How to Set Up an Efficient Home Office Space

Setting up a comfortable, functional home office is so much more than just clearing a place for your laptop and pulling up a chair. No pressure, but if you get it right, you’ll be able to work more productively, feel better at the end of the day, and maybe, just maybe look forward to going to work each day.

Whether you are working from home exclusively, have a hybrid work arrangement, or just need a place to work on your side hustle or studies, creating a space that works for you means taking some important things, like infrastructure and safety, into consideration. Here are some things to think about when setting up or reconfiguring your home office space:

Choose a Dedicated Space

The two main things you’ll need are privacy and quiet. In an ideal situation, a spare bedroom or den can be converted into an office. Failing that, you could carve some space out of a dining room, kitchen nook, or media room, just so long as they are not high-traffic areas during work hours, and you can perform your tasks without being interrupted.

Focus on Furniture and Layout

At the very least, you’ll need a sturdy work surface and a comfortable chair—and by “comfortable,” we mean comfortable for long periods of sitting. Depending on the kind of work you do, you might also need a filing cabinet, and bookshelf or storage cabinet.

No matter which pieces you need, though, we encourage you to try your furniture set-up for a couple of days before committing to an arrangement to make sure it’s ergonomic, comfortable, and efficient.

Desk: Will you need room for just a laptop and mouse? Or do you have a large monitor, a keyboard, a phone, and a notebook? Do you ever spread-out papers, books, or binders? Choose a desk with a worksurface big enough to accommodate your things without having to constantly shuffle or reorganize.

If you have the room, L-shaped desks are especially good for multi-tasking, because you can easily switch from one task to another by simply swiveling your chair. They also make terrific natural room dividers for multi-functional and shared spaces.

Another great ergonomic option for the home office is a standing desk. The Aldwin has a cool industrial look and a hidden mechanism that lets you go from seated to standing whenever you need to stretch your legs.

To keep your workspace organized and tidy, choose a desk with drawers or use a separate unit for holding office supplies and paperwork. An end table with doors or drawers is a great storage solution that won’t look too “office-y” if you have a mixed-use space or decide to reconfigure later. The Bolanburg table above has an outlet and two USB charging ports hidden in its top, making it a true multitasker.

Chair: Your chair is one of the most important pieces of office furniture, so invest wisely. Look for an adjustable chair with lumbar support, comfortable padding, and sufficient seat depth and width (especially if you are above or below average height). You’ll want to make sure, too, that it is stable and has smooth gliding casters and swivel mechanism.

Bookcase: Bookcases serve a couple functions: the first is to hold all your papers and books, and the second is to display personal items, mementos, and awards. Some, like the Tyler Creek Bookcase, even give you the option to keep the less attractive stuff tucked neatly out of sight behind doors.

Storage cabinet: A low storage cabinet or credenza, like the Kerrings above, is the perfect solution for hiding oodles of paperwork—even when your office space is in plain sight. The top is wide enough to hold a small printer or tuck it inside and take advantage of the built-in cable ports for a completely incognito look.

Comfy seating: Taking a break from your office chair once in a while is not only encouraged, it’s recommended. In addition to short walks to stretch your legs, you might want to switch to a comfy chair or loveseat to take a call or read through a report. (We won’t tell if you sneak in a short nap once in a while.)

Consider Infrastructure and Equipment

When you think about it, the reason office spaces function so well for work is they were designed with work in mind—your home probably wasn’t. From lighting to ventilation, to power outlets in just the right places, office designers know what it takes to keep workers safe and productive.

Lighting: In almost all bedrooms and dining rooms, the lighting is inadequate for most work tasks, which can cause eye strain, fatigue, and neck or back pain. If it’s not possible to add additional overhead lights, use uplights to bounce light onto the ceiling and provide better general light throughout the room. To eliminate shadows on your work and help you see what you’re working on, add a desk lamp or task light that fully illuminates your workstation.

Power: Wall outlets in bedrooms weren’t designed to power five or six pieces of equipment each, but that’s what we ask of them when we plug everything into one power strip. Always avoid overloading your outlets and, whenever possible, look for pieces that do double- or triple-duty, like a desk lamp that charges your devices or an all-in-one printer/copier/scanner.

A common complaint of offices is that they’re too cold, but in reality, that’s much better for alertness and productivity than being too hot. Office equipment tends to generate heat֫—get a lot of it in a small space and the temperature will creep up into the uncomfortable zone.

If your home office lacks good ventilation, consider adding a fan near the entrance to encourage air circulation, and open a window whenever possible to bring in fresh outside air. A portable or window air conditioner will make summer workdays a lot more bearable in homes without central air, as well.

Make it Yours

Finally, don’t forget to personalize your space with paint, artwork, photographs, plants, and items that inspire you. Use your favourite colour palette and make the space truly reflect your personality. Not only will you feel better while you’re working, you’ll be excited to start your day in a comfortable and stylish space.

Let's Take This to the Next Level

No matter how much space you have to dedicate to your home office, we hope you’ve found our tips helpful. Discover our full selection of home office furniture, lighting, and accents online, or visit our in-store furniture experts today.

Don’t forget—you can book an appointment at your local store for a relaxed, no-pressure shopping experience with a dedicated sales professional who can help you find the perfect pieces for your home office or study space.