5 Home Office
Mistakes to Avoid

Design flaws that inhibit your work and how to fix them

Home office

As companies adapt to remote work during the coronavirus pandemic, more and more of us will continue working from home when the coast is clear. Perhaps indefinitely. Several big name firms, including tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Square, have already rolled out plans to allow a portion of their workforce to stay home permanently.

Which means that many of our makeshift setups at home, pulled together in a panic, might benefit from a few slight tweaks. You want to pick a space—a room or even just a corner of a room—and make it yours. "Think of the whole space, not just a desk pushed up against a wall," says Luis Fernandez, founder of creative design studio @LUISFERN5, and designer of several home offices, including the handsome one above. “You'll be spending a lot more time in this space, so making it comfortable, soothing and inviting is important.” He suggests mixing things up by combining functional task furniture with statement-making lighting fixtures and decorative objects to add a “vibe” and make your workspace a place you want to be. Herewith, five common mistakes designers often see and the easy ways to fix them.

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Home Office
Mistakes to Avoid

Overlooking
the Lighting

Lighting can make or break a room—and especially a room where you need to get work done. We've all suffered under harsh artificial lighting or struggled staying alert and motivated in a dimly lit room as well. Interior designer Cortney Bishop, who specializes in lighting schemes, suggests layering different lighting. Besides standard overhead fixtures, she suggests working in desk lamps or wall sconces and floor lamps into your home office to further illuminate the room. And natural light is always a bonus. Position your workspace as close to a window as you can.

Schoolhouse Graduate Lamp

Graduate lamp,
$249 by Schoolhouse

Project 62 Audrey Coulee Desk Lamp

Audrey Coulee desk lamp,
$50.99 by Project 62

Putting Up With
the Wrong Chair

When it comes to a home office chair, it should be comfortable enough to sit in for hours on end—but not so comfy that it encourages slacking off. You want something upright and supportive. It should be structured but not too rigid. Of course, the exact height, shape and material will vary based on your height, style and how you like to work. But give yourself a little time to experiment and figure out what you want. This is an item where you want to invest in quality. It's the one thing that will receive a lot of wear and tear. So be sure to try out more than one chair type, if you can. Take advantage of free shipping or generous return policies.

CB2 Galvanized Metal Trunk

Galvanized metal trunk,
$149 by CB2

Not Having
Enough Storage

When working from home, a lot of us start out with simply a desk. Which means that the space can become cluttered quickly. Storage is, of course, the solution. But you don't have to be tied to the standard filing cabinet—you're not in a cubicle here. But you should opt for closed storage to keep things tidy and hidden.

Scout & Nimble Modular Filing Cabinet

Modular filing cabinet,
$840 / $672 by Scout & Nimble

West Elm Walnut Slatted Credenza

Walnut slatted credenza,
$1,099 by West Elm

Neglecting
the Background

Video calls will be a part of our working life for the foreseeable future. So you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you don't take them into consideration when setting up your home office. Fernandez says to think of your work area as a two-way mirror. “You know your colleagues will be scrutinizing the background in a Zoom-call, so think of it as set-design: purposeful and interesting, unique to you and soothing to your colleagues but also not too distracting.”

Ollo Concrete End Table

Concrete end table,
$269.99 by Ollo

It’s Functional,
But Lifeless

A sterile work environment doesn't inspire much creative thinking. According to designer Orlando Soria, you want to add a little personality to your space and pick up some additional surface area where you can. Add visual appeal with something that stands out just enough to make an impact (without being a distraction), like an industrial side table that can double as a stool for additional seating.

Need Stronger WiFi?

$31 by TP-Link

Amazon's best-selling WiFi extender is also one of the easiest and most affordable ways to expand your internet connection. This plug-in device will boost your coverage by up to 1,200 square feet and can connect up to 20 devices.

NOTE: Items featured in this story are independently selected by the editorial team. Purchasing via our links may earn Valet. a portion of the sale, which helps fund our editorial mission.

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