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Interior Design & Decor

Top Tips for Creating a Functional Home Office

Top Tips for Creating a Functional Home Office

Home offices are here to stay. Since this unique space has so much to offer, why not make the most of it? A home office doesn’t only provide a dedicated workspace – although that may be its primary purpose – this area could double as a craft room or spare bedroom, an area to read or do a crossword puzzle, or a comfy space to have a video call with friends. No matter the size of the space, use Pat Noble Lumber’s home office hacks to inspire your home office makeover.

The Essentials

Home offices are primarily used to work in. Whether it’s an employee working from home, a self-employed professional, or a hobbyist’s workspace for projects, a home office needs a few basic features: a surface for a desk, shelves or storage, lighting, and personal touches. These essentials are all top priority when designing a home office.

Desks & Surfaces

People need a dedicated and functional surface to work at. Desks are where you spend most of your time, so this surface should be considered very carefully. Every type of desk will have its benefits and drawbacks and offer different levels of functionality. Research different surfaces and give thought to what types will work best in this space, always considering which desk will optimize workflow. Give thought to style and material, placement in the office, and features of a desk.

Some types of desks and surfaces could be:

  • Standing desk
  • Mobile laptop desk
  • Custom built-in desk
  • Fold-down desk - great for small spaces!
  • L-shaped corner desk
  • Height-adjustable desks
  • Repurposed desk
  • Live-edge wood desk
  • Old door desk with glass top

Although convenient, fast furniture is not made to last and ends up in landfills quickly, so avoid fast furniture if possible and think of alternative ideas for a desk. Explore flea markets and online marketplaces for previously loved pieces that can be repurposed. Create a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture by refinishing and replacing hardware.

Cut the Desk to Fit a Space

A custom desktop shouldn’t just fit the space perfectly, it’s the main focus of the office and should reflect personal style and thoughtful design. Find the perfect piece of lumber or countertop for a custom desk at a local lumber yard. Different wood types could work for a desktop, including live edge wood, maple or birch plywood, reclaimed wood, pine, and dimensional lumber.

Building a custom desk is a great DIY project that a beginner can do. This project can be completed using basic power tools and supplies found at a hardware store. When designing the desk, plan for storage like cabinets, drawers or bookshelves.

Shelves & Storage

An essential feature of a workspace, shelves and storage play a large role in a home office. They lend a hand to the design and style of a room and provide space for keeping your things.

Shelves generally take up vertical space or even just wall space, making them a great space saver, especially if the home office is small. Add bins and containers to store small items together and keep them out of sight. Here are some types of shelves to incorporate into a home office:

  • Floating shelves
  • Bookcase shelves
  • Mounted display cabinet shelves
  • Layer wall-mounted shelves with brackets
  • Shelves using standards & brackets
  • Custom built-in shelves
  • Shelf units

Storage solutions are vital to minimizing visual clutter. Add easy-access drawers underneath the desk, attach a pegboard to the wall and mount a wall organizer. Think outside the box and consider alternative storage ideas that don’t come in a box such as custom built-in bookshelves or refinished antique pieces.

Many easy DIY projects repurpose old items like covering an old can in burlap and ribbon to create rustic pencil holders or using a garden trellis and clothespins to hang paper and pictures.

Build a Printing Station

A designated area for printing is an efficient way to organize your printer and supplies. Having everything together will be a great help when you are looking for something, and will keep workflow on track. Hide power cords and create a printing station using a cabinet, bookshelf or cart. This station can also be used to store more than just printing supplies. Craft items, small equipment, files, art supplies and loose cords can also be kept in this area.


It’s a good idea to incorporate more light, even if the room allows natural light in or there are overhead fixtures. Lighting should be ambient and indirect. Add a task light at the desk or floor lamp for a reading nook. Consider using spectrum bulbs to mimic the sun and to control the colour temperature of the light. A selfie ring light for video calls is also a good addition to a home office.

Grow Plants With a Grow Light

Plants are known to reduce stress and increase productivity, so it’s obvious that they are a home office must-have. Since plants need light to thrive, light up a home office using a grow light and bring a little green to the space. Take it a step further and grow herbs or vegetable plants in pots all year long.

Unique Touches

Since productivity and healthy well-being are the goals of having a home office, the best way to create a space of optimal functionality is to customize it based on your (or your family’s) personality and interests. Personal touches could be as simple as adding colour to the space by painting an accent wall, having a bright piece of furniture or artwork, or laying an area rug. Show off your style and design by:

  • Hanging pictures of things that bring you joy
  • Mixing old with the new by repurposing furniture and decor items
  • Using the ceiling – hang a hammock chair, plant holders, or add a ceiling fan
  • Adding faux flowers or plants
  • Putting up wallpaper
  • Creating a small library
  • Using aromas
  • Adding sport team memorabilia or favourite movie posters
  • Having a way to play music

An office chair is a personal choice. There are so many different styles and types available. A chair should be comfortable and ergonomic. It's worth investing in a quality chair to prevent long-term back strain. Try testing a chair before taking it home.

DIY Quick-Change Frames

Display special artwork made by your child artist, or creative art prints with the ability to easily change out the picture from the front. Swapping art in and out is a breeze. Repurpose an old frame or build a custom frame by using basic tools and supplies.

A home office should boost your productivity, be a tranquil space to focus, and be an enjoyable space in your home. Speak with one of our team members here at Pat Noble Lumber and we can help you get started on your home office makeover.

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