Micro-Staging 101: Home Office Design Hacks

Home office area with narrow bookshelf, desk and wall organization

Is the whole family working (and learning) from home these days? Try these home office design hacks to give busy spaces a functional and design-right refresh. Read on for simple steps to analyze, organized and improve productivity.


1. Analyze your current space.

Whether your office occupies an entire room, a multi-purpose area or a carefully chosen corner, ask yourself the following questions (these are also helpful considerations if you are in search of the right space for a home office):

  1. How often do you use this space for work? Do you work alone or with coworkers, kids or clients? Does the space have other uses? Are the needs of all the space users being met?
  2. Does your office space have ample natural light (or well-placed lamps)? Do the colors of the walls and décor promote positive energy?
  3. Do you have all the supplies and storage space you need? Are office tools, files and other materials  readily accessible, or do you spend time searching for essentials before you can work?
  4. Do your desk and chair offer sufficient comfort and support? Is there enough seating for all uses?
  5. Do you feel your time spent in the office is enjoyable and productive?

Keep this series of questions in mind as you organize and accessorize. Do you need to shop for large items, such as a new desk, chair(s) and organizational furniture? Or is your refresh about the design details? Not certain? Keep on reading…

A helpful way to take on an office refresh is to divide the space into three primary categories: desktop, storage and wall (don’t waste this useful space!). Here’s how to make the most out of every inch and surface, keeping both the practical and the pretty in mind.

2. Tackle Your Desktop  

Begin any office refresh with removing everything from your desktop. Take everything off the surface and out of any desk drawers. Divide the contents into three piles: Throw/give away; keep but not in/on desk and return to desk. Give the whole surface a good, old-fashioned dusting. Now you’re ready to begin anew.

Your keyboard is queen. Begin your plan with the perfect placement of your laptop, which may require a monitor stand or some other object to enable height adjustment.

TIP 1: The top of your computer screen be set at approximately eye level. This way, your eyelids will move downward while scanning text, closing slightly to moisten eyes and prevent tiring.

TIP 2: Ideally, your elbows should be bent with your forearms parallel to the floor. Keep this in mind when arranging both your desk and office chair.

Tip 3: Keep chargers and other tech cables tidy with purchased cord-organizing gadgets — or a simple DIY solution, such as attaching a row of binder clips to the back of your desk to align and hold wires.

What else do you need for daily business? Do you prefer to keep it on the desktop — or do you a prefer a streamlined surface to do your best thinking? Arrange items around your desktop to suit this preference.

TIP 1: If you have a desk drawer, measure its interior and select a divided tray (or a couple of trimmed-to-height shoeboxes) that will fit inside. Arrange need-everyday desk accessories, such as a stapler, scissors and paper clips in the sections. The filled tray can be stored in a drawer yet easily removed when needed.

TIP 2: A container for pens and pencils is a good candidate for always-on-the-desktop status. Select something simple and amply sized. Final desktop details? A planner and a plant!

Solve Storage Issues

Once your desktop is sorted, you may find you now have items’ you still want to keep handy but have lost their home. Here’s where that bookshelf, console table or corkboard come in.

TIP 1: A bookshelf can also be used to divide spaces or create a professional-looking backdrop for conference calls (just be sure that it’s safe and secure if children might run by it). Get more DIY bookshelf design help here.

TIP 2: Have an unused console or sidetable? Repurpose it for home office storage. Cover it with a pretty tablecloth and you can hide unsightly boxes (or the occasional toy) underneath.

TIP 3: Make a corkboard look more professional by wrapping it in burlap or printed fabric. Secure it with a neat border of thumbtacks. Use a whiteboard? Trim out the edges with washi tape or novelty duct tape.

Need help keeping family members out of your workspace? Download several copies of this handy sign (we bet others may want their own). Invite younger kids to color and decorate the sign before you hang it, so they feel included in your work-from-home effort.