Archive for May, 2015

May 28, 2015 7:00 am

Organization Tips for Small Spaces

Keeping a small space organized is not always an easy task. As time goes on clutter tends to pile up but thankfully there are ways you can save yourself from getting buried in it! The great news is, you don’t have to be a professional organizer to climb your way out of the clutter. Here are some quick and easy tips you can use to reduce clutter and organize your small space.

Bedroom:

Professional organizing in the bedroom

Let’s start with the bedroom since it’s the room most prone to clutter. Bedrooms are typically kept private and we tend to fill them with personal decorations and statements that define who we are. It’s also the place where we shove away our clothes, accessories, and endless amounts of items we value as important. Looking at an unorganized bedroom can be incredibly discouraging, but not to worry! There are ways to turn a disaster-zone bedroom into an organized, beautiful sanctuary!

Baskets

Baskets are great for the bedroom. You can buy inexpensive, fancy, and decorative baskets in a variety of colors and materials to help store away extra clothes, blankets, and whatever else needs a new home. Baskets can be stored in the closet, on top of one another against the bedroom wall or even tucked away under the bed!

Drawers

You can put old or discarded dresser drawers under your bed to help store clothes and other items. You can simply slide them in and out or even put small wheels on them to help them move more freely. If your bed is too low for drawers, you can buy inexpensive risers to lift your bed to a better height and make it easier for you to slide away the clutter.

Rolling Rack

Some small bedrooms are not equipped with a closet. Thankfully, rolling racks for hanging clothes are an amazing feature that will help you organize your wardrobe without taking up too much space. Alternatively, you can purchase an inexpensive curtain rod and install it in your bedroom. Whatever you decide, having a place to hang your clothes will definitely help keep the clutter off the floor!

Living Room:

Professional organizing in living room

We all love our living rooms. It’s the room where we can throw our feet up after a long day or entertain guests on a Friday night. You want it to match your style while appearing organized and presentable. This doesn’t need to be a daunting task. You can quickly clean up the clutter with some fun projects that will help turn your living room into the organized space you’ve always wanted.

Floating Shelves

Shelves are a great way to save space in a living room. You can add pictures, decorations, and so much more without adding to the clutter of your space. They take no time to install and are an awesome option when looking to save space and organize your area.

Mirrors

Mirrors have the wonderful effect of making the room appear larger. They reflect light and disperse it around the room to give the appearance it is larger than it really is. Mirrors are not only a beautiful and decorative touch but they definitely increase the design element of a small space.

Book Cases

Book cases are not only for books. You can use the shelved areas to store extra clutter. You can add a beautiful basket to put in items that you’re struggling to find a place for. You can also use them as shelving by mixing books with decorative elements like statues or small framed artwork.

Bathroom:

Professional organizing in bathroom

We all want a clean bathroom. There’s nothing worse than trying to get ready in the morning and being overwhelmed by clutter and mess. Small bathrooms can be difficult to maintain and organize, especially if you’re sharing the space. Luckily, there are ways to avoid the clutter and that add to the design element of your bathroom.

Magnet board

Magnet boards are a really fun way to store your extra items. You can hang this up on your wall and use it to store things such as makeup, beauty products, etc. You can find magnets at the local dollar store and attach them with glue to your items. Then simply stick your items on your board and watch the clutter disappear.

Mason Jars

Mason jars are a fun way to store items that can normally take up a lot of space. Since mason jars are small, you can install a short shelf and line the mason jars on it. You can also line them along your counter if you have space, or under your sink. Mason jars are great for storing items such as cotton balls, cue-tips, toothbrushes, tooth paste, and the list goes on and on.

Hooks

Hooks are essential in a bathroom. You can find them in a variety of stores and they take no time to install. The wonderful thing is, hooks come in all different sizes and styles. You can pick a hook that will help both with clutter and add style to the bathroom! Many people install the hooks on their walls, the inside of cupboard doors and behind the bathroom door.

Kitchen:

Professional organizing for small kitchen

Finally, the kitchen. It is almost impossible to enjoy cooking a meal when you’re constantly tripping over clutter. The easiest way to enjoy cooking and to motivate yourself to do it more is to organize the space to make it easier to use!

