8 Dos and Don’ts When Designing an Office

The perfect office space must be two things: Inspiring and functional. 

Creating a space that’s pretty to look at is easier than ever, thanks to a world of gorgeous images available online. I would know — I’m a Pinterest fanatic and I’ve saved thousands of inspiration photos that I know I’ll reference as soon as I purchase my own house (hopefully within the next year)!

However, what many of these picture-perfect office designs don’t tell you, is that they typically aren’t the most practical. Over the past few years, I’ve had to strike a balance between beauty and function in my workspace, something that I wasn’t able to do by referencing photos — because those photos barely exist! 

Here are some key takeaways I’ve learned in the process of optimizing my office.

Amber’s 4 Tips for Creating an Inspiring Workspace

1. Get cozy.

Whether your office occupies an entire room or just a designated corner, adding elements of comfort will transform your space into somewhere you don’t mind spending time. Incorporate tactile elements like rugs and pillows and put up a shelf to house your favorite books.

Cozy Home Workspace via Country Living Studio Seagraves

The rug and couch in this office nook help it feel homey and welcoming.

Image via Country Living

2. Go green.

Want to boost your energy naturally? Introduce plants into your office. Not only are they a beautiful decorative element, leafy friends improve air quality, lower stress, and stabilize humidity levels, making your workspace a more enjoyable, uplifting place to be.

Indigo & Ochre Office Nook

Even small offices have enough room for a houseplant or two!

Image via Indigo & Ochre

3. Be original.

Instead of buying run-of-the-mill office furniture, take the time to find pieces you really love. Incorporate antiques or items passed down through the family and dress up the walls with unique artwork that inspires you.

Workspace with Antiques By SHNordic

The vintage elements in this office space feel personal and special.

Image via BY SHNORDIC

4. Get lit.

Good lighting is so important in a workspace. If possible, position your desk near a window. If your office is naturally dim, introduce lighting elements like lamps with drum shades or pendant lights that aren’t too harsh.

Workspace with lots of light

The windows in this office are an absolute dream. I also approve of this desk setup, which leads me to... 

 Image via Contemporist

Amber’s 4 Tips for Creating a Functional Workspace

1. Get aligned.

An ergonomic desk setup is a must-have for anyone who spends most of their days at their computer. I’m short, so I use a height adjustable chair and a stand for my feet — I’ve positioned my monitor on an encyclopedia so my eyes are aligned with the top of the screen. I also use an ergonomic keyboard and mouse pad. Since introducing these elements into my workspace, I’m experiencing significantly less pain in my back and wrists.

 Beautiful Zen Office

Gorgeous space… but that office chair has gotta go.

Image via Layla Decor

2. Stay organized.

 Okay, so maybe you’d never consider arranging your books that way... But are you paying enough attention to how you organize your work documents? Piggy backing off Tip #3 Be Original: Opt for organizational elements that are pleasing to look at — Don’t just default to manilla folders (unless that’s your vibe). I keep all of my client information in earth-toned fabric binders, which are housed in an antique armoire. My design books are arranged neatly on a shelf where I can access them anytime I need an extra dose of inspiration.

Neutral Office Space with books

I’m all for neutral decor but not for the sake of practicality. How would someone in this office find which book they’re looking for?

Image via EST Living

3. Protect the energy.

 The electromagnetic radiation omitted from your devices has a negative effect on your body and mind, interrupting your workflow. If you’re looking for some key ways to block EMFs and improve your mindfulness around technology, check out this blog post.

Beautiful white office

 I’m a big fan of this office space. Good chair, great shelves, beautiful light… but it needs some EMF protection.

Image via Casa e Jardim

4. Keep calm.

Work can be stressful, so it's up to us to do everything we can to foster peace and clarity in our office spaces. I’ve integrated elements of aromatherapy like candles and an oil diffuser — I love scents like bergamot, vanilla, and pine. I also keep crystals and oracle cards on my desk so I’m reminded to reconnect with my inner self during work breaks.

Workspace with dark walls and leather chair

Kudos for the plant... but this space could use some more personal touches that evoke a sense of calm.

Image via Rosen Kelly Conway

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Work can be stressful, so it's up to us to do everything we can to foster peace and clarity in our office spaces. I’ve integrated elements of aromatherapy like candles and an oil diffuser — I love scents like bergamot, vanilla, and pine. I also keep crystals and oracle cards on my desk so I’m reminded to reconnect with my inner self during work breaks.

I know we all strive for Insta-worthy workspaces, but it’s so important not to sacrifice function! As you design your office, be sure to fuse the pretty with the practical, and you’ll create a space that’s truly enjoyable to work in.

 

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