online and installed myself. They’re perfect!

Wall Decor

To really brighten up the room, I made the wall that connects the office to the rest of the house a bright visual feature. It’s actually the original exterior of our 1910-built brick home, so I painted on a few layers of primer first so it would serve as a good canvas for my feature wall.

I added framed posters I’ve owned for years, the original Bossed Up sign brad built for my birthday 5 years ago in my founding year, and then added a hanging planter to the ceiling using this clutch ceiling anchor hook.

Wall Decor Home Office

As for wall decor in my immediate desk area,  I couldn’t resist this monthly calendar from Target, which is perfect for a visual at-a-glance view of the each month. I also mounted this simple, lightweight shelf I snagged at Ikea and filled it with a framed photo of Brad the boo and me, a candle, some Sugarfina rose candies, and burning sage I use on occasion to “cleanse the energy of the room” or whatever.

Years ago, Brad also gifted me this beautiful carved version of our Bossed Up Manifesto poster, which made for a nice wall piece directly in my view from my desk. And for a final splash of gold I added another pick-up from Target, this cute wall grid, with hooks and pins that allow me to hang photos, notes, and any other items I want easy access to.

Emilie office wall decor

Are you designing a home office?

How will you make your home workspace a place you actually want to spend time in?

These small steps made a huge impact on how I feel spending hours in this bright little room, but to be clear: it took months for me to implement all this in full. Have patience with yourself as you chip away at your own home improvement projects, and keep me posted if you use as of these tips to design a space you’ll love, too!


Disclaimer: I’m an emphatic fan of all the products and services detailed here, which is why I’m recommending them. That said, some of the offers above also include affiliate links, which means at no cost to you, I may earn money when you click through to make purchase.

 


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