Working from home is a real treat. Even though I’ve been doing it for more than two years, the novelty never wears off. I know a few freelancers who work from their dining tables or sofas, and others that choose to hot desk or hire out a space in a co-working office. While these are all great options, nothing appeals to me as much as a dedicated home office.
I started working for myself in September 2015 but we didn’t buy our house until the following August (and we couldn’t move in until early 2017 because it needed A LOT of work). So for my first 16 months of freelancing, I was cooped up in our rented home’s ‘box room’, co-working with spare furniture, piles of junk and a rather jarring combination of grey and turquoise paintwork. While our landlord was very relaxed and wouldn’t have minded us redecorating, it seemed silly to invest time and money in a house that didn’t belong to us. I vowed that when we owned our home, I would create an office space that I loved. It didn’t need to be anything fancy – just a small, simple room with some pretty prints and personal touches. And the walls had to be white.
Like most first time buyers, we were on a budget. Fortunately my other half is a joiner and I am happy to spend hours scouring the internet for bargains – a killer combination when decorating a home office, we found! We got most of the materials at trade price and the furniture from IKEA (my desk is actually a basic kitchen worktop, complete with a wood veneer trim to finish it off). We stuck to white and wood throughout, with metallics and pastels thrown in for good measure. I also introduced texture with a silky Roman blind and grey woven chair, ensuring that the office doesn’t feel too cold and flat.
Most of the decorative touches were purchased online, aside from the desk lamp, which I spotted on a trip to TK Maxx. I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted everything to look, so it was easy enough to search for a rose gold picture frames and a simple round wooden clock.
Pinterest proved useful when I needed inspiration for certain areas, such as the gallery wall and single shelf. I saved images into a dedicated ‘Home Office’ board, which I visited regularly to remind myself of items and any recurring themes. I also scoured Instagram and added images to Collections, which I used in the same way. It was handy to have little sources of inspiration and quick reminders when I was shopping.
Of course, while there were so many design ideas that caught my eye, I knew that I should keep my office relatively minimalist. This would make it much easier to clean, as well as helping me focus. I must admit my ‘office trinkets’ collection is continually growing, but I keep certain items on rotation, ensuring the desk is never too cluttered. If I fancy a change, I simply swap items out and store them away in the cupboard.
I’ve talked about the importance of a workplace that works for you before, and it’s particularly relevant for freelancers. When you work from home (and for yourself), it’s tricky to find the right balance. Distractions are aplenty and motivation can lack, so it’s all too easy to fall behind or procrastinate. I certainly notice a difference in productivity if I spend a few hours with my laptop on the sofa! That’s why I’m so glad I created an office space that both inspires me and helps me focus.