Create a Home Office You Love

In 1644, English judge Sir Edward Coke was quoted as saying, “For a man’s house is his castle”, and that is true, even today, in so many ways. Our homes should be a place of respite, a place to recharge and enjoy time with family and friends. However, there is a space that we need to design for productivity as well as enjoyment….the home office.

The home office has enjoyed an elevated status in the last few years. New advances in technology now afford us the ability to work remotely like never before. Necessity during the Covid pandemic has forced us to be creative and become accustomed to working, as well as being educated, remotely. Ready to update and refresh your office space to make it the best it can be? Here are some tips to help you along the way:

  1. Consider the space itself.

Do you have an entire room to set aside as your office? This is ideal, especially if you share your home with others who will be there during your work/school hours. If not, it’s important to find an area that you can shut off from the flow of noise and distraction. This allows you to be more productive and engaged and will help you separate the time at “home” from “work/school”.

         2. Set up the space for your work/school needs first. Once those elements are in place you can add furnishings and decor to bring in color and texture to create a beautiful space you enjoy.

               Design your work area to ensure the following is ergonomically correct:

                   -Height of your workspace

                   -Chair; height of the seat, arm, and hand position

                   -Height of your computer monitor

         3. Lighting is a factor that is often overlooked in a home office.

Natural light is wonderful for so many reasons and if you have natural light in your room, be sure to make the best use of it! Natural light lifts our mood and a bird feeder outside a window can add so much enjoyment as we observe our winged friends throughout the day. Do be aware, however, that a bright window in the wrong location relative to your computer can cause a problem during those important Zoom meetings.

Aside from any natural light you may have, be sure you have adequate lighting from overhead lights and lamps. Additional lights for your online video meetings and classes may be needed as well.

         4. Consider how much desk area you need.

Do you need room on your desk for books or other resource material? Room to take notes by hand or on a device other than your computer? If so, be sure your desktop is large enough. If you don’t need that additional space, a smaller desk space can help prevent clutter as it forces you to deal with items rather than stack them on the flat surface.

         5. Design the space behind you that is visible in video meetings and classes.

There are virtual options which will create a pleasant background for your video meetings but it’s easy to design your space so that it looks great and provides space you will utilize. One option that is lovely is to have a bookcase behind you that is decorated in such a way as to create a nice background. You can use lower shelves for organization and storage of needed items. In lieu of that, a favorite piece of artwork can be beautiful as a background. A large world map or other similar item that a student needs as a resource works well for an educational space.

         6. Add any additional drawer/shelf space or file drawers that you may need for organization of your school or work. Adequate space to keep everything organized is key for ongoing, consistent productivity and enjoyment of your home office.

         7. Give your space personality and beauty.

Make your office/school space your own! Some ways to do this include:

              -Add a conversation area with an area rug and comfortable chairs

              -Bring in art and décor that you love

              -Pull a color palette out of a favorite piece of art in the room and use those colors

                throughout the room in throw pillows on furniture, décor pieces, or throws

Create a space you love and the time you spend working and learning there will be a joy!! 

Quick Fix Decorating

I love changing my home, how about you? No, I don’t mean major makeovers, (although I love that also) but quick fixes that signify a change in seasons, a holiday, or just a need for a visual lift. Of course, we are always limited by that ugly word…budget.

Let’s talk about Five Quick Fix ideas to transform your space in hours instead of weeks.

1. Add an accent paint color.

I don’t mean paint the entire room, but add color on an accent wall, inside a bookcase, or even paint your doors, leaving the trim as it is now. This is not the time to be timid, use a deep value color that really makes a statement. If you are unsure what color would work well for your space, give me a call and we can do a color consult to be sure you will love the change! Also, don't be afraid to just give it a try. Paint is relatively inexpensive and if you should not like it, try again! There's no such thing as failure- you either win or you learn.

2. New pillows or covers. 

Find some fun new pillows or covers to add life to your pillows. If you enjoy a good DIY visit your local fabric store and buy a variety of fabrics to mix and match. Sew a simple square and slide over existing pillow. Can’t sew? Use iron on fusible bonding or even hot glue. For the very best results and to use your pillow covers long into the future, only purchase or make covers which have a zipper or other means of removing them so you can wash them. Also, buy covers that are smaller than your inserts. This will keep you pillows looking full and beautiful! Add one or two down or down-mix pillows for an elevated look. Use the chop technique on them to change the line. Simply hold your hand above the pillow and bring it down to the middle with a quick chop that would make the Karate Kid proud.

3. Change the Botanicals. 

Plant and organic materials are back in a big way. Whether your preference is real or faux, simply get the best quality your budget can afford. ( An important note-if you are purchasing live plants be sure the light where you want them will be correct for the type of plant you are purchasing. A plant that is on its deathbed doesn't do a thing for your space.  ) Place them in interesting and unique containers from vintage to brand new. Consider what Mother Nature is doing outside and let your inside reflect a similar feel.