Ceiling Rack

You can hang your pots and pans from the ceiling to free up limited cabinet or counter space. This keeps them out of the way and opens up the space for you to store other items. For anyone who’s handy, check out these great DIY ceiling racks from Bob Vila’s blog to give you some cool ideas on how to make your own!

Use a peg board

Peg boards are a great way to store extra kitchen necessities. From spatulas to small pots, you can hang them from the peg board. Keeping them off your counter and out of your drawers frees up that space for other things!

Use recycled items to hold cutlery

In my tiny apartment, I didn’t have the drawer space to store away all my forks and knives. So instead of letting them pile up, I cleaned out some old cans, painted them to my liking and used them to store my cutlery away on the counter. It was a fun project for the afternoon, let me infuse my personality into the space and added to the design element of my kitchen. Using recyclable items can be a great way to cut down on waste as well!

Baskets and Magnets

You can put magnets on baskets and stick them to the side of your fridge. You can use this to store spices, and other small food items that may be causing clutter around the kitchen. Putting them on the side of the fridge will keep it out of sight but still easy to reach.

Clutter doesn’t need to be scary or frustrating. See it as an opportunity to get creative! Organizing clutter can be quick and simple, and really help open up your house or apartment.

Wants to share these de-cluttering tips for small spaces with your friends or family? Use the icons below!


Marketing is used to let potential customers know who you are and what you offer. As a small business owner, your marketing budget will be fairly limited. Not to mention the amount of time you have to spend on your marketing tactics!

Digital Marketing Strategy

Today, we’re going to explore how you can get the most out of your marketing efforts on a limited budget with limited time commitment.

In today’s world, 95% of clients will find you on the Internet. While some small businesses still spend time and money on different “old school” marketing techniques like ads in newspapers or banners outside their shops, a good digital marketing strategy will trump any of those techniques while saving you a ton of cash.

With that in mind, we’re going to focus exclusively at digital marketing today.

#1 – Your Website

While not technically a marketing task, your website design will create a first impression of your business in your clients’ eyes. So before you spend time and money into getting people to your website, you’d better make sure users will have a pleasant experience when they get there!

You can learn more in a previous article: “Building your Website: What you Need to Know”

#2 – Search Engine Optimization

What are some of the top words people will use to find services such as yours?

For a design business, likely they’ll go to Google and type in something along the lines of…

    • “Home Staging services”
    • “Interior Decorator in [your city]”
    • “Best Professional Organizers in town”
    • Etc.
  • These are your business’s top keywords. You want to make sure when people search for those terms, your business shows up on the Google search result’s first page!

    In this short blog article, we won’t cover specific Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. But rest assured, if you take 30 minutes here and there to research and implement keyword research, web page optimization, and link building, it’ll pay off in spades!

    Online research for small business marketing tactics

    #3 – Paid Search

    When you enter a Google search for most products or services, you’ll see at least three results at the top of the page that are marked as “ads” (and there may be many more on the right-hand side of the page, too!)

    Those ads are what’s called Pay-per-Click (or PPC) ads. As the name implies, businesses pay Google when a user clicks on that Ad and goes to their website.

    Though it can be fairly costly depending on your line of business, I encourage you to at least research the basics of PPC ads, and make an informed decision as to whether or not they might be beneficial for your business.

    At the very least, you might want to consider paying for clicks on searches for your brand. Or, if you don’t, make sure your competitors don’t show up on those search terms!

    #4 – Blogging

    Having a blog on your website will allow you to embark on Content Marketing. With more and more consumers turning a blind eye to traditional forms of advertising, you need to offer them content that is useful in order to get their attention.

    With content marketing, you develop content (in this case, blog articles, videos, etc.) that would not normally be found on your website, but are useful to your target customer.

    If you make a point to writing about something you know and love (I hope you’re knowledgeable and passionate about your business!), then blogging shouldn’t take more than about an hour a week.

    For more information on blogging, check out this article: “How to Write a Blog”

    #5 – Social Media

    Once you have good content on your blog, you need a way for potential customers to find it! Enter your social media accounts.

    While there are hundreds of different Social Media channels out there, odds are the majority of your potential customers are present on three or four networks, and that’s where your business needs to be.

