One of the many perks of running your own business or being an entrepreneur is that you actually get to work from the comfort of your own home. Even if you aren’t working from home, you probably still have an awesome office that was set up to your liking.
Since I first started making money online back in the mid-90s, I’ve always had a separate room for running the day to day operations. You can see one of my first office rooms in the picture below.
You can see a recent updated version of what my office today. Yes, I still like to collect things… but it’s actually a lot cleaner and minimalist in it’s latest setup (which I’ll update with a picture soon).
And yes… I even ran my business from a small kitchen desk while relocated for six months during the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy — truely defining the concept of living a laptop lifestyle!
To view other office spaces and desks from other top bloggers and entrepreneurs, you can refer to my previous article on this here.
Quick Tips for Creating a Better Office Space
Whether you work in a corporate office building or your own home office, small work spaces can cut into your productivity if not dealt with properly. With these design tips, your office space can become a location of complete practicality and efficiency, with a little touch of designer elegance. If you’re ready to make a cramped space look more expansive and become more productive, follow these guidelines.
Cut Down on Clutter
If you’re working with a small space, you simply can’t afford to be disorganized. Every day, take five or ten minutes out of your afternoon to clear up your space before you finish working. Take advantage of occasional purges, getting rid of items you no longer need or have simply never had use for.
Cut down on your reliance on paper. While tangible, paper copies are essential for certain items, cutting down on unnecessary piles of paper receipts and documents will get rid of the need for bulky storage filing systems, making for a cleaner, tidier space. This directly translates into more room and a more expansive appearance. If you’ve got cables wiring in and around your office, it’s high time to get with the program and go wireless. If this is an impossibility, consider wire-hiding solutions that will quickly and effectively disguise any computer cables, lighting wires, or other cluttered cords.
If all else fails… be sure to check out this user guide from LifeHacker on getting out from under all of your office crap!
While it’s necessary to get rid of clutter, you don’t want to go so far as to create a stark environment. Well-sourced art pieces and desk adornments can do well for both visual appearances and mental stimuli. Pick visual or cognitive objects that will stimulate thought or reminders for your work.
Try modern art pieces from a site like www.touchofmodern.com. Whether it’s concrete and metal-infused wall décor or high-tech desk gadgets that provide style and practicality, keeping your décor modern will help you create a cohesive space.
It also couldn’t hurt to add some motivational posters to your walls for those days that you need an extra work ethic pick-me-up.
When you mix décor themes and differing furniture designs, the eye is forced to flit from object to object without a sense of cohesion or balance. Keep a similar theme throughout your office, as this will create a better sense of balance and remain easy on the eye. It’s easier for us to take in complementing pieces, and a direct side effect of this ease is a more expansive looking room.
Need some inspiration for how to create a symmetric office? These 9 designs from Office Snapshots should help.
Don’t underestimate the power of color. If you’d like to make your office look bigger, try a neutral color palette on the walls and within your decorations. While white is a classic choice, and for good reason as it is the most expansive looking, it can be a bit boring and lead to a sterile, hospital-like vibe. Light greys and beiges are the way to go, with a pop of accent color here and there.
HuffingtonPost has a great article on the many different colors that should be considered when painting an office — some interesting stats to back each of them up as well!
The Power of Mirrors
One powerful investment with a wonderful return is a good mirror or two. You’ve no doubt heard that mirrors can make a small place look bigger, but why exactly is that? Mirrors reflect the present surface space, along with natural and artificial lighting, essentially doubling the space your eye takes in. Line an empty wall space with a large hanging mirror, and use mirrored materials on shelving.
Before heading out and grabbing the first mirror you can find, be sure to check out these article from WikiHow for ideas on where to place them to improve room space and openness.
A Smaller Desk
Avoid an expansive desk that takes up too much space. Focus on finding a smaller desk made with modern materials, such as glass or industrial metal. These provide the practical working space given by traditional wooden office desks with an up-to-date feel. Be discerning with your desk placement. While natural inclination is to place it in the center of the room, this completely cuts your office in half—a huge mistake for those of us working with little space. You would do better to have a wall-installed desk to clear up as much floor space as possible.
No matter the current setup or size of your office, Amazon has hundreds of desks to choose from — in a wide range of sizes, styles and prices.
If you’re wanting to create more space without sacrificing practicality, think vertically, especially when it comes to your storage solutions. Vertical shelving units, wall planters, and wall hooks can be surprisingly versatile, and create more space than you might expect.
Shelving saves space and brings creativity! (source)
Whether you are looking for space saving shelves or to simply get creative, this article (with pictures) is a great resource for different ideas and concepts for placing shelves within your office or around the home.
Building the Perfect Office for Yourself
At the end of the day, your office is where you are going to be spending most of your time. Make sure it’s somewhere that you want to be. This means creating and designing it the way you like, and not loading it up with expensive stuff you don’t like just to impress people!
By combining these techniques, you can easily make your office space look more expansive than it is, improving your productivity and overall business impression.