Sometimes interior design is about the small things. There’s nothing like starting a room with a blank canvas, but I’m often asked how to make a room more interesting without making massive changes. Often the layout of a room already works, or for practical reasons it can’t be changed. So there is no scope to make big improvements there. Especially if the size of the room is on the small size. And often the furniture doesn’t need to be changed. It’s already functional and fits the space and it’s not falling apart. This is especially true in a home office, where there’s no need to spend huge amounts just for the sake of it – and I never advise that anyway. ‘Find a way to use what you have‘ is usually my motto. But just because it’s a workspace and it’s often not for public eyes, doesn’t mean it can’t be a creative and inspiring place to be. In fact there’s every reason why it should be both of those things, and attractive to look at too.
A bright and cheery office space in blue and white with some touches of yellow.
Create a Focal Point In a Workspace
Every room needs a focal point. Other rooms in the house may have more than one, but in the home office I’d generally make the desk area the centre of attention. Especially if it’s the first thing you see when you open the door. Keep the area around the desk as uncluttered as possible. I know this is easier said than done but there are storage solutions that will keep everything out of the way. Choose a desk with drawers and you can keep the stapler, hole punch and other essentials close to hand but hidden for a start. It’s essential too to keep wires and cables hidden or at the very least tidy. I’ve got my printer on a small trolley so that I don’t have it on the desk. I can wheel it out when I need it but for the most part it’s hidden away. A wireless printer will also free up the desk space too.
A chic and girly workspace with a mostly monochrome scheme but with touches of brass and pink.
Add Colour, Pattern or Texture to a Workspace
This is where you can start to add some personality. Maybe you have a colour you love, an idea you’ve seen on pinterest, or a scheme you’re particularly drawn to. You might want to add some bold wallpaper but be careful with that one. A feature wall in any other room of the house will add impact, but in the workspace it may be distracting and fight with everything else you have going on. Maybe you can only work in a bright, white space? In that case you can add personality in other ways.
Navy and white is always smart. Touches of copper will warm up the scheme.
Add Decorative Elements to a Workspace
Much like any other room in the house, layer on the things that inspire you and make you happy. Moodboards can look amazing behind the desk but personally I keep mine on another wall. They can also look incredibly messy. I suspect that those beautiful ones on Pinterest have been styled just for the camera – just sayin’. Same goes for memo boards, whiteboards, year planners, or whatever else you need to work efficiently. Hide them behind the door and keep the focal point of the room (the desk of course – see above) uncluttered and looking lovely. Shelves are great for holding inspirational quotes, favourite books, mementoes and plants. And with shelves you can change and re-arrange them at will.
Wood effect wallpaper creates a more organic scheme with wooden accessories, a rope rug and lots of plants.
Add Houseplants to a Workspace
And don’t forget that houseplants also bring actual health benefits to the home office. According to Kara O’Reilly, the author of At Home With Plants “introducing just one plant near your work station can start to bring about positive effects. It will reduce feelings of anxiety and stress and also help to improve concentration – particularly for those of us whose work is computer-based”. But if you really can’t keep plants alive, just adding a few artificial plants will also improve the display on a shelf.