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Five Mistakes to Avoid When Setting Up Your Home Workspace

Pottery Barn Teen white campaign style desk with brass-gold hardware. Dusty pink velvet swivel desk chair with brass feet. Mauve wallpaper with white floating shelves decorated with a plant and other brass styling. Cork and marker organisation set off to the left on the wall. Brass and opaque task lighting sconce.

Image Source | Pottery Barn Teen

After two months in isolation, you’re probably wondering how the world will look when we come out of the pandemic, and whether changes to the workplace will stick. With an increase in the amount of jobs being done from home, chances are you’ll see more of this trend in the future. Now is the perfect time to set up your home workspace to be both functional and stylish! While there’s plenty of tips and tricks in my home office article, it’s time to look at what pitfalls to avoid when setting up your home workspace.

1. Not Having a Dedicated Work Zone

Beautiful home office with mid centruy desk chair, a living edge timber desk with an open book laying on top. Victorian-era crown moulding. Old fashion radiator. Light coming from a window behind the desk. Mid Century storage console to the right. Tree branches in vase. Abstract art on the wall. Bohemian persian rug on golden timber floors.

Image Source | Ashe Leandro

When I first started working from home, it was easy to set up at the dining room table, or even on the couch. But as time went on, I realised the importance of having a dedicated space for my work. Make sure you find a way to separate your workspace from the rest of the house - utilise a spare room if you have one, or even make use of a room divider or curtain. By separating your workspace from the rest of your home you’ll find you’re not only more productive during the day, but that you’re also able to ‘shut down’ when it’s time to clock off.

2. Organising Your Space Carelessly

At home art or design studio with late twenties blond woman painting at an easel. Desk is sat against the wall beneath a steel-framed wall. Mood board on adjacent wall to provide inspiration. Dark charcoal tile flooring and exposed ceiling beams.

Image Source | WOO Design

It’s easy to think that setting up your home workspace is just putting a desk in the corner and calling it done. While I’m no feng shui master, setting up your workspace with the right furniture in the right place definitely has its perks. My number one tip is to go towards the light - make sure your desk is near a window, where natural light can fall through. Think about other furniture and fixtures to include in your space, whether it be a mood board on an adjacent wall, or a couch in the corner. And please, please invest in a quality office chair - your back can thank me for it later!

3. Not Maximising Storage Space

Contemporary office space with mid-century  brass armchair and timber pedestal style side table. Behind chair is a modern brass and timber custom built-in bookcase adorned with books, magazines, vases and other contemporary decorative objects. A shiny light timber floor is layered with a geometric rug.

Image Source | Micucci Interiors

If you’re anything like me, leaving mountains of paperwork on your desk is second nature. But having allocated storage space for every item will help keep you organised, and make tidying your workspace easy breezy. Optimise the space you have and consider what storage meets your needs best - it could be a set of drawers, a filing cabinet, a bookshelf, or even a wardrobe. Choose products that fit your space well without cramming anything in.

4. Overcomplicating Your Design

Light and bright office space with window day bed with dusty pink and grey throw cushions. White campaign style desk with brass hardware on the drawers with a grey fabric covered desk chair and brass floating shelves hanging on the grey wall above. On the side wall there is a daybed-to-ceiling bookcase filled with books. The window is black and has a custom white with black trim and tassel roman shade. Parquet chevron oak floors.

Image Source | Leyla Kamalova

One of the biggest mistakes when setting up your workspace from home is overcomplicating your design. While it’s fun to include your favourite colours, functionality takes precedence over style. Choose a neutral colour palette that’s not too distracting and avoid unnecessary items that clutter the space and mind. If you’re dying for some colour, add small amounts as you accessorise with just one or two tones. A neutral workspace is both timelessly classy, while also allowing practicality to take priority.

5. Overuse or Underuse of Personal Items

Grey custom built-in desk surrounded by stylish open shelving with vases, books and other decorative objects. Shaker cabinets at the bottom with brass hardware. The desk chair is a deep blue velvet with the added touch of a brass handle on the back to match its brass mid-century legs. On the grey wall in front of the desk is a pop art portrait of a skinny blonde lady likely from the 1960s with a brass library lamp mounted above to showcase the art work. On the adjacent window is a white and grey modern plaid patterned window shade. On the floor is a light oak timber layered with a white animal hide rug.

Image Source | Monika Hibbs

Although we don’t want to overdo your accessories, it’s also important that you add your own personal touch to your workspace. Whether it be your favourite indoor plant, or a photo of a loved one, adding personal effects to your workspace gives it that homey feeling. However, don’t fall into the trap of adding too many personal items to your space. Sure, it’s cute to have your child’s latest drawing on the wall, but if you add drawing after drawing your space will soon look more like a pre-school room than a functional workspace. Thoughtfully choose items you most cherish to put on show, and keep the others elsewhere in your house.

After you’ve set up your workspace, take stock and learn to appreciate the perks of working from home - life may be different in the face of COVID-19, but I know I wasn’t allowed a dog in my office 24/7 before! If you’re one of the essential workers who isn’t able to work from home, please make sure to give yourself some extra pampering - if a home office isn’t on the cards, maybe a self-care station is! And, if you have a loved one in your life who needs some extra love, be sure to check out our gift guide for the perfect ‘just because’ present.

How has your work life changed due to COVID-19? Let me know what you’re doing to create the perfect home workspace!

Need some help settling into your home workspace for the long haul? We're here to help!

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