Designing Your Home Office: Cat’s Pro Tips

Whether working from home is your normal routine or something you’ve been adapting to over the last few months, creating the right space makes a big difference. Especially when many of us are also navigating the tall task of converting our home into a makeshift schoolhouse, our own home work area may have taken a backseat. Giving that workspace some focused attention can go a long way toward making the days more pleasant, and we wanted to share a few of our favorite tips and tricks for giving the home office some TLC.

Lighten and Brighten

Bringing in great lighting is one of the first things we suggest for an office area. It gives the space an instant lift, and keeping things at the right brightness throughout the daily grind can help with consistency, focus, and even productivity.  Natural light is ideal (especially orienting yourself so that a window is in your line of sight), but not always accessible for every space.  Consider a quality, appropriately-sized desk lamp that adds something to the space- perhaps a fun shape, interesting texture, or a bright color. You can even outfit it with a full-spectrum bulb for a bigger energy-lifting boost. 

an inspiration board in a home office - cat french design

Sit and Stand

A giant spacious desk and plush wheely office chair may not be an option at home- a lot of us are making do with space and furniture that we already have, and making it work with whatever will actually fit in our space.  But sitting for 8 hours in that old folding chair from the garage won’t do your back any favors, either!  No one does their best work when they’re physically uncomfortable, so try to find a chair with good support, or even better- sit on a large yoga ball. It’s an inexpensive option that will fit behind most desks, and it’s awesome for your joints. Sit-to-stand desks are something to consider, too- you can use them while sitting and then effortlessly elevate them when you need a standing break (about every 45-50 minutes).  If there was ever a time to invest in one, it’s now! Your body will thank you for the extra comfort and movement.  

turn a music room in to a home office - cat french design

Green it Up

It’s no secret that we love some greenery around here- and for good reason! Plants can add to a space in so many different ways- and believe it or not, keeping your spirits up during endless hours of zoom calls can also be one of them. Working from home can be isolating for anyone, and especially for folks who are more accustomed to a busy office. Having a green friend around can do wonders for the mood, and provide some much needed natural “scenery” that our eyes and our brains greatly appreciate.  Don’t let the fear of maintenance hold you back- even something like a tiny snake plant or a small pothos can do the trick, and they can basically survive anywhere. If you have little more sunlight in your space, a friendship plant is the happiest of additions. Get a pot you really like, and let it live right there beside your laptop where it can purify the air and radiate some good plant energy as you type away.

adding in plants to your home  - cat french design

Making it Yours

Working from home may be your forever fit, or maybe the timeline is unknown for you at the moment. But one of the things we’ve seen most is that a makeshift space is often not a comfortable option, even for the short-term. If you’re able, go ahead and take the leap to give that workspace a little bit of attention and make it your own.  If you’ve set up shop in another area (such as appropriating the top of the clothes dryer as your desk- we’ve all done it!), now is the moment to take some time and carve out a place in the house that is dedicated only for work. Even if it’s small or just a corner of another room, a separate area goes a long way to aiding in the work-from-home balancing act. Add some personal items, such as a photo or item that makes you smile. It may seem silly since you’re already in your own house, but even a couple of items you enjoy looking at can do much to bolster motivation. That super goofy picture of you and your best friend or that little clock you got from your grandparent’s house can be perfect additions to your desk. We also like to keep a secret stash of “focus items” for those really long days, such as a ball you can squeeze, a few snacks, or a small adult coloring book you can take out for a quick 3-minute brain-break.  

a cozy desk for your home workspace - cat french design

Scenic Backdrop

There’s so much talk about that Zoom background! But it’s not as elusive as it might seem- if it’s something you need, it can come together really quickly (and without breaking the bank).  Good lighting is a must- having your body face a window is ideal (avoid backlighting at all costs!).  But if positioning yourself in front of natural light is not an option, ring lights are a great alternative- they come in all sizes, and there are very reasonable options that will attach to your laptop or even your phone. A simple way to design a nice background is to sit in front of a set of bookshelves. Another good option is to place a larger sized picture or piece of art on the wall behind you (or even propped up on a table behind your chair!) so that it’s visible in your zoom frame. If you’re pressed for time, relocating a picture from another part of the house is a great work-around.

A well planned home office - cat french design

Whether for the short term or the long term, we’ve found that creating a functional, personal, and comfortable home office spot is time well spent- and even small changes can add up to a big impact.  Have questions about how to make the home office work for you? We’re here to help! Give us a shout at hello@catfrenchdesign.com or via our Contact Page.
For more of the happenings and goings-on of this busy team, catch up with us on the Catherine French Design Facebook Page, or on Instagram @catfrenchdesign.