5 ways to make your home office not look too ‘officey’
If you’re one of the millions of workers now working remotely from home, thanks to COVID, you might be lucky enough to have a whole room to call your office. Whether that’s because you’ve kicked the kids out of their bedroom to sleep in the shed, or because you banished those boxes in the spare room that you still haven’t unpacked even though you moved in six years ago into the attic, you now have a room to call your own.
Just because it’s your ‘office’ though, that doesn’t mean it needs to look like one, so this article’s going to look at a few ways you can still have a functional space for the working day but one that also suits your personality.
None of these ideas require you to make any structural changes that will annoy your landlord if you have one, so don’t worry – whether you own your own home, are renting long-term, or you’re currently looking for ways to buy your own home, anyone can use these ideas.
1. When is a desk not a desk?
When you set up your home office, your first thought – after, ‘Yay, no more commuting’ – was probably, ‘I need a desk.’ And although a desk is an essential piece of WFH kit, it doesn’t need to be an actual desk.
Punch in ‘desk’ into your favourite search engine or shopping site and thousands of desks will appear. What do they all have in common? Yep, they all, unsurprisingly, look like desks.
If desks are too ‘desky’ for you, use something else. Whatever you use, it needs to be the right height – you won’t be doing your back any favours if you’re hunched over something too low – but apart from that, as long as it has a flat surface and you can get your legs under it, it can be a desk. Search for ‘table’ along with your favourite adjective, e.g. ‘pink’, ‘polka dot’, ‘goth’ and see what comes up.
If you don’t want to splash out on a brand new table or desk, pick up a second-hand one on Facebook marketplace, eBay or your local charity shop. If it needs a bit of sprucing up, you can upcycle it to your heart’s content, safe in the knowledge that the next day it won’t be adorned with your P45 for gross misconduct.
Of course, just as pitta bread needs hummus, a desk needs a chair. Unlike desks, the function needs to come before style, as you really do need an ergonomic, adjustable office chair if you’re going to be sitting at your desk all day. Luckily for us though, these days office chairs don’t all look ‘officey’ and come in many different styles and colours.
2. A chill-out zone
We’re not suggesting you make your office so comfortable you never want to leave it but, if you’ve got the space, a sofa, futon or a big comfy chair will a) make your office look less officey; and b) give you somewhere to sit on your break or when you need some reading or thinking time.
Covering it in bright throws and cushions will add some colour to the room. Finish off your chill-out zone with a huge floor lamp and big, leafy plants. Speaking of plants…
Plants are our friends. They look good, they improve air quality and they’ve even been shown to increase productivity and concentration, which makes them the perfect office companions (well, almost perfect – see number 5).
‘But my plants always die,’ you wail. Okay, don’t worry, fake plants can also be your friend. Super-realistic fake plants exist these days and they have the added bonus of never dying just because you forgot to water them for a few weeks.
So, when you shut the door on your office for two weeks as you go on annual leave, you don’t have to worry about asking a neighbour to water those plants for you. Your fake plants will be as perky as they were when you left them (unlike the real plants you have and forgot about).
When you went out to work in an office, the walls were probably bare or adorned with generic artwork that you probably can’t even remember now.
Now you’re in your own space, you can have whatever you want on the walls, whether that’s a functional whiteboard to use as a to-do list, a ‘live, laugh, love’ sign or an entire gallery of Old Master prints.
5. The best workmate in the world ever
An office isn’t an office without your workmates, right? And what better workmate than your very own office dog, cat or goldfish? Some offices allow employees to take their dogs to work but, let’s face it, most don’t. So, let’s be glad we don’t work in those places anymore and embrace the fact we now get to hang out all day with our pets. Make your pet feel at home while they watch you work by putting a comfy bed for them by your feet (unless you have a goldfish. They won’t appreciate a comfy bed but a nice big tank with lots of whatever it is goldfish like will be appreciated by them, we’re sure).
These are just a few ideas to make working at home a little more homely and a little less ‘officey’. Once you’ve incorporated all these ideas into your home office, you’ll never want to go out to work again.