The Home Office

Everybody’s Doing It

More and more people are using a home office these days, and it can be a fully remote work position, or a few days in the office and few days at home.  To really get the most out of your workday, you should try to pick an area in the house that is dedicated specifically to working.  I know that you’ll be at your laptop on the couch or in bed watching ‘Game of Thrones‘ before crashing for the day, but having one area for the majority of your work will allow for a better work/life balance.

Start at the Top

…Tabletop that is.  If you do not have room for a desk, a table top works.  In fact, I find myself on the couch working a lot more these days.  Just keep this in mind: you don’t want your dining room table or coffee table to become the catch-all for your paperwork or other items.  Consider using an accent tray to make office supplies and other necessary items mobile and easy to move out of the way when you are ready to dine or entertain.  This allows you to put the day away and give yourself the mental break by using the “out of sight out of mind” method for ending the work day.  Trust me, it works.  My mind is always on the go, and this is crucial to my sanity.  It’s all about balance people.

the oh so common coffee table workspace – get a tray, put it away

Choose a Desk

If you have the luxury of having room for a desk, then consider how you’ll use it.  Are you a paper-heavy person (ok, maybe you’re not heavy, but your job uses a lot of paper…sound better?)  Then you need room for a file cabinet or drawers.  If like me, you just need a space to work – I’m always editing photos or designing patterns and graphics that I use in design work, then a flat top desk with four legs will do the job.  My desks are usually a design with minimal features and add-ons.  My brain is cluttered enough without me needing more to be distracted by something with drawers and shelves.

I like a sleek tabletop design

You can also get a standing desk for mobility or for those of you who just can’t sit still – wait, why don’t I have one of these?

Sharing a workspace?  Consider a long table for two or a wider option that allows you to work face to face.  Just be sure to get big monitors.


Even if you have overhead lighting, a desk lamp is going to allow you to focus better on the task at hand.  If you already have a lamp that works, change up the shade to make it new to you.  If you’re looking for something that is flexible to move as you do on your desktop, get one that has an extendable arm like this design.

light it up photo credit: annie spratt

Contain Yourself

Make sure that you invest in a few containers to keep it tidy.  You can repurpose jars or cans from around your house, or go for the all in one desktop caddy, or individual style to suit your needs.  Whatever the case, get something to use because an organized desk, is an organized mind..or something like that.

Personalize Your Space

A dedicated workspace should reflect who you are outside of work.  Prints and photographs, along with plants and books, are a great way to make your space scream YOU.  Or, like these people, you can print a motivating quote on the wall in front of you.  It looks like they do have photographs too, so at least we know they have friends.

well, here’s one way to make it personal.

Stekler House, Murray Legge Architecture
love the vintage signs and speaker in this design by Murray Legge

Sit on It

And finally, if you aren’t getting one of those stand up desks, you’ll need a chair.  I tend to use the ones that flow with the design of my style, but you can choose a traditional desk chair that has a high back, or one with wheels if you like that style.

The point of any workspace design is that it should be inspiring, motivating, and make you feel like getting the job done – now get to work people!


Ty Pennington

Ty Pennington is best known as the Emmy-award winning host of "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" and as the co-host of ABC Daytime's "The Revolution." He has been recognized as a home design expert, carpenter and leader in the field of volunteerism. is a space to share his inspiration, design tips, daily musings and more. Ty can currently be seen on TLC's Trading Spaces.

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