It’s Time for Your Dream Office!

Articles February 14, 2008

How much time do you spend in your home office each day? 1 hour, 3 hours, 6 hours or more? If you spend a lot of time in your home office then you should consider giving it a total re-design. Having a clean and inspiring environment is essential to being healthy and working to your fullest potential.

I will point out some tips, resourced and show you a bunch of cool home offices to get you started on your office re-design. When you are done with your new office you will never want to leave!

How to get Started

1. Research

Check out other peoples office’s, research colors at the paint store and browse office furniture stores and websites so you can get a solid idea of what you want your office to look like.

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2. Take measurements and Start Planning

The last thing you want to do is find a cool piece of furniture and then find out it doesn’t fit. So measure your room to see what kind of space you are working with.

3. Prep Work and Painting

Chances are you will need to do some prep work and this could include tasks such as filling holes, removing wallpaper, adding a primer coat of paint to the walls and so on. Once your room is prepped head over to your local paint store to get your paint, rollers, masking tape, brushes, pans and so on so you can paint!

4. Find Your Main Furniture Pieces

Now that your room is painted and ready to go you will need to fill it in with some of the important furniture pieces such as a desk, chair, cabinets and maybe a bookshelf. Feel free to add whatever pieces you want, but cover the basics first and try not to crowd your office.

5. Test Different Layouts

Try moving your furniture pieces around a lot to see what layout will be the most comfortable for you.

6. Accessories

Now its time to accessorize and give your new dream office that final touch. There are lots of great accessories out there such as plants, vases, candles or maybe you already have some cool items to display, but don’t forget less is more!

7. Do Some “Spring Cleaning”

The key to a great office to to keep clutter to a minimum. We all have tons of stuff, but do you really need that garden gnome with a missing arm on your bookshelf? ( Weird example, I know) A lot of people have what I like to call “Pack Rat Syndrome” and this is when they just cant get themselves to throw anything out. A nice solution to this is to have a garage sale, or donate some items to your local Good Will.

8. Organize Your Paperwork and Computer Files

The paperwork can pile up fast now a days and the same goes with computers files, so make sure you take some time to get organized and don’t just make this a one time event.

9. Develop Better Habits

Now that you have a great new office that is clean and organized you will want to keep it that way. You will need to get in the habit of cleaning your office on a regular basis. You will feel much better if everything is clean, organized and well designed!

10. Don’t Forget to Leave

Your new dream office is probably pretty awesome now and you may be working harder and better then ever, but you still need some fresh air. So get out and have some fun!

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Other Useful Tips

1. Try not to eat in your office, you don’t want crumbs in your keyboard!

2. Find some cable organizers to de-clutter your computer area and look into wireless electronics.

3. Open your window once in a while for some fresh air and natural sun light.

4. Get Sirius Satellite Radio or create a big iTunes Playlist so you can listen to your favorite music while working.

5. Get a paper shredder to dispose of important paper work.

6. Buy a white board to write down important tasks or get a notepad.

7. Get some sticky notes and use them as important reminders.

8. Dedicate a spot in your office for your wallet, keys, phone and other important items so you always know where they are.

Tips for Working With a Tight Budget

Don’t worry there are still plenty of ways to create a great office without buying new furniture or electronics.

1. Hit up garage sales, you will be amazed at what you can find. Don’ be afraid to take old furniture and refinish it so it will look brand new.

2. Find some flea markets; similar to garage sales flea markets can be a good place to find great items at low prices.

3. Check classifieds online such as Craiglist. People usually sell stuff for cheap and there is even a free items section where people are just giving stuff away.

4. Watch some shows on HGTV like Design on a Dime for tips on making the most of your design budget.

5. Have your own garage sale to raise money towards your office re-design.

6. Sell your old computers and electronics so you can put money towards your new gear.

7. Save all your change each day in a container and then cash it in after a few months.

8. Bring those soda cans and bottles to the recycling center you would be surprised how much you can make!

Cool Office Furniture and Accessory Stores

Crate and Barrel

CB2

Ikea

The Container Store

A final Note

If you don’t’ feel comfortable tackling this project on your own see if you can find an interior designer with reasonable rates to help you or ask some of your friends for their opinions. It seems like a large project, but with the proper planning, it can be a lot of fun and it will really make a difference in how you feel and how you work while in your new dream office!