    You don’t need to spend hours a week on social media to be successful, but you do need a regular presence, because clients will also use these channels to speak to you, ask you questions and (possibly) lodge complaints. Therefore, you need to be present to converse with these clients.

    With a bit of practice, social media shouldn’t take you more than 15-20 minutes a day, at the most.

    Need more information on social media? Check out this article: “Social Media for Beginners”

    Social Media for small business marketing

    #6 – Email Marketing

    Email marketing can be an effective way of communicating directly with people who want to hear from you. When done right.

    For this type of small business, you’ll want to send out one newsletter every month or two, but no less than that. Including list maintenance and setup, we’re talking maybe two hours of work for email sent.

    However, many small businesses make critical mistakes when they start emailing because they don’t take the time to learn how to do it properly. Before sending out a single email, be sure to read this: “An 8-rule Guide to Email Marketing”

    #7 – Measure Everything!

    Before starting any marketing endeavor, ask yourself this question: “How will I know if it’s successful or not?”

    Be sure you set up whatever tracking you need to find out whether your efforts are paying out, or if you’re just pouring money down the wrong avenue!

    Since we’re talking about digital marketing only, a great place to start is to set up your website analytics. These will help you identify your visitors: who they are, where they come from, and what they do on your website.

    Learn more here: “A Guide to Website Analytics”

    When you combine all the items listed in this article, we’re talking maybe a total of 2-3 hours a week spent on digital marketing efforts. Think about it: is a new customer worth an hour of work? How about two new customers? Or five or six? Or twenty or thirty? When you get comfortable with your marketing, you can expect to see those returns.

    But for now, do yourself a favor and research each of the items above properly. In order for your small business marketing to work, it needs to be done right!

    Have you started marketing your small business? What have you learned from your efforts? Let us know in a comment!


    With the nice weather upon us, more and more people are heading to their backyards to soak up the sun and enjoy the fresh air of the outdoors. This means it’s the perfect time to spice up your outdoor scenery with some inexpensive backyard design ideas. No matter how big or how small your space is, you would be amazed at all the ways you can improve your yard without hurting your budget!

    Patio Furniture:

    One of the first things people will look for when designing their backyard space is patio furniture. You want to be able to sit comfortably and enjoy your space on reliable furniture that fits your taste. Thankfully we have good news! There are ways to find exactly what you are looking for without spending a pretty penny.

    Patio furniture for backyard design ideas

    #1- Check out thrift stores or garage sales

    Hidden treasures are always waiting to be found in thrift stores and garage sales. Turn it into an all-day event or just stop at garage sales when you come across them – you never know what you might find. People often donate or sell their barely used patio furniture which you can grab at a great price! Sometimes these older pieces can really add to the design element of your backyard and give you a desired look you’ve been dreaming of.

    #2- Purchase patio furniture mid-summer or in the off season

    Around mid-summer (end of July roughly) stores begin to bring out their fall and back-to-school inventory. This means all the summer inventory will begin to go on sale. As time goes on the sales discounts will increase so if you don’t mind waiting you can get great prices on your patio furniture. The off season (fall and winter) is where you will find the best deals. If you’re really budget-conscious you may have to sacrifice the current summer season so you can wait for the best sales in the winter. Remember, patience is a virtue!

    #3- Check out online

    Buying used online is a great way to find deals, especially if you’d rather sit at home in your pajamas sipping coffee than pounding the pavement checking out garage sales. Many people have to move suddenly or are downsizing and need to get rid of their furniture fast. Websites such as Ebay, Kijiji, or Craigslist are great for making easy online purchases at a much better price. Stores will often have better sales online than in-store and if you’re lucky, the price may include free shipping.

    Shell windchime

    DIY Accessories:

    Besides patio furniture, you can make a drastic difference to the aesthetic of your outdoor space by accessorizing. Below are some easy and inexpensive ways to accessorize your space!

    DIY Wind Chimes

    This is a fun and easy way to add colour and sound into your backyard space. With a quick trip to your local Dollarstore or craft store, you should be able to find everything you need to bring your wind chime to life. Think of all the varied wind chimes you’ve seen – bottle caps, cutlery, sea shells, keys, colorful pieces of glass, the list goes on and on. If you’re considering creating your own then check out this awesome list from Woohome with 30 DIY projects for wind chimes!

