You put a ton of effort into making your home office functional, with ergonomic furniture and accessories, tech upgrades, and great lighting. Now, it’s time to upgrade your space again so that it not only works well, but also looks great too. Your office decor determines how your space feels, setting the mood in a way that, ideally, stimulates your mind and aids your focus. A great office space might start with function in mind, but consideration of its form will take your productivity and mental wellness to the next level.
Related: How to Decorate a Studio Apartment
Jazz Up Your Home Office Decor: Some Tips from the Experts
Whether your office takes up an entire separate room in your home, or a small chunk of your living room, your home office decor should motivate and inspire you throughout your work day. That said, you’ll want to avoid distracting decorations and emphasize decor that puts you in the right mindset for your job. What that entails will look different for different people, depending on your personality, preferences, and professional responsibilities, but the underlying principles remain the same.
As you create your designated workspace, pay attention to color, the size of your space, items you want to display, and organizational pieces that keep your desk free of clutter. To send you off in the right direction, we asked expert designers, organizers, and home improvers for their top home office decorating tips, and recorded some of their answers below.
However, if you still need to set up your home office from scratch, you should check out our tips for that process first to ensure that you prioritize the right furniture and tools needed to get your job done.
Create a Zoom Wall
Your space literally needs to work for your work, so combine form and function by creating an attractive Zoom wall. Interior Designer Mae Reedy points out that “Facing your desk in front of a window head-on will create nicer lighting for video conferencing and is much better for your mental health than facing a wall. To set up a nice ‘Zoom wall,’ hang any art you’d like while watching yourself from your computer camera. What looks nice in real life might need slight repositioning to look its best on camera. You don’t want a plant poking out of the top of your head on screen.” (Mae Reedy Design).
Incorporate Plants & Nature-Inspired Elements
Chris Matthias, an interior designer and founder of House Adorable, recommends livening up your office with greenery: “Add plants to your home office to enhance the overall ambiance, improve air quality, and provide a touch of nature. The air tends to get stale when you work for hours, and plants help to keep the air fresh. Choose low-maintenance plants, like snake plants, pothos, or ZZ plants” to keep these additions a low-commitment investment.
However, when considering ways to bring the outside inside, you don’t need to stop at potted plants. In recent years, Architect and Interior Designer Julio Arco of Bark and Chase noticed that “With the pandemic’s impact, people are increasingly seeking serene, calming environments that promote well-being. I address this need by incorporating biophilic design elements and eco-friendly materials in their work-from-home setups,” such as water features, earthy color palettes, natural textiles like linen, and renewable materials like bamboo and reclaimed wood.
Look for Eco-Friendly, Non-Toxic Furniture
In keeping with the theme of nature, Amy Kleppinger, publisher of The Home Green, recommends maintaining a healthy work environment with non-toxic items: “While the benefits of proper posture and frequent movement are well-known, what’s less frequently considered is how the materials you use to furnish your home office can negatively impact your air quality. The good news is that it’s not hard to find non-toxic desks and chairs by opting for solid wood, glass, or unfinished metal. When in doubt, the manufacturer should be able to give you more information on the construction and safety of their product.”
As noted above, many people prefer the kind of peaceful and calm environment created by either nature-inspired or neutral colors. If a Zen ambiance appeals to you, consider hues that evoke serenity, taking cues from natural elements like water and plants to develop a palette of blues or muted greens (as opposed to neon or lime) paired with neutral tans, browns, and creams.
However, if you crave color, display it with an audacity and style that matches your colorful personality. Brighten your space with the shades of the rainbow that, as Fashion Designer Cesar Cruz suggests, stimulate your creativity: “Your work-from-home decor should inspire you to think outside the box. For example, a colorful, abstract painting or sculpture can spark unique ideas, or a bright red chair might act as your creative throne. A remote workspace is your artistic haven – and even in a highly technical job, the right ambiance can help you find something new to discover” (Sebastian Cruz Couture).
We encourage you to go crazy with color, but be mindful of how you use it. As a rule of thumb, selecting 1 or 2 main colors combined with 1 to 3 accent colors will keep you from going overboard. Also, you can pair neutrals with any bright colors, and oftentimes those brighter colors will pop beautifully against a more subdued counterpart. We all gravitate towards different colors, so, at the end of the day, go with what works for you and not what mainstream media tells you to do.
Design with Tech in Mind
Thinking about color and decor is the fun part, but don’t forget about the more practical side of interior design, as Courtney Finley of Organized Designs reminds us. Create a plan for how and where to place “the technology you use – WiFi, ring lights, green screens, chargers, and so on.” Your job will determine the exact tech you need to wrangle, so consider ahead of time what organizational needs your equipment demands.
Mirrors Can Make Your Space Look Bigger
Interior Designer Keven Wang, a mirror expert and co-owner of Inyouths LED Mirrors, offers up a great solution for small spaces: “Putting mirror tiles at an angle on one wall can create the illusion of more space. It also adds some subtle light reflectivity to brighten up any area. This will help to make your workspace feel more open and vibrant, which is important for productivity.”
Renters, Check Your Lease Before Hanging Anything on the Walls
Finally, a practical tip for renters as you decide what office decor to put on your home office walls: “Check with your landlord and in your lease about what is permitted to hang or decorate so that it will not affect your deposit when moving out” (Justin Udy of Justin Udy & Team Real Estate).
Need an Apartment with a Home Office?
AptAmigo’s expert apartment locators are standing by to help you snag your next luxury apartment with a dreamy home office space that you can gussy up to your heart’s desire. We know where to look for the best in-unit and coworking spaces to keep you productive throughout the day. So, reach out and let us guide you to the perfect remote work setup for free.
Karrie Fuller earned her PhD in English from the University of Notre Dame. After a decade of teaching college-level writing and English courses, she brings a wealth of expertise about writing, editing, and content management to AptAmigo's marketing team.