Some Cool Offices

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Feel free to post about your own plans or share photos of your own office with us!

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 Cadence Wu

Cadence is You The Designer's senior blogger, and the most jack-of-all-trades of the staff. She's always trying out something different every day, some of which fuels her posts here on the blog. Let her know if you want us to post more about your favorite topic - she might know more than a thing or two about it!

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  • http://goaye.com Custom T-Shirts

    Cool snapshots, some of these are so pomo its a bit too much though.

    I’ve always considered the lighting to be the most important factor to consider when it comes to anything affecting my work habits. A well-lit work area can be a huge asset. My favorite example are ceiling fixtures for spotlights to highlight certain areas, with incandescent light bulbs for a very clear and nice white.

    Some of the above stations are way too dark and I would go crazy. This could also impact the ability of some people to properly see specific color differences.

    That fireplace is the best though, I would set aside all of the above mentioned for a fireplace. Roastin’ marshmallows, hell yes.

  • http://surflounge.com JH Fleming

    This desk makes me stop everthing on my office design.
    The MILK desk:
    http://milk.dk/

  • http://www.oldschoolseo.com Anthony a.k.a. OldSchool

    Now I am motivated to upgrade my office. Of course, the technology will be first, then the furniture.

  • http://www.pixeldeath.com Curvball

    Oh yeah! Great post, and it’s given me that little extra push I need to clear up and re-organise my own home office. Hope to post a photo soon (think this weekend will be a great time for the spring clean).

  • http://aiburn.com Sean Hodge

    I need better lighting in my office for sure.

  • http://justcreativedesign.com Jacob Cass

    Thats an original article right there :) Good job yet again, thanks.

  • http://featherpot.com Ben Jacob

    Only Mac in the Dream office…?

  • Gino

    No you can have a PC if you want! I guess I geared this a bit more towards designers, plus a lot of the good photos on Flickr were all Macs. =)

  • http://www.capturetheconversation.com James Clark

    A great time someone gave us for our office, was to buy shower board at Home Depot instead of spending a ton of money on expensive white boards. We put two huge pieces of shower board on a wall, which is now a massive white board for only $40.00

    For design help you can also get some professional help from: http://www.decorbymail.com

    It’s a cool idea to get professional help then “Shop it Youself”.

  • http://www.chopandcode.com/ Peter

    Having a Mac does help though. :)

  • http://snowulf.com Jon

    Interesting idea. I wish I only spent 6 hours a day in my home office. With the growing trend of telecommuting workers (like myself) we spend most of our day in the home office.

  • http://h3.co.nz Ace

    natural sunlight blah! who needs it.

  • http://pownce.com/firblitz/ Tamal W.

    Nice article! Coincidence that I just upgraded my home office:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/firblitz/2266652230/

  • Stephen Murphy

    Nice to see some cool setups. I just added a new monitor to complete my setup http://flickr.com/photos/symurphy/2266665910/in/set-72157603914452411/

  • http://allenchan.com.cn Allen

    I wanna a couple of Macs at home, that’s awesome!

  • http://sixrevisions.com/ Jacob Gube

    Very inspirational, I’ve been meaning to upgrade my home office space for quite a while now. What’s really stopping me from doing anything is that I’m waiting until I buy a 22′ or 24′ inch monitor. Once I’ve got that, I’ll design my desk/set-up around it.

    The dual-monitor set-up (6th picture from the top) is the most appealing to me, that truly pushes me to get off my a$$ and make my home office space more appealing. Maybe when it’s set up, I’ll get to post it here! :)

    With regards to point #1 (How to get started, “Research): Do you know of any good websites that showcase what other people are doing? I’ve tried looking for “home office/computer” galleries, but I’ve only managed to find a handful, I may not be looking in the right place…

  • http://flickr.com/photos/paladin27/78770424/ Paladin27

    Personally, I think a lot of those desks in the example are either too small or not layed out very well for doing actual work. That round table would be a PITA to use on a regular basis for more than just web surfing.

