Now more than ever, people are working out of their home in separate offices. Some just use a table but others have full-blown offices that they can see clients and conduct meetings in as well.
If you have a business that you conduct out of your home, having a dedicated home office can make working at home very comfortable and productive.
You have a lot of choices when it comes to the best way to set up a home office. With all of the new electronics and technologies available, it can make it quite a challenge to decide on the type of furnishings and electronics that will fit your personality and business needs.
We have listed some of the most important elements of a perfect home office. These suggestions will help you narrow down the choices and settle on the right things for your office that make it a place you enjoy working in every day.
What Style Appeals to You?
If you love modern office furniture and want to set up a beautiful office in your home, there are a lot of great home décor ideas that you can use. The modern style is very popular among the younger business person set with its clean, simple lines and understated colors. Some prefer the more elegant and stately styles that include heavy, solid wood furniture and a more traditional style.
If you don’t know what to put in your home when it comes to an office, read below to get some great ideas on some pieces that you may want to add to your own office.
Technically all you really need to make an office is a desk and a chair, but when you work at home it is really inspiring to create a true workspace that you enjoy walking into every day.
With the options available in both modern and traditional home design, you can go as luxurious or as simple as you desire. The main thing to take into consideration is what pieces you want in your own home that will create a functional and professional workspace.
What Kind of Desk Do You Want?
Modern desks can be made of metal, wood, laminate and even glass. They typically have very simple lines and can be almost stark in their look. They may or may not have drawers since many of the modern desk designs are just the desk top and the legs.
There are a huge variety of modern desk designs that you can choose from. Before making your decision on the desk you want, which will be the focal point of your office, make sure that you know what you want your office to have in it.
Do you want a desk with drawers? What is the color scheme of the room? Do you want matching shelves? Once you have a picture in your mind of what you want your home office to look like, you will be able to find a desk that will be a great starting point.
Getting the Right Office Chair
Most desks will not come with a chair, so if you are in the market for an office chair, you’ve got a lot of options to choose from. The large overstuffed chairs tend to be for an older, more elegant look and are very popular. Modern designs are more fun, quirky, and bright but are not usually as large as the overstuffed office chairs are.
Some modern office chairs even have a futuristic look to them with curves and bends in the back of the chair. Colors can be understated and simple such as black and white or much brighter colors like red, orange and even purple depending on your color scheme. Just make sure that the chair will be one that you will be comfortable sitting in for extended periods of time.
Getting the Right Electronics Equipment
- Computer – If you are in the market for a new computer system, you will want to look around at the different choices available. It isn’t necessary to overbuy, so figure out what you need your computer to handle business-wise and choose one that can easily take care of those needs plus be upgraded or handle expansion if necessary. Some people prefer laptops, but that is strictly a personal choice.
- WI-Fi Extender – If your internet isn’t quite what you are hoping for, try getting a Wi-Fi extender which can boost a sluggish signal and give you a stronger connection. If you use your computer a lot, this extender can make things much easier and less frustrating for you.
- Printer – If you have a home office, then you will need a good quality laser printer to take care of printing out contracts and other paperwork that you may need. There is a difference between an all-in-one printer and a laser printer but you will have to decide which one fits your needs better. Some people prefer the all-in-one printers that have fax machines and copiers built in.
- Upgraded Hard Drive- Solid state drives are excellent for increasing the speed of your computer, especially when it comes to downloading. Don’t forget to purchase a good portable hard drive as well for backing up your information. If you have a Mac, you will need to get a Mac external hard drive.
- Cordless Phone System – There are a lot of different cordless phones on the market to choose from. If you have a separate office and only one phone line, you may want to invest in a cordless phone that offers several handsets that can be placed around the house. This ensures that you never miss a work call.
- Wireless Network Card– If you have some trouble with your internet, get a wireless adapter. This will help you get a strong connection whenever you need it.
- Surge Protector – Don’t forget to get a high quality surge protector to protect all of your expensive electronic equipment. You need to make sure that you get a surge protector that offers protection insurance against any electronic equipment that gets damaged or ruined when it is plugged into the surge protector.
- Laptop Cooling Fan – If you have a laptop you may want to consider getting a laptop cooling fan to keep it from overheating. Cooling fans come in many different varieties, with different amounts of fans. The ones with the most fans tend to work the best at cooling.
