If you are anything like me, no space is complete unless it is both functional AND easy on the eyes – and that includes a home office. Recently on Instagram, we shared a part of our Office Upfit Project and the process of taking our wood-toned, dated home office – located smack in the middle of our home – into a light, organized and inspiring space for our small team to gather. 

I wrestled through the ENTIRE design and organization process with decisions for this space – so much it was painful! After taking input from our team and a strong collaborative effort with my Inspiring Intern, Kelly, the project is finally coming together.

*** I’ll be sharing before after’s of this project soon! Stay in the loop

Given the challenges I faced with the organization and design of our home office, I thought I’d share what I learned along the way. Regardless of whether you are a mom running your household, work from home by yourself or have a team at your side… your home office should be the central hub of functionality and this post is for you!

7 Tips for How to Organize and Design your Home Office

#1 Organize a Bills & Mail Station

Create a System

We developed a little system to organize our bills, documents, and random notes that collect on our desk. 

First when the mail comes in, we go through and purge the junk mail. Random notes are separated from bills and project related documents and placed in a separate folder. The rest go in the top bin. Uriah doesn’t open the mail until he’s ready to spend a few hours paying bills. 

After bills are paid, they go into the “to-be-scanned” bin. Either Uriah or our assistant will then scan the papers into a cloud based system, according to our digital organization process

Then, if it is a document where the original needs to be kept in our records, such as a HUD, it goes in the “to be filed” bin. At that point, documents are ready to be filed in our Project File Drawers by our assistant.

wire file drawer for home office

#2 Choose a Desk with Storage to Help you Organize

Hopefully your desk has at least two file drawers so you can organize important personal business documents. If not, no worries! You can always purchase file boxes like these at Target and store them on open shelving. You can even use file storage as a part of your styling, like this idea from The Organized Home:

picture of a wooden crate being used to store files in a home office and styled on a shelf with pretty books this design tip also helps you stay organize

#3 Organization is all about labeling EVERYTHING

When I say label everything – I mean everything: your shelving, your bins, your folders, your cubbies and baskets. After all – you’ve spend all this time on organization so everything has a place. Labeling (in conjunction with self-discipline) is the way to keep it that way! It will also help your husband, wife, assistant, or children know exactly where things go. 

We bought cabinet hardware that doubled as a label!

this picture is of file drawers with hardware that doubles as a label - found on amazon
Drawer hardware that doubles as a label. Ignore the fact that I haven’t actually labeled them yet 🙂 This project is still in progress.

#4 Organize and Look Good Doing It – Put Your Processes and Operating Procedures in Pretty, Easily Accessible Binders  

I found floral 3-ring binders like the ones you see above at target – making sure they compliment our brand colors. (The ones linked are similar but not the exact same as mine.)

The binders hold our Office Manual, Company Handbook and Order & Inventory Lists for Open Projects. Notebooks and manuals such as this need to be readily accessible for you or your employees to reference when needed. Because counter space is plentiful in The Inspiring Investment office, we display them in a black mesh rack on the counter.

#5 Design: Home Office

This concept could also be applied for a homemaking office! Have a notebook for meal planning, home or craft projects, or you could even have a Household Manual – a tool you can provide a nanny or babysitters who come into your home. (Would you believe I do this one? #nerdalert)

office picture with blog post title pinterest graphic
Pin this to an organization board on Pinterest! Go ahead and follow us while you’re there.

Start with Neutrals

White space is essential to a visually appealing space – I’m convinced! That’s not to say there isn’t a place for color – or – that walls always have to be white – by no means! Color makes our world interesting and dynamic! But in order for that color to be seen and not overwhelmed by other “noise”, a neutral backdrop is a solid foundation for building a well-designed, balanced space. That is why we chose to paint our cabinets AND walls white. It will be the perfect canvas to put our brand on display.

#6 Design: Home Office Artwork and Decor

Use Artwork and Decor that tells a story 

The story you tell through the decor in your home office should be dictated by the reason you use it. I run a small business, so for the purposes of this post I will speak for business owners and branding, but your brand could also be interpreted as your style or values and therefore applicable to a homemaker’s office. 

Brand colors, your logo, imagery, meaningful art related to your business, or company benchmarks –  all of these things are a part of branding your office. They re-affirm the values of your company and communicate a cohesive message to your employees and even yourself. 

#7 – Design: Seating

Use Stylish, but Comfortable Chairs

Ergonomic design is an important factor in furnishing your home office with comfy, stylish seating.

heathered grey stool with pecan modern legs an example of home office seating
I love this stool from West Elm

(We are actually incorporating a standing desk option for one of the three work stations in our home office, which is why I’m showing a stool option.)

More ideas to design your home office: 

  • Hang inspiring wall art (support local artists if possible)
  • Use meaningful objects to your brand or values to decorate
  • Post your vision & mission statement
  • Display a vision board 
  • Provide a gratitude jar
  • Sprinkle a bit of greenery into your styling, using faux plants if necessary (more tips on styling here)

Ideas for branding your home office:

We plan on putting a vinyl sticker of our logo at the top of our office whiteboard, because no one can reach up there anyway. 

Additionally, we will be using light blue push pins on a black and white maps of Raleigh, Cary, and Durham to mark all flips we’ve completed in our market, kind of like the one you see pictured above.

In Conclusion …

Working from home is certainly a blessing, but I think we all know it can also have it’s challenges. Investing the extra effort into the design and organization of your office can improve functionality, your personal productivity and communicate your brand’s message, unifying your whole team! It’s time to treat your home office like an actual workplace, don’t you think?

Coming Next …

I’m posting all the design choices we actually implemented to tell our brand’s story in our Office Upfit.