Making a Home Office in Your Apartment

Many companies these days don’t require their employees to come into the office every day. Instead, they can work from home (and in the comfort of their sweatpants). Sounds pretty great, right?

Read: How to Work from Home Like a Pro

However, I’m guessing your apartment didn’t come with a home office, and if it didn’t, that’s OK, because you can create one yourself! And trust me, you’ll want to find room—working from your bed doesn’t allow you to get much of anything done (except watching Netflix). Even with a tiny studio apartment, you can always make room for a stylish and productive home office. Here’s how:

1. Choose the Perfect Location

Selecting the right place for a home office in your apartment can be easier said than done, but here are a few factors that might help you out:

Search For a Window: While you can certainly use lamps and wall sconces to light up your desk, natural light is going to help keep you awake and alert during the day. See if you can arrange your workspace near a window. If this isn’t possible, illuminate your home office with soft light bulbs.

Set It Up Away From Noisy Areas: If there is a particular part of your apartment that is loud (i.e., your roommate’s room when she talks on the phone), you’ll probably want to arrange your workspace as far away from that area as possible. Nobody wants to hear your roommate singing in the shower when you’re on a conference call—those are awkward enough.

Go Against a Wall: It’s best for you to create your workspace around a wall because it will give you extra room for storage and organization (see below for more tips). You can use a roll-away or fold-down desk if you’re limited on space.

Check for Electrical Outlets: You’re going to have to plug in computers, lamps, chargers and monitors, so make sure that you have an outlet nearby. Try using a power strip to give you more outlets.

2. Get Organized

You’re not going to get anything done if you have a cluttered work desk. That being said, there are so many things that need to find a place, like calendars, sticky notes, files, folders and office supplies. Instead of letting absolutely everything crowd your desk space, consider these storage solutions:

Take Advantage of Wall Space: Install floating shelves on the wall near your desk. You can fill mason jars with tiny supplies like paper clips, pens, pencils and staples, and organize them on the shelves for easy access.

Repurpose Items: You can also use items that you might already have lying around your apartment, like a muffin tin or ice cube tray. These things can easily fit in a drawer, and the tiny slots are perfect for organizing small supplies, like rubber bands, paper clips and stamps.

Disguise Ugly Boxes: Modems and routers are necessary for your Internet connection, but nobody likes the look of them on their desk. Cover them up with pretty storage boxes, which can be found at any craft store. Cut small holes in the back where the wires can escape.

3. Find a Chair

You don’t want to use the wooden chair that you have sitting in your kitchen (trust me). Your posture and your bottom will thank you for investing in a comfortable seat. Search for a chair with adequate padding that allows you to adjust it to a height that works best for you.

If you’re in a pinch, however, I’ve got a great alternative. You know those bouncy balls that you find at the gym? You may want one for your home office. Let me explain: Sitting on an exercise ball forces you to balance, which activates muscles in your core, legs and hips. Bonus!

4. Personalize Your Office

Keep in mind that this is your home office, so you can customize it to fit any look you want.

Paint an Accent Wall: If your landlord okays this, you can paint the wall behind your desk to liven up your home office. Be selective when picking out the perfect color, however. For instance, if you want your office to feel energized and upbeat, you should use a red or an orange hue. But if you wish to feel relaxed and stress free throughout the work day, opt for a calming blue.

Hang Wall Art: Dress up your walls with pictures of friends and family, or frame motivational quotes that will help you stay productive throughout the workday. Check out these six easy and affordable DIY wall art ideas.

Add a Rug: Bring some color and warmth to your home office by placing a rug underneath your desk. This way, you can kick off your shoes while you work.

Use Colorful Supplies: Search for office supplies that offer a punch of color, like a bright green stapler, neon sticky notes or a pink journal.

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