    I prefer my desk layout. :-)
    http://flickr.com/photos/paladin27/78770424/

  • http://www.bittbox.com BittBox
  • Gino

    Thanks all for the comments!

    1. Even though I stress clutter free, some people just feel comfortable with a lot of stuff around and this is fine as long as you are comfortable and work well like that.

    2. No you don’t have to have an apple computer, you can have a PC in your office! I just happen to be a big fan of macs and I was a PC user for 12 years until I got a Mac.

    3. Two readers wanted to share their office photos which you can find below:

    Nareg’s Office – http://i28.tinypic.com/msk3kh.jpg

    Keir’s Office – http://i29.tinypic.com/2m4occ6.jpg

  • http://www.vanalder.com Ike VanAlder

    I am selling an excellent plan on how to build a U-shaped Computer desk that hides away all your peripherals. I just recently posted a video of the design on my site. Please check it out… http://www.vanalder.com. I am a fan of the articals on Youthedesigner.com and just happened upon this post.
    If your going to spend a lot of time in a home office, it should be nice and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Make the U Computer Desk your next project.

  • Fishous

    Here’s a recent pic of my home office.

    http://www.fishous.com/office/office.jpg

  • Gino

    Fishous – wow do you run your own hosting company or something? What do you do for a living mind me asking?

  • Fishous

    I’m a software developer. I work from home. I primarily write software for two companies out of Texas.

    I don’t have my own hosting company, but I do have a dedicated server for my sites (offsite). The computers in my (self-built) rack are just my office machines.

  • Docstah

    How about theese for starting sometihng interesting. Beside Fishous nothing interesting … put some effort ppzl :P

    http://shrani.si/f/2k/x7/39NtsiMZ/img0491resize.jpg
    http://shrani.si/f/A/3n/IWzZy8F/img0526resize.jpg

    Moar? :P

  • Bakari

    I don’t have my dream office yet, but I started off the year by finally downsizing my large collection of books and getting rid lots of junk that has piled up in the past. My biggest focus in getting rid of the clutter is looking for what I call clutter traps—places on my desk and in my office that invite me to stash and pile stuff because I don’t have a designated place for things to go. Getting rid of clutter traps has helped me maintain a more organized office. Now I’m in the process of getting as much stuff as possible that I don’t use on a regular basis put away in a closet instead lying around in open spaces in my office.

    Here’s a couple of photos and info about what I did.

  • http://officespacey.com pmayson

    I’m a tech consultant and obsessed with this stuff – great post! I started a site dedicated to this earlier this month! Here’s my set up:

    http://officespacey.com/2008/02/03/office-snapshot-officespacey/

  • http://www.expertnerd.com cjfusion

    Here is my newly remodeled home office. I spend 10-15 hours a day in here, mainly because the rest of the house isn’t that exciting, and well I live on the computer. Here’s my setup:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/cjfusion/MyOffice

    Enjoy!

  • Don

    Why do you guys all have like 3 computers? I just have my mac

  • George

    The last picture looks just like my girlfriends home-office :)

  • http://www.typicalenglish.nl/showroom/bureaux_home_nl.php David Nicholas

    Great stuff, my job is to create dream offices for business
    people, so this post is just down my street.

    Keep it up.

    Thanks

  • http://www.shoretotaloffice.com/index.php Erin Dolan

    Just started a new job help designing the website at an office furniture place and watching these guys design some of these offices is incredible. Some of these are pretty expensive, but you can at least get some ideas at the possibilities, and not everything they have is expensive it only looks that way. This is one of my favorites.

    http://www.shoretotaloffice.com/napoli-office-desks

  • http://www.typicalenglish.co.uk/index_en.php Typical English

    Good find Erin, I checked the site out and it looks very swish.

  • Joe

    very insightful grt JOb!

  • Roxanne Quicks

    These are all great tips for designing an office space that will work for you! Sometimes the idea of redecorating or even moving to a new office space can be overwhelming. If you are in the Ontario area check out Sensyst for your design needs. They have been amazing to me. Check them out! http://www.sensyst.com/index.php/about/design/