Home office design can be a lot of fun, but also a challenge if you don't have as much space. Even the tiniest of rooms, however, can still make for a stylish, practical and well-organized home office. Don't let your small office become a glorified closet; here are four essential (and often ignored) tips on how to make the most of your work space, no matter what its size.
Find the Right Desk
Desk placement may be more important than what type of desk you get for a few reasons. The smallest, simplest desks can still look and feel like a million bucks if placed in the perfect position such as near a window. Having a view every time you lift your eyes from the computer screen can make any office feel homier and less corporate.
If a window isn't an option, consider placing the further away from the wall, with your chair facing the rest of the room. This gives you a view of the entrance and the rest of the room's decor while still offering a comfortable area to work. No other option but to put your desk in a corner? You can add a shelf or large bulletin board on the wall in front of you, so your eyes can focus on content that makes this area feel as personal and organized as possible.
Don't overthink the size of desk you need think about your habits rather than the area of the room. If you prefer to work on a large surface where you can spread out and work creatively, go with a large table. You can always compromise on the size of other furniture pieces if space is especially tight. Favor style over function? If a tiny desk suffices, take this as a chance to search for unusual pieces of furniture with a charm that complements a modest work surface (think antiques, bright colors or unusual shapes).
Vertical Space and Plenty of Storage
A home office design in small spaces needs furniture that serves a double purpose. Instead of picking a regular table as a desk, go with a workstation that comes ready with numerous drawers and shelf space. At the very least, you'll want to ensure the desk is tall enough to allow for wheeled drawers to fit underneath.
Another important thing to remember for office organization? Vertical space. Bookcases (especially the thin, tall kind) can be used for more than just books; add boxes on the shelves to store folders, or use these shelves to keep paperwork and office supplies organized.
Keep Only What You Need
Drowning in papers isn't necessarily a sign that you're disorganized, but you probably don't need to keep most of it, especially when working in a tight space. Real Simple suggests throwing away ATM-withdrawal receipts, deposit slips and documentation for minor purchases from the supermarket, pharmacy or other errands that don't include a warranty or the possibility of a refund.
On the other hand, keep paycheck stubs, mortgage statements and similar bills that might contribute to tax deductions for at least a year or until you file your taxes. The exception? Financial statements, which you should keep for seven years. All else can go into the shredder or recycling bin, and that includes expired coupons, paid bills, credit card statements, old insurance papers (once you receive new ones), expired warranties and manuals to products you no longer own.
Hang Your Theme on the Wall
A home office doesn't have to be only about work. In fact, the more fun and stylish you can make the space, the more you're likely to enjoy being there. In compact quarters, wall space is your best canvas. Go with bright colors on the walls or an accent wall, pick chic curtains and buy a desk chair of a color or design that's worthy of your home's current theme.
And don't forget the little details. Frame some inspirational quotes and hang them on the walls, then add knick-knacks and other personal items you love throughout the room. With an inviting feel and homey appearance, working at home will feel a lot less like work.
This article was brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive Company, the makers of Murphy® Oil Soap. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.