7 Tips to help you Organize & Design your Home Office

7 Tips to help you Organize & Design your Home Office

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. 

How to Design a Pre-teen Girl’s Bedroom You’ll Both Love.

How to Design a Pre-teen Girl’s Bedroom You’ll Both Love.

Does the thought of giving your pre-teen a bedroom makeover send chills down your spine? Maybe somewhere between the tacky choices, ever-changing interests, and probable arguments that go along with it ….

You. Are. Not. Alone.

Not long ago, on Instagram, I shared that I’ve been working on a little project, aside from our typical house flips. 

… and I employed two new design assistants to help me. 


I’m giving my girls bedroom makeover! 

Today, I’m sharing 5 tips to show you how you CAN design a space for your kids that you will LOVE and your kids will WANT to live in: one you won’t have to re-do they second they’re off to college.

That is, of course, unless you want to.

5 Tips and Tricks to Give your Pre-Teens a Bedroom Makeover You Both Will Love 

  • Set Boundaries Upfront

From the beginning, set the boundaries you feel comfortable with. If you aren’t going to be okay with painting the ceiling, say it. If you would prefer a neutral palate on the walls rather than the bedding, explain that and the reason why. It wouldn’t hurt to use this time to discuss the fact that although it’s important to you that they love their room, you get final say and may not approve of ALL their design choices. As the parent, you are funding the deal, so you need to love it, too. Think of yourself as their guide.

*** Don’t wait until hearing their ideas to set boundaries. If you tell them what you don’t want after they tell you what they do, they may feel a bit of rejection. It’s better to know the rules upfront.

  • Listen to their Input

Your kids aren’t typically going to love a space they have *no say* in, so listen to them! Ask them questions like, what’s important to you to have in your space? Have you thought about how you would like to use your room? For example, both of my girls (they share a room) requested a desk and book storage. 

  • Make it Educational

This can actually become a wonderful way to teach your kids about design elements, pick up new inspiration, and learn what goes well together, what doesn’t and why. You could pick up some books at the library and scour Pinterest together – #bondingtime

  • Create a Vision Board

Personally, I’m a big fan of vision boards for any project. The girls and I had a great time putting this one together for their bedroom makeover. 

Follow us on Pinterest! You’ll love our boards!

You can see more details of their soon-to-be new space, complete with links and sources – coming soon! 

  • Involve them in Implementation

When possible, bring your child into the loop, and let them get involved in ordering that bedding or give them options between two different things like headboards, light fixtures, or even wallpaper.

If there is a DIY portion to your plan, let them help out! Our girls’ bedroom makeover involved a ship-lap accent wall (we followed the plank wall tutorial from my friend Brittany’s over at Pretty Handy Girl) and they LOVED sanding, nailing, and prepping the wood for install. More on that *coming soon*.

(ps. If storage is at a hot comodity in your house and you’d like to add more in your pre-teen’s bedroom makeover, check out this DIY pipe closet post)

This is the first in our girls bedroom makeover series and also the first home improvement project we’re taking on in our new house! Next, will come more details with the design plan and products I have my eye on.

Until next time …


How to Style Shelves Like a Pro

How to Style Shelves Like a Pro

If you are anything like me, you want your house to be presentable, well-decorated, and inviting.

Instagram does a great job of setting the standard high. Perhaps, too high? ?…. maybe, but instead of allowing that to make us feel down and out, let’s look at some small changes you can make to showcase your biggest investment – your home! Who knows? Maybe you’ll find that you can make a few “Instagram worthy” spaces too!

This will be the first post in a series of “How to” posts in the style and design department.

Tips and Tricks: #Shelfie Worthy Shelves

A few things I notice when looking for #shelfie inspiration

  • Less is more.

It shouldn’t feel cluttered. You don’t need to display every single trinket you own.  Less is more. What do you want to look at on the daily?

styled shelves how to white space breathing room

from The Design Chaser

Also, include books. I know, I know, weird right? Books on a bookshelf?? I read somewhere to start the styling with books, add larger accessories, then add in the small knick – knacks.

  • Balance and White Space

Make it a good mix of artwork, books, greenery, and white space. In design, white space is almost as important as the design itself … it’s like breathing room. One trick to getting that white/neutral balance is to flip the books so the pages side shows rather than the binding.

floating styled style shelves shiplap how to barnwood

from The Modest Farmhouse

I’ve learned over the past few years that plants add a lot to a space – I don’t know whether it’s texture or the color, or the way leaves seem to float and add movement.