Other Accessories and Décor for a Perfect Home Office
Now that you have the desk, chair and electronics you can turn your attention to some of the finer details that make a home office really stand out. These items are both decorative and functional in nature and include things such as:
- Lamps – If you need some specialized light for your office, a beautiful desk lamp may be just what you’re looking for. Desk lamps come in a number of varieties and styles so you can get one to match whatever décor you have chosen. You can also choose floor lamps or table lamps as well or a combination of all of these to provide style and light.
- Filing cabinets – filing cabinets are a must if you have a lot of paper files that you use for your clientele. Not many people use paper files anymore but it is a good idea to have more than just digital documentation of business contracts and client information. Having file backups put you way ahead of the game in the event of a major computer crash. Filing cabinets give you a place to store all the files so they don’t get lost, messed up or take up excess room in your office.
- Bookshelves – Most offices have bookshelves for business books and personal books and magazines. A good rule of thumb is to match the bookshelves to the rest of your furniture so the office looks well put together and consistent. Bookshelves can be shorter and wide or tall and narrow. You can even have a combination of the two styles and have both.
- Chairs and/or sofas for client seating – Having comfortable seating for your clients and colleagues gives your office a very professional look and feel. Opt for a sofa and a couple of comfortable chairs that they can sit on during meetings, consultations and other business related gatherings. It is more attractive to choose a particular style and stay with that throughout the office than piece together many different styles and looks.
- Telephone answering machine – Unless you have a professional answering service you will need a good quality answering machine that will keep track of your incoming calls in the event they call when you are out of your office. Having a good telephone answering machine means that you can spend time with your family and/or pursuing other interests without worry that you are missing potential clients’ phone calls.
- Digital and regular photo frames – There is absolutely nothing wrong with displaying photos of your family in your own home office. It can be an ice breaker and allows the potential client to see a deeper side to you. Some of the best ways to display photos is with the creation of a digital photo frame that contains hundreds of your favorite photos. These frames are real conversation starters and are very popular with the younger set.
- Coffee maker – It may sound strange but having a coffee maker in your office if you regularly see clients is an excellent touch that will make your clients feel important and valued. Set the coffee maker on its own table with coffee cups, stir straws, sugar and creamer. There are many different types of coffee makers on the market to choose from. For your home office, look for one that can be programmed and that has an automatic shut off.
- Office supplies of all kinds – A home office needs a lot of office supplies such as ink for the printer, printer paper, pencils, pens, markers, bulletin boards, dry erase boards, high lighters, white out, file folders, and any other office supplies you think you might need. If you sell items to clients, make sure to have a receipt book as well.
- Wall hangings – Wall décor in your home office gives the room personality and makes it even more inviting. The wall hangings can be anything you like but it is recommended that there be continuity in the art work and that it is tasteful and professional.
- Water cooler – Another great item to have in your home office is a water cooler. Clients get thirsty and having a means of providing cold, refreshing water will be greatly appreciated. Water coolers are not that expensive and they provide delicious water anytime you want. Purchasing replacement bottles is very easy as most grocery stores sell them.
- Mini Fridge – Having a mini fridge in your home office in an unobtrusive place provides a place for you to keep juice, soda and other refreshments for yourself and your clients. They will be blown away when they see how well prepared you are to take care of their refreshment needs even in your home office. Mini fridges come in different sizes and can be purchased to blend in with the décor nicely.
A well put together home office makes working at home much more professional and comfortable as well. Even though most home businesses can function with much less, if you have the room, it benefits you to have an office that reflects the style and professionalism you have for your company.
Any clients that do come to your office will be impressed by the look and feel of the office and by how prepared you are to make them comfortable while you take care of their business needs as well.
All of the above suggestions are things that can make a home office functional and stylish.
There are other items you can choose to finish off the room such as plants, a stylish coat rack for clients’ coats, and even a large fireproof safe to hold all of your important personal belongings in.
If you choose to have a home safe in your office, make sure you can bolt it down for added protection and make sure it’s large enough to accommodate all of the documents, files, media and photos that you want to put inside it, as well as any money, jewelry and other important items too. You want to get a safe that is fire and flood proof to protect your items from natural disasters as well.
Follow the suggestions in this article and you will have a home office that is the envy of your colleagues and clients too.