    DIY Outdoor Fire Pit

    Surprisingly, you can make a beautiful fire pit for under $30.00. This one accessory can make a huge difference by adding style, light and warmth to your backyard space. Just think of the gatherings you could have with the campfire smell from the smoke and the sizzling of marshmallows roasting! You can purchase the materials listed below at your local department or hardware store and spend an afternoon building your own fire pit!

    Materials:

    • Marine Silicone
    • Cheap Glass Frames (found at Walmart or any Dollarstore)
    • Small rocks
    • Metal mesh
    • Gel fuel
    • Any metal planter with a lip
  • You can find the full tutorial complete with pictures over at The Art of Doing Stuff! A fire pit is an excellent design element to bring life to your backyard and can be a fantastic center piece when entertaining guests.

    Glow-in-the-Dark Paint for Pots

    This is a fun way to bring light to your back yard space. You can purchase clay pots in a variety of sizes and paint them with glow-in-the-dark paint. The paint is inexpensive-you can find it at Walmart or any craft store for under $10.00- and will light up your flowers in your yard to make a very calm and cooling atmosphere. Plus, if you have kids they will love the glow-in-the-dark effect!

    Koi Pond

    A koi pond is an amazing way to add more nature and wildlife into your back yard space and it doesn’t have to hurt your wallet either. You can be creative with your pond adding whatever features you may like. For example, many people add a rotating pump to get the soothing, babbling sound of running water. Or you could add a waterfall or different varieties of plants to really add to the dynamic of the pond. Whatever you may choose, a koi pond makes for an excellent addition when looking to redesign your backyard space. Check out Home Guides for more instructions on how to make your inexpensive koi pond.

    Koi pond for backyard design ideas

    I hope this list inspires you and if you’re looking for even more ideas, there are many books and magazines you can find that are filled with backyard design ideas. Creating your space can be a fun and exciting process! Whether you’re handy and love to create DIY projects or you’re just hoping for a great sale and an easy setup, there are options out there for everyone!

    Want to pass on these budget-friendly backyard design ideas to your friends? Share this post using the icons below!


    Running a business is always stressful. Sometimes you don’t have some of the securities that are attributed to most employees, like a regular paycheck, paid sick leave or vacation time. It’s especially stressful if you don’t have any employees, since that means if you’re not working the business isn’t making any money. For that reason, it can be very tempting for designers to always be working!

    When we talked about stress management tips we discussed the importance of taking care of oneself, especially business owners! If you let yourself get burned out, you’ll lose focus and you’ll be far less effective at running your business.

    What’s a sure fire way to avoid burnout? Why, taking a vacation, of course!

    Camping

    By planning ahead, a designer can take a stress-free vacation without putting their business at risk! Sound like a good idea? Read on for tips on how this can be done.

    When to take a vacation

    Likely if you take a vacation your business will close during that period of time. So, think ahead and don’t plan a vacation around the busiest time of the year! As an designer, avoid vacations during peak home renovation season, hot home buying/selling season etc. where your services will be most required. If your business has a natural “slow season”, try to schedule a vacation around that time.

    Financials

    Whenever you run your own business, you should pay yourself a set regular salary as the business owner. Additional business income should then go into the company reserve and earmarked for expansion, development and/or emergencies.

    If you follow this formula, you can also permit yourself a week or two of “paid vacation” each year. Financially, this is the most sound way of going about taking a vacation, because it will be factored right into the business budget.

    Lounge by the pool

    Keeping Clients in the Loop

    The vast majority of clients are intelligent, reasonable people. They should understand that as an owner (and sole employee!) of a business, you need time to recharge your batteries sometimes, just as they do.

    Usually if a client becomes frustrated or irritated due to a “temporarily closed” business, it’s likely because a lack of communication from the business owner.

    Be sure to give your clients plenty of notice before you close your business for a vacation:

    As soon as your vacation is scheduled:

    • Inform your current clients that you won’t be available for that period of time. If possible, try to include your vacation in the initial planning of your client’s project. In other words, try to have few (if not zero) items “in the air” while you’re gone. The more you can convince them you’re on top of the design project before you take off, the less stressed they’ll be!