4. Rearrange the Room. 

Nothing can change the feel of a room more quickly than simple rearranging. Change the focal point from fireplace to outdoors or a great piece of art in the room. Remember to take into account the traffic patterns as well as function of the room. Want some extra help? Ask about our One Day Decorating service.

5. Get Creative with Clutter.

Nothing can make your home feel more tired than clutter. Sadly, we often quit seeing it and don’t realize how much it is impacting our space. First, if you got on the open shelving train, stop and take a really good look at them. Chances are they are messy, with dishes one wouldn’t typically showcase. Purchase some oversize bowls, tureens, or platters and make a statement. Add a wood board for warmth. Then add some storage baskets for style and function. Larger statement items provide style without adding a busy, cluttered look. Don't forget to add items with texture!

I hope I have inspired you to make some quick fixes in your home. If you would like some help to create a space you love, schedule a free discovery call with me. We can get better acquainted and I can learn about your space and share how I can help! Click here to go to my scheduling app.

Until next time, here's to creating a home you love!

Decor Mistakes to Avoid

Creating a beautiful home is about so much more than a beautiful piece of art or a great chair. It is like making a great family recipe, it stirs the emotions, triggers memories, and makes you feel warm and cozy. It takes more than buying a great lamp or a fabulous chair. Before you go shopping, let’s explore three common decorating mistakes and how to avoid them.

     1. Not Defining your Personal Style

How many times have you watched a show on television and thought you finally knew how your home should look? But then you go shopping and suddenly you are looking at Glam when you went shopping for Farmhouse? Perhaps Transitional was your jam but then you see a fabulous contemporary sofa…and you are down another rabbit hole.

So how do you narrow the focus and make smart decisions? Take the time to create a Pinterest Board!

Take some time, pour yourself a favorite beverage and pin with abandon! Search for the type of room you are planning to decorate. Pin rooms that you like the overall look of or that have elements that you think you would like. This is not the time to overthink this or over analyze. See a sofa style you like? Pin it. Beautiful rug? Pin.

After you have a board full of beautiful rooms, go back and look for commonalities. For example, sofas with rounded arms, curved legs on chairs, dark painted walls, and so on. Do not worry about defining a clear style, it is the elements that make up the style that matters most. They are the things that will make a room feel like home. 

2. Do not get sucked into a theme.

Whether you love coastal, western, or whatever other theme you can think of, do not create a predictable room filled with all the cliché elements of that theme. Allow yourself to be theme inspired…not theme driven. For example, if your theme is coastal, this may inspire a color palette not a wall of sea shell art.

     3. Do not forget function and comfort

Rooms aren’t just made for looking, they are made for living. As you build your room, keep in mind that the aesthetics can only go so far. Every space needs a place that allows for comfortable relaxing, a place to set down a beverage and your tablet. Be sure your space will be the place you want to be to relax and enjoy life with your people.

Bonus Tip: Do not be afraid to hire a professional like me to help you take your room to the next level. A free Discovery call is a great way to get acquainted and learn what resources are available to you are you work to create a home you love.

Spring Decorating

Spring is here!!

Mother Nature has done it again, she is unleashing spring in all its glory. Not only are we appreciating the visual changes, even the air feels refreshed. We are ready to enjoy longer days and the promise of summer. Let’s talk about some ways to give your home a spring refresh.

1. Start the Spring Cleaning. Open the windows, wash all the bed linens and if you can, hang them outside to dry. Nothing smells better than air dried sheets and bedding.

2. Add a fresh color to your exterior door. This is such a simple way to give your house fresh curb appeal and a bow to the season.

3. Now that the door is painted, freshen up your entry porch with a new welcome rug, a spring wreath for the door, and some fresh cushions for a chair or two.

4. Inside, it is time to change out your botanicals and florals to reflect the season. Fresh or faux, purchase the best you can afford.

5. Swap out area rugs for sisal or a woven rug.

6. Change sofa pillows and throws for lightweight ones to remove some of that winter weight.

7. Change your major art piece in a room for a floral or landscape that gives you a touch of color or whimsy. We personally love to change some of our art with each season.

8. If everything has not blossomed in your yard yet, simply cut some branches to bring inside and force the blooms. Most will root in the water and can be planted after the blooms are all gone.

9. Refresh your bookcases with self-stick wallpaper on the back wall. Try arranging your books by color. It's a fun visual change!

10. Get outside and enjoy! We have just experienced one of the most restrictive and limiting years in our history. Go wave to the neighbors, sit on your porch, and enjoy the new season.