Spaces have the capability to inspire us, heal our pain, calm our nerves, and connect us with one another. The environment we create for ourselves is a tangible representation of who we are and what we value. Workspaces are no different and in most professions, especially creative ones, it can highly foster or dampen the magic that happens inside. Top innovation companies pour millions into the aesthetic of their offices, so their employees can be more productive. When working remotely, you have the rare power to design your own workspace – which directly influences what moves you. This can either feel exhilarating or daunting, depending on your experience. But having a workspace that moves you is important. It can be the difference between launching an iconic campaign and falling short of launching all together.
In this article, I will share the 5 basic steps I took while creating my own home workspace and some tips on how you can create your own. No designer skills required.
1. Location, Location, Location
If a separate office or door doesn’t already exist, build one. Why not? That’s what YouTube is for. This couple built their entire off-the-grid container house without any trained experience. In our case, we moved our oldest son into what used to be our shared family office and split the boys’ old shared room in half. One half for our youngest son, and the other half for mommy.
If neither you nor your partner possess the skills to attempt something similar, I would urge you to try anyways because you might surprise yourself. If you’re completely allergic to the idea of having your own office is just not currently possible, find a quiet corner of your home where you can concentrate during work hours. Don’t worry, you will eventually be able to make your way into your own office one day like I did. It took me 5 years before it became a necessity.
2: Gather Inspiration (aka Pinterest)
Pinterest can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to search for. Start by making a list of all the traits you admire about offices. Now list all the ways you want to feel while inside it along with all the built-in traits it currently possesses (windows, wood floors, etc). Amuse yourself. Those are your starting key search words. For mine, I searched things like minimalistic office, boss lady space, office art, small office space ideas, modern minimal office, office window ideas, bookshelf inspiration, creative office art.
Pin anything and everything you like into a board. After a while, you will start noticing a trend developing for the general look and feel you’re drawn to. Go with it. Explore and let yourself get lost in the Pinterest world for a bit. The more you follow this trend, the more refined your searches become and the more your style solidifies.
3: Start Creating Your Mood Board
Don’t skip this step! It is the most important to make sure every detail you’re adding to your space is aligned with your desired vibe. Even one wrong colored vase or detailed frame can throw it all off. In my case, I used Sketch to create my mood board. You can also use another computer program like Photoshop or just simply good ol’ printed out paper and glue. Essentially, you’re creating a collage version of your future office using all of the real items you’ve been collecting. Start with the items you already own that fit into your defined style. You can take pictures of them, but I prefer to find the actual item (or one similar) online and use the product photo. The good lighting and white backgrounds make your model space cleaner and the colors truer. Don’t worry about making this perfect. It should be used to give you guidance on how each item in your space contributes to the overall look.
Two important things to consider while planning your layout:
When deciding where to put your desk, make sure no windows are going to be directly behind your back. This will cause screen glare while working and make you super dark during video calls. Plus, find a place where you can look outside…that’s why windows are there.
What will your video backdrop be? While working remotely, the only taste of your office that others get to see is what is within the camera view. Make sure it is clean and neutral. Nobody wants to see your unmade bed or messy closet.
4: Invest Wisely & Experiment
Once you have arranged the items you own in their approximate spots, start filling up the rest with things you want to purchase. Keep referring back to your Pinterest vision board so you don’t get off track. They have a shopping tool within the app, but I always find better deals by doing my own store research based on the style of things I pinned. I encourage you to play around with different items from a variety of stores, adding and removing until you get it right. Don’t forget to save everything in your carts or favorites.
Here are the items you should consider when planning and deciding what to purchase, in order of priority:
My station consists of a small, light MacBook Pro that sits eye level on a riser and is connected to a larger screen. I used to get bad headaches from constantly looking down, so have learned that eye-level is a must. Everything is connected to a power surge cord, just in case.
Whatever computer you get, make sure it has a camera for virtual meetings. If it doesn’t, make sure you buy a high-resolution one. I also recommend getting an external hard drive because you can never have enough backups of your work. I have two.
Desk and Chair
Both are equally important. You will be sitting there for at least 8hrs a day, so make sure they are both comfortable and beautiful. (Beto would argue comfort over beauty…but I beg to differ).
It doesn’t matter how many digital tools you have, you will always always have times when you need a regular paper and pen. There is nothing worse then that time coming, and you not having one handy. Paperchase is one of my favorite places to shop for these.
Artwork and Decor
This is my favorite part. Select things that make you happy and motivated. Pick a color palette and stick with it. If you need help, always refer back to Pinterest. I chose a base of white, with black accents and pops of wood, plants, textures, and vibrant color.
5: Enjoy The Process
You have a profession that allows you to work from home and that in itself is something to enjoy. Creating your remote workspace should be a fun benefit of that and any mistakes made along the way can be chalked up to lessons learned. Your environment and office needs will evolve over time, so don’t aspire to “finish” it or make it perfect. If you trust your gut, work hard, and stay true to your natural style, you’ll have a workspace to grow with and inspire you for each stage of your career to come.
Good luck and happy creating!