    About a week before closing:

    • Call or email the clients you’re actively working with and remind them that you won’t be available during that week, but they’ll be your #1 priority when you get back;
    • Consider sending an e-mail to your marketing list in case they may try to get in touch with you;
    • Prepare an “out of office reply” for your emails and phone line. In this message, be sure to indicate a date when you will return the person’s message, and honor that date.

    Just before closing:

    • Put a notice front-and-center on your website indicating your business is closed and when it will reopen;
    • Add the same type of notice on your main social media accounts (and “pin” those to the top of your page);
    • Enable your “out of office” messages for your email account and phone line.

    NOTE: When communicating this information with clients, don’t apologize about taking a vacation! Instead, simply own it. Yeah, you deserve a break too and you’re taking it. Clients will be happy for you!

    Now, unplug for real

    Time to Unplug

    Have you ever been on vacation and just couldn’t resist the urge to check your emails? We’ve all done it. But in order to truly benefit from time off, you really do need to turn everything off.
    Trust me, my friends. No one wants to hear this, but your emails will keep. Your phone messages will wait. There won’t be a disaster while your business is closed for a week.

    If you work out of a separate office, that’s great. Leave your laptop and smartphone at the office where you’re not allowed to visit during your vacation.

    If you have a home office, it can be a little trickier. Unplug your computer and put it away. Put the business phone on “silent”, and same goes for your business smartphone. If you happen to only use a single smartphone for your business and personal use, at the very least turn off the email notification icon and reminders on your phone. Please, please just… leave the email alone for a week!

    If you think this will be particularly difficult for you, come up with an alternate activity to emailing. For example, every time you desperately want to check your email, you have to spend 30 minutes gardening instead. Or walking the dog, or lounging by the pool, or take the kids to the park. After a few days, you’ll forget all about that pesky smartphone, and that’s exactly what needs to happen!

    Are you planning on taking a vacation this year? Let us know in a comment!


    May 7, 2015 7:00 am

    Up and Coming Design Techniques

    Everything stylish comes and goes, and old interior decorating techniques are often replaced with exciting new ones. This year, the up and coming design techniques for updating your space are largely centered on giving the room a fresh new feel without breaking the bank. Check out these ten simple decorating techniques that professionals and clients alike will love.

    1. Do it Yourself

    Simple DIY projects are a fun way to update a space with a personal touch. Try up-cycling a stylish old wood or wrought iron chair by giving it a new coat of paint in a color that matches the scheme of the entry way. Turn the baby crib into a chalkboard-topped desk to transform a nursery into a play room for big kids. Letting the craftsmanship that goes into DIY pieces show gives the room a comfortable touch.

    Furniture Restoration

    2. Get Rid of Clutter

    We don’t just mean the laundry piled on the chair in the master bedroom or the files sitting on the kitchen cabinet! The number of furniture pieces in a room can clutter the space as well. Having more large pieces than necessary takes up space that could be used to enjoy the view or move more easily from room to room. Taking advantage of the space you have is great, but that doesn’t always have to be done by filling it up. Feeling cramped is never pleasant, so rid your space of chairs or ottomans that don’t get used and enjoy some breathing room.

    3. The Walls are your Canvas

    Of course, we don’t recommend that you let the kids color the walls with markers! Decoratively, however, your walls are a great place for expression, and you can do more with them than just hang art pieces. Try patterned wall paper half way up, accompanied by a matching color and thick accent border. This technique makes the walls a statement piece, but lets you control how subtle or bright that statement is. Making the walls decorative balances spaces with otherwise simple decor.

    4. Show Off what you Like

    Are you an avid fan of old Hollywood movies? Have you been collecting pictures of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe over the years? Technically, you only need three pieces to make a collection! Why not update a room with things that you already have, especially when you like them so much? Try devoting the master bathroom to your glamorous icons by placing your collection around the room. Let your collection become the theme and match the rest of the color and décor to those pieces.

    5. Let the Curtains Talk

    Curtains

    Sure, curtains are functional, but they can be decorative as well! They can even be a DIY project for people with sewing experience. Tie them into the color scheme by choosing a shade that works nicely with the rest of the room, or let them stand out by picking a bold pattern that balances a more simple space. Don’t shy away from words like ‘bright’ and ‘intricate’. These can add personality to a room that needs an update.