I also learned to use fake plants because, you know, brown thumb.

  • Scale

It’s best to follow the rule of triangles: place items of similar scale in a triangle pattern, as seen here:

triangle pattern styling shelves how to shelfie

found here

  • Better Together

It is commonly known in the world of design that items grouped in odd numbers are more visually appealing: groups of 1, 3, and 5 are best. This girl’s got it down:

styled styling shelves

from Love Grows Wild

The greatest thing about styling shelves rather than decorating with larger, more expensive items is that it can easily be changed with each season or your current mood! It’s certainly nothing to fret over. It’s expression of you.

Be your own kind of beautiful today, inspiring people! 

Hope these tips and tricks are helpful and you make your mark in your home.

I’m so glad you stopped in today! You know, we should be friends. We’re on  Instagram & Twitter … I think you’d also love our Pinterest boards. 

You can also sign up to receive our monthly newsletter where you get the inside scoop on all our projects, design ideas and home renovation tips. Sometimes we even do giveaways!

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How To Renovate On A Budget Without Sacraficing Design

How To Renovate On A Budget Without Sacraficing Design

As you may or may not know, we are in the midst of two rather large renovations: LaRancharita and the Shenandoah Flip, both of which we plan to hold as rentals. (Long-term holds are a part of our long term goals)

The whole point of a rental is that it will cashflow. Unfortunately, it won’t cash flow if you’re over budget, which brings us to today’s post, and my specialty!

The Balancing Act: Design and Budget

In real estate and renovations, it’s all about equilibrium; A constant balancing act of where to spend money so you can maximize profit, yet create a well-designed space people want to live in. This is true both for the homeowner and investor. Most people want to know that the improvements they make in their home create a return.

FYI, The Inspiring Investment is one of the few real estate investing / house-flipping companies whose mission is to providing well-designed, quality products for the housing market. It says it right here in our mission statement:

To provide excellent customer service to individuals in the community through buying houses that need work, and transforming those properties into quality, desirable products for the housing market.

We try hard to make ours stand out in some way. Not every project’s budget allows for amazing, unique design elements however, I keep a few tricks up my sleeve and wanted to share them with you:

Tricks to Produce High Design on a Budget

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
When you are on a budget, you need to work with what you’ve got. Ask yourself, what can we save? What has to go? If most of the house has brushed nickel hardware, it all matches and is in good condition, keep it! Alter your design plan to make them pop and consider painting the doors a matte black. This would even look great with old school gold hardware!

Could you save money by installing open shelving instead of upper cabinets?

Envision living in the space

Consider room dimensions and functionality. Does it work for you? If not, what can you do to make it more acceptable? Is tearing out that supporting wall in your budget? Could you create a pass through in the wall of the kitchen an option to allow the feel of an open layout? The odds are if it isn’t functional for you, it wouldn’t be functional for someone else either. So, if there are small ways you are able to improve a home’s liveability, it will be a good investment.

Brainstorm & Consult Pinterest

Scour Pinterest for on-trend or classic looks. Take screen shots of what you like and make a vision board. I have a Mac, so I make my vision boards on Keynote. I do this to affirm my believe that “this tile” will look great next to “this paint color”. Here is an example of a vision board I made on Keynote.
inspiration vision board navy cabinets wood
Go Deal Hunting

This is the fun part. It’s also the hardest. After years of deal hunting on craigslist and countless hours of online shopping, comparing prices, shipping costs and working with customer service, I happen to feel like a master at this. (#futurepostalert) In the meantime, you will find that certain items at Wayfair are more expensive, and the same item is cheaper at Home Depot. Some times its visa versa. Just takes a bit of digging.

Do the Labor Yourself

You can afford to put more money into your design if you do some of the labor yourself. Pick up the hammer! You may suprise yourself. My friend, Brittany, over at PrettyHandyGirl.com is breaking the mold that only guys can be “handy”. Check her out. She may inspire you 🙂 I

f this is too much work, you can always hire it out.

Don’t Over Improve

The investor in me wants to make it a point to remind you not to over-improve for the neighborhood. That is, unless, you are under budget. But honestly, when does that happen?

Overwhelmed yet? I can help. Subscribe to our email list where you will receive more cost-saving tips and project ideas!

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