Setting up a home office doesn't have to be a headache.
In this day and age, more and more professionals are changing their workspace scenery – rather than operating out of a corporate office, they're choosing to work from home. If you're ready to make this switch, the first thing you'll need is a designated office or office space. In this guide, we'll walk you through what you'll need to put together a home office setup.
Before You Begin
The very first step in creating your home office setup is to choose a room to transform into your office or designate an area of your home as your office space. If you need quiet to work, set up your office space in a room with a lockable door. Look for a room or an area away from the main living space in your home. This way, you can separate yourself from noisy interruptions and focus solely on your work.
Other than the basic requirements of a desk and chair, home office setups don't have to take up a lot of space. Almost any corner of your home can become a home office. Keep an eye out for low-traffic areas of your home that can become a home office haven.
Home Office Setup Essentials
Making note of all the essential furniture pieces and fixtures you'll need will help you formulate the best home office layout. Before you shop, familiarize yourself with home office setup must-haves and their setup requirements.
A desk is a necessity in a fully functional home office space. Though many desk options are certainly on the larger side, there are a wide variety of space-saving desk options that will fit beautifully into smaller home office setups.
Position: In smaller office spaces, placing your desk directly against a wall might be the best bet. If your home office space is larger, you can place your desk closer to the center of the room. It's common practice to position a desk so that you're facing the door while you sit – this allows you to see anyone who enters. If you don't have a room designated as your office space, placing a leaning desk (like a ladder desk or secretary desk) against a wall in a common space is perfectly suitable.
Other Requirements: If you work with electronic devices, it's a good idea to position your desk near electrical outlets. Some desk styles don't come with much (or any) built-in storage space, so keep that feature in mind if you work with a lot of materials that need to be kept neat, tidy, and close-at-hand.
Tip! If you like standing throughout the workday, choose a height-adjustable desk that allows you to sit or stand.
Office Chair Because you'll be sitting in it for hours at a time, an office chair must be comfortable and ergonomic. There is no standard office chair height – the perfect office chair for you will allow you to sit with your knees bent at exactly 90° and your feet flat on the ground. If you can't find an office chair height that perfectly accommodates your body, look for a height-adjustable chair that will allow you to position it at the optimal height.
Position: Naturally, your office chair should be positioned facing your office desk. If you already have a desk, be sure to measure its height so you can find an office chair that will leave you with enough leg room.
Other Requirements: Keep your comfort in mind! Office chairs are available with a few additional positioning features (including swivel and reclining features), as well as ergonomic features (particularly lumbar support). For smaller home office setups, pair your desk with a stylish side chair without wheels – this will add polish to your home office setup's finished look and keep you secure in place while you work.
Tip! If you're thinking about a rolling chair, you may also want a chair mat. A chair mat will protect your floor from spills and scuff marks, and will make it easier to roll your chair. If your chair sits on a carpet, you have to strain much harder to roll your chair, which results in back pain. A chair mat will make it easier to roll and remove the risk of straining and back injury. Chair mats also reduce static electricity, which can be potentially harmful to electronic devices like your computer.
Storage Depending on your work needs, you may need storage solutions beyond the drawers or cabinets included in some desk options. If you need somewhere to store books and magazines or somewhere to display decorative objects, consider a bookcase. If you need a heftier storage solution, consider a large storage cabinet. For smaller and more decorative storage solutions, opt for stylish storage containers including bins, baskets, and buckets that can hold blueprints and office supplies.
Position: Larger units, like office bookcases and storage cabinets, require a decent amount of space. Some bookcases are stackable. Tall bookcases and storage cabinets look great situated in the corner of the room. Keep in mind the space required by drawers and swinging cabinet doors – be sure not to place other objects in areas that would obstruct the opening of your home office setup's storage units.
Organization Staying organized in your home office will help you keep on top of your work and keep your office space clean. Storing files and documents in drawers may not be ideal for organization – instead, opt for a filing cabinet. If your desk doesn't have storage options included, choose a desktop organizer. If you have many devices that require charging access, think about installing a few cable management solutions in your home office setup.
Position: If you need to keep your papers within reach, position your filing cabinet alongside your desk. Some filing cabinets can be stacked atop each other. You should adhere to safety suggestions when doing so – do not stack more than two filing cabinets and be sure to use some kind of adhesive (magnetic or otherwise) to ensure the stack is secure.
Lighting Good lighting is very important in any office space, especially during the colder months when daylight may be limited. If the desk you choose has the space, go with a classic desk lamp. If not, a stylish floor lamp directed toward your workstation will do the job just as well. If you want to take on a more involved light installation, think about installing a gorgeous pendant light or track light above your desk.
Position: Nearby outlets are essential to a well-positioned light fixture. If you're positioning a floor lamp or installing track lighting, be sure the lights on the fixture you choose can be angled toward your work surface.
Other Requirements: To minimize glare, look for task lighting fixtures that emit a focused beam of light. It's a good idea to shop for light bulbs with lower wattages than those you'd use for your everyday household lighting.
Additional Seating If you plan on meeting with clients or other personnel in your home office, it's essential that you include additional comfortable seating options in your space. If you want to make a good impression on guests, choose comfortable upholstered chairs that are a bit more decorative than the average desk chair.
Position: The most natural position for additional seating is facing your desk opposite your desk chair. Because many desk bases are closed on the side opposite the desk chair, it's a good idea to place additional chairs a foot or two away from the desk to ensure enough leg room. If you're placing more than one chair, be sure to keep them a couple feet apart and angle them so that their occupants would naturally face you when seated.
Additional Considerations If you work with a printer, a printer stand can help you keep your desk from getting cluttered and provide a bit more storage space.
Windows, while they can provide much-needed natural light, can also produce unsightly glare on screens. Be sure to equip your home office setup with curtains when you need to block out that glare.
Keep your back straight by elevating your computer on a monitor stand or riser. If you work with multiple monitors, think about mounting them on computer mounts.
If you're tight on space, check out our selection of small office furniture and decor solutions including small desks, small desk chairs, and corner bookcases.
Decorate! You may be putting together an office, but it is a home office – you can embellish it however you please. Think artificial plants or flowers, decorative objects, wall art, and more.