    6. Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall (or Anywhere Else)

    Mirrors can do more than just tell you how you look! Try opening up a small landing with a collage of mirrors on one wall. Maybe the beautiful vintage mirror you saw at the garage sale would make a more interesting piece above the sofa than a popular art print? Mirrors are versatile pieces that come in endless colors, finishes, shapes, and sizes. Chances are good that you’ll find a mirror that works with the décor you have, but still brings something bright and new to the space.

    7. Let the Outside in

    Nothing brightens up a dull space like a little life; plant life, that is! Adding different plants to the room can transform the atmosphere and give it a lively, fresh feel. Try contrasting plants of different heights or with differently shaped leaves to give the space a balanced look, or tie the plants into the theme and color scheme with decorative pots and vases. Through spring, summer, and fall, the plants will bring in some of the fresh outdoor feel, and through the winter they’ll remind you what’s beyond the cold!

    8. Mix it Up.

    Who says a room can only have pieces of one style? As long as the space still looks balanced and visually pleasing, there’s nothing stopping you from mixing things up a little for a quick and cost effective makeover. Perhaps your rustic cottage sitting room would benefit from a few chrome accents, like lamps or end tables? Bringing a slight modern element into a more classic room can be the perfect updating technique.

    9. Break Away from the Classic

    In most homes, you’ll find specific pieces in certain rooms. For example, comfortable seating and a coffee table of some kind can nearly always be seen in the sitting room. These classic furniture pieces don’t have to be sacrificed to update the room. Consider switching an old four legged coffee table for a sleek, modern piece supported by curving glass. If your style is more rustic, try a smooth wooden table that sits right down on the floor, with drawers down the sides. Look for seating that, while still comfortable, gives the room a unique look with its color, texture, or alternative shape. Your room will still have all the classic elements it needs, but with a fun twist.

    Unique couch

    10. Get Natural

    Wooden elements are perfect for rustic rooms, but they can look great elsewhere too! Natural wood can be especially versatile. This means that the wood hasn’t been stained, glazed, or treated. Natural wood complements many colors and styles and can look classy or relaxed, depending on the rest of the room. While wood can be damaged more easily without a glaze or treatment, it also looks more fresh and clean. Whether you’re incorporating big furniture pieces or small accents, natural wood will cleanly emphasize your chosen themes and colors.

    Interested in Learning More?

    Keeping track of up and coming décor techniques is all part of being a great interior decorator. For more information about how you can work in décor, check out the courses at QC Design School!

    Are there any other design techniques you’re looking forward to? Let us know in a comment below!


    May 4, 2015 7:00 am

    How to Set Up Your Home Office

    Starting a home-based business? Congratulations – you’re living the dream! Who doesn’t want to work from the comfort of their own home? There’s no commute and if you don’t have any appointments, you can work in your pajamas!

    On the flip-side, the responsibility of the home office design and set-up falls entirely on you. There’s a little more involved than just plopping a computer on a desk, putting up some motivational posters and calling it a day! To help you design a space that works for you and your clients check out the tips below.

    Choose the Best Space

    Your first task will be deciding where to set-up your home office. When choosing a space you need to imagine greeting clients at the front door and walking them down the path that’ll lead them to your office. What will they see along the way and how does that reflect on your business? If you have to walk them past your troll doll collection or a series of photographs featuring your poodle in costumes, you may want to make some changes!

    It’s best to pick a space that is self-contained. Being able to shut the door at the end of your scheduled work day can help you maintain work-life balance. It also allows for privacy when you need to focus or have a meeting with clients.

    Beautiful home office design

    I definitely recommend trying the space before committing to it. Set up temporarily and give yourself at least a week in the space before painting or hanging artwork. There’s nothing worse than using your newly set-up office for the first time and realizing it’s not going to work. You may find that the room always runs cold or there’s a really distracting echo. You’ll want to survey the noise situation as well to ensure your space is quiet. There is a lot of potential for noise when working from home (ie. kids, pets, neighbors, traffic) which can be both distracting and unprofessional.

