Tired of your home office? Here’s how to upgrade on a budget

If you are one of the many Canadians who have spent the last two years working remotely, your home office is likely in need of an update. Now is the ideal time to renew the status of the WFH and start the new year with energy and focus. “One of the most important lessons I have learned is the importance of asking myself what makes me most productive,” says Ariel Kaye, founder and CEO of Parachute, an online retailer of home essentials.

Kaye, who currently works in her bedroom and dining room in her Mar Vista, California home, says that before you start designing a space, it’s important to ask yourself questions like: How much space do you need? you want to be close to natural light; And where are the closest electrical outlets? Once you identify your needs, you can get creative with your setup.

Becoming top priority is also how Nina Ber-Donkor, owner of Toronto’s Black rooster decoration, comes close to designing a home office. “It’s important to know yourself and have visual stimuli outside your little work bubble,” he says, pointing to items that give you joy during the day, like your favorite hand cream on your desk or a photo of your loved ones.

Here, Kaye and Ber-Donkor share their home office design tips that will help you renovate your workspace easily and affordably.

Start with art

Whether placed on a wall in your line of sight or used to anchor your backdrop, an inspiring piece of art will instantly elevate any home office space. “A lot of people are doing job interviews through Zoom. Not only are potential employers looking at you, they are also looking at what’s behind you, ”says Ber-Donkor. Recommend travel photography, an abstract style, or even a framed reprint of a famous artist, like Picasso. “Pick something interesting that says a little about you,” she says.

“A home office doesn’t need to feel tense and clinical.”

Another quick fix may be to buy your existing collection. Kaye is a huge fan of moving the art she already has in her home to create a whole new look in a different space – a style hack that’s cost effective too. “I recently took a wall hanging from my living room and hung it in my bedroom, where I often take calls,” he says. “The touch of color and texture was exactly what was needed in my otherwise neutral room. These free, simple updates make a big difference in changing the environment in your workspace. “

Prioritize comfort

It’s easier to email and participate in virtual meetings when you feel comfortable. One of the benefits of working from home is that you have the ability to create a cozy space, Kaye says. “A home office doesn’t need to feel strained and clinical,” she says. Try incorporating soft touches with a textured rug, an alpaca blanket on the back of your chair, or a sheepskin pillow on your seat for extra support. “These items not only look beautiful in your space, but they are also guaranteed to make you feel good, too,” says Kaye.

Nina Ber-Donkor in her shop, Black Rooster Decor. (Photo: courtesy of Nina Ber-Donkor)

Another way to increase comfort is through scent. Ber-Donkor suggests indulging your senses with a good-smelling candle, as long as there are no children or pets around. If you need to be more secure, try a diffuser.

Choose multipurpose pieces

Whether you have a dedicated room to work in or are renovating a corner within your bedroom, living room, or dining room, look beyond traditional office furniture. Instead of styling your home office with a typical desk chair, consider stylish dining room chairs. “Most desks are 30 inches high, which is the same height as a dining table, so you can always use your [work] chair for when you have an extra guest for dinner, ”says Ber-Donkor. For maximum longevity, look for classic styles that don’t take up a lot of visual space, like a bistro chair.

“Bringing a plant or two is good for oxygen intake and makes a space feel like a box.”

Kaye also advises a cross-functional approach to making the most of a workspace and keeping things fresh throughout the day. By choosing pieces that are flexible in terms of use and size, you can move around the home office and rearrange the furniture to suit your needs. “For example, the chair I work from often has a matching ottoman that serves as an additional seat and is sometimes also an additional table surface for when I’m reviewing new designs,” she says.

Dabble in color

The surefire shortcut to updating a workspace? Roll up the sleeves and remove the protective fabric. “An easy and inexpensive way to renovate your home office is with a new paint color; It will give your Zoom background a whole new look, ”says Kaye. Her favorite palette of the moment is shades of sand, dusty pink, muted yellow and coral, as they add a subtle hint of color and enhance the mood. If you want to show your creative muscle or don’t want to commit to painting an entire room, consider creating a mini mural by painting geometric or abstract shapes to highlight a wall.

Bring the great outdoors to

Add life to your home office, literally. Fresh flowers are great, but they die, which is why Ber-Donkor thinks plants are a better idea. “Bringing a plant or two is good for oxygen intake and makes a space feel less like a box,” she says. If space on your desk or table is restricted, consider placing plants on a shelf or on the floor. For low maintenance vegetation, Ber-Donkor suggests succulents, which don’t need a lot of water.

And your weekly grocery run can make a new change, too. “If you work from your kitchen island, a beautiful fruit plate can be a visual reminder to take a break,” says Ber-Donkor. She keeps a bowl of lemons in her space for a visual pop of color that also serves as a cue to hydrate during the day.


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