Chances are that most people didn’t think twice about their home office at the beginning of 2020 (or even have one, for that matter). But with two-thirds of businesses anticipating permanent or long-term remote work conditions due to the coronavirus pandemic, 2021’s hottest interior design trends are all about revamping your home office aesthetic. Whether you’re turning a spare bedroom into your nine-to-five workspace or trying to squeeze a desk into the corner of your studio apartment, there are plenty of ways to create a cozy, comfortable and productive nook that can actually improve your work-life balance and help you get sh*t done. Here, we’re sharing some of our favorite modern home office trends to jumpstart your creativity and help you create your dream home office.
1. Mid-Century Is Here to Stay
Before working remotely became the “new normal,” home was often a place where people could forget about work. The less space devoted to corporate life, the better. Now that bedrooms are half-bedrooms and half-offices, the question becomes: how do you maximize your space in a way that’s stylish and non-intrusive to your personal life?
Cue mid-century home office furniture. Popular in the 1950s and ‘60s, mid-century modern experienced a resurgence in the late ‘90s and has become an aesthetic staple of millennials. What makes it so attractive is its functionality, sleekness and small physical footprint — perfect for people living in small spaces. According to Modsy, an online furniture brand, mid-century is still its top-ranked style, and popularity has even grown 14 percent this year alone. You don’t need a big budget to deck your space out with mid-century decor — consider sprucing up IKEA pieces or heading to your local thrift store instead.
2. Good Lighting — Lots of It
Though it’s not a physical piece of furniture, lighting is one of the most important considerations of your home office. In fact, the quality of your lighting not only affects productivity, but can even lead to headaches, eyestrain and more. Natural light reigns supreme: if you have a window in your room, consider placing your desk in front of or beside it, since having a window behind your desk can create an annoying glare on your screen.
Of course, natural light is fickle — particularly when it’s rainy or during the winter, when the sun sets early — so it’s important to have a few plug-in light sources as well. A standing lamp can create brightness for your whole room, while a desk lamp can provide the perfect well-defined beam for high-focus tasks. As the designer Stacey Cohen has noted, be sure to choose white light over yellow light — “cooler, more bluish-white light can improve alertness and lower melatonin, which in turn reduces fatigue.”
For added coziness (especially on dreary days), keep a few candles by your workspace. Though candles are usually banned in shared offices because they’re a fire hazard, you’re in control of your own space now!
3. Make a Closet Office, a.k.a. “Cloffice”
The closet office, or “cloffice,” is the perfect example of how even the smallest spaces can multitask to serve your needs. If you’re low on square footage or want to keep your workspace in a contained part of your room (we get it — a desk and office chair can throw off your bedroom vibes), a cloffice can be the perfect solution. Whether you have an underutilized walk-in closet or a small bedroom reach-in, there are plenty of ways you can turn it into a workspace. Check out how Brooke Christen turned her friend’s tiny closet into a gorgeous office nook by removing all existing shelving, adding some flair to the walls, and installing strategic shelving and lighting. For a more detailed breakdown of all the materials you’ll need to attain peak #clofficegoals, check out this blog.
4. Find Your Corporate Zen
A study run by the American Psychological Association has found that stress has increased significantly this year — but you probably didn’t need us to tell you that. Staying sane while working from home can be a challenge without your office buddies there to keep you company or listen to you vent, but now you can create your own home office zen. Whether that means a stash of your favorite snacks, a tiny sand garden, an indoor zen fountain, or your yoga mat and zafu, you can keep your destressing go-tos at arm’s reach.
5. Prioritize Comfort and Coziness
Remember, you’re at home now. You don’t have to put up with the stiff, hardback chair or clunky desk your office manager ordered. As you design your home workspace, prioritize your own comfort and coziness — it’ll help you be more productive and take some of the edge off your day-to-day stress and tasks. Add touches that personalize your workspace and make it feel cohesive with the rest of your bedroom or home: cork boards with your favorite photos, colorful pillows for back support and blankets to wrap around your shoulders while you fire off some emails. If you have room, sneak a beanbag in the corner of your room for moments when you want to get away from your chair. Making your desk area comfortable can help prevent you from heading straight for the bed (a.k.a., your productivity graveyard) when you’re on a break.
6. Use Vertical Space for Function and Fun
Vertical space is your best friend. It doesn’t matter if you have an entire room for your home office or just a corner of one — you can clear up a significant amount of floorspace by investing in some DIY storage hacks like wall shelves, hanging file folders, rods with hooks and modular units. Wall organization systems can keep your office supplies, papers, and other materials close at hand and off the ground, making it easier to walk around your room and giving your space a less cluttered look.
7. Plants (and Plants and Plants)
You don’t need an indoor jungle to experience the benefits of having a bit of green in your modern home office space. In addition to removing up to 87 percent of air toxins within 24 hours, having a few plant friends close at hand can increase humidity levels, reduce stress and boost your mood. A study even showed that plants can improve your productivity by 15 percent! From the popular snake plant to aloe to lucky bamboo, there are plenty of medium-to-low-maintenance plants that thrive indoors and can add a fresh, vibrant accent to your space. You can even hang air plants from ceiling hooks if you’re in particularly cramped quarters.
8. Removable Wallpaper
If working from home is in your long-term future, it’s nice to plan for the occasional change in your home office style. Whether you’re due for a seasonal shift in color palette or in the mood for an exciting new pattern you found on Pinterest, having removable wallpaper is an easy peel-and-stick solution with endless design possibilities that also removes the hassle and commitment of actual wallpaper. Check out the Spruce for its list of the 12 best removable wallpapers for your home.
A home office makeover is a great way to wrap up 2020 (thank goodness it’s almost over) and set up a successful 2021. For more insights on how to organize your home and optimize your space, check out our blog.