    Invest in Comfortable Furniture

    Back pain can lower your productivity and take a toll on your mind and body. A survey by the American Academy of Family Physicians revealed that 90% of adults experience back pain over their lifetime and 50% of working adults have back pain every year. Back pain can come from bad working posture and repetitive strain injuries.

    Don’t risk your health to save a few bucks. Invest in an ergonomic chair with proper back support. If you don’t have enough funds for a quality office chair at least get yourself a lumbar support cushion! You may also want to consider wrist support (ie. for mousepads or keyboards) to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome.

    Plan for Adequate Lighting

    Good lighting is essential to your home office design. Lighting can brighten your space and make it more inviting. You’ll want a combination of natural lighting and task lighting. Make sure that any workspace you’ll be using frequently is well-lit with a desk or table lamp, preferably one that can be adjusted.

    Proper lighting is beneficial for both your health and mood. It will help you avoid eye-strain and the productivity-hindering headaches that come with it. Additionally, research has been very clear that a lack of sunlight can cause lethargy, reduced cognitive function and depression, so keep those blinds open!

    Natural lighting in home office

    Create Visual Appeal

    Unless you’re into the minimalist look you’ll want to decorate your office. This is where you get to have some fun and infuse the room with your own personal style! Before you buy anything you’ll want to decide on a color scheme. Think about how you want the room to feel and pick your colors accordingly. If you want the mood in your office to be calm you can go with earth tones or blues. Although yellow is a cheerful color, it’s been known to stimulate anxiety which may not be the mood you want to encourage in yourself or your clients!

    Once you have a color scheme in place you can pick artwork, accessories and window treatments for your office. When you are choosing these pieces remember that this is a professional space. As beautiful as they can be, this would not be the appropriate setting for nude paintings!

    Another way to boost visual interest is by bringing a touch of the outdoors into your space. Houseplants are a good choice because they are easy to care for. Plants are known to reduce stress-levels and improve air quality because they naturally filter the air. Having a vase of fresh flowers when you plan to meet with clients is a nice touch as well. Just keep in mind that fresh flowers don’t last as long and replenishing them will be more expensive over time.

    Get Office Equipment

    You will want to include office equipment in your home office design budget. I’d encourage you to invest in updated technology. In a home office, technology will either be your best friend or worst enemy. You’ll want to avoid the frustrations, interruptions and lost productivity that comes from frequent technical difficulties.

    Once you have updated technology you’ll need to maintain it. Use computer antivirus software and get regular maintenance checks. You should also set up a schedule for backing up your information. If you don’t have your work backed-up it means you’re starting from scratch or paying for a system restore if your computer crashes on you.

    You will want a separate phone line for your business but there are cost-effective ways of doing this. Do some research and save money by using a reliable soft-phone (ie. internet phone) or voice over IP Broadband phone system. For administrative tasks you can buy an all-in-one printer with copy/scan/fax capabilities. See if you can find a printer with refillable cartridges, to take advantage of cheap ink refilling services. You may even want to outsource large print jobs if a copy and print shop can give you a good price. Or, if you’re not ready to commit to anything, you can look into leasing office equipment like copiers and fax machines.

    Set Up Storage Space

    Organized home office design

    It doesn’t take long for a well-used office to get messy. Think about what impression having a dirty or cluttered office would make on potential clients. I recommend you pick one day a week to devote to a full office cleaning (vacuuming, dusting, wiping surfaces, etc).

    You need to make a home for everything and commit to staying organized. Use a filing cabinet or desk file organizer to store records as well as ingoing and outgoing paperwork. Keep a notepad close by for taking notes while on calls or with clients. A notepad is a better choice than scrap paper because your notes will be bound together instead of loose. If you’re not using computer software to track your finances you’ll want to use a ledger to record each transaction. You can store it in a portable organizer along with all of your receipts.

    Don’t forget about waste disposal in your home office design plan. You’ll want a trash bin for general garbage as well as a recycle bin for your paper waste. Be sure to shred any documents that contain private or financial details before disposing of them.

    We hope this helps you design a beautiful office space that’s comfortable and practical. Remember, this is the one office where you get to be both the boss and the worker bee! Take advantage of this unique opportunity to create a space you’ll enjoy using!

    Did you find some great tips in this post? Be sure to share it with your friends by using the icons below to ensure they create appropriate home offices as well!