Micro-Staging 101: Home Office Design Hacks

mom is in a meeting illustrated sign

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.


1. Analyze your home office space

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

  1. How often do you use this space for work? Is this space a common area or dos it have other uses?
  2. Is your office space well-lit?
  3. Do you have all the supplies and storage space you need?
  4. Do your desk and chair offer sufficient comfort and support?
  5. What happens to this space when you are not working?

Keep this series of questions in mind as you organize and accessorize.

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  

Visit The Stay-at-Home Shop for more homeschooling and home office solutions.

Begin any office refresh by clearing your deskop and 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. Chair underperforming? A pillow or two can add comfort and elevation.

Tip 3: Keep chargers and other tech cables tidy with 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, select a divided tray that will fit inside. Arrange 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. Final desktop details should speak to your style and personality. May we suggest 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.

TIP 4: For office spaces now being used by adults and kids, entryway organizers, such as shelves, coat pegs and storage benches, can be repurposed to give each individual their own space to store their work or school materials when the area is in use by another.

Create a sign to show when you’re in “do not disturb mode.” Encourage kids and other family members to do the same for their own home school or work stations. Find more essentials and extras at The Stay-at-Home Shop.

LET YOUR WALLS SING

Be it on a whiteboard, a corkboard or in your own creative way, post a schedule that shows when the space is being used as an office. This is especially beneficial if multiple people are working and learning from home if internet connectivity is a challenge.

display of audrey hepburn wall art

Working from home can be intense and, at times, stressful. Hanging a picture, poster, inspiring wall sign or some cherished kids’ artwork adds personality and can give you a lift whenever you look up from the keyboard. Added benefit: an artful wall makes a charming backdrop for those virtual meetings.