7 Ways To Make Your Home Office Look Less Like A Cubicle

Some home offices are just a quaint place to stash your computer while others become the workhorse room of the home. Sometimes an office can feel a little bland and utilitarian when your "decor" so to say, is really the bare bone necessities that you need to get your work done. A desk, a file cabinet, chair, computer and basic shelves don't have to be the only things in your space, here's a few suggestions to make things feel more like home and less like the office!

1. Lighting: You're probably tired of hearing us talk about lighting at this point, but it is hands down the number one way to make your space feel more personable, alive and more importantly, less of a strain visually to exist in. If your desk doesn't have room for a table lamp, try a wall mounted swing arm that will give the same effect without taking up precious space.

2. Color: No matter what the home decor television shows tell you, your home office doesn't have to be a bright bold color to feel modern and updated. Your office is a place where focus needs to exist and little distraction should be had, but in order to make your space feel welcome and inviting to the point that you actually want to work in it, color is the key to making things feel fresh! Layer in as many tones as possible to help give that designer feel and banish cubicle grey forever. Here's a few ways to bring in a few new hues without a massive makeover:

Upholstery: Even if you're not into buying a chair with color for your main desk area, if you have the room, bring in a little color with any additional seating. This will be the best biggest area of color besides walls and flooring you can bring in.
Artwork: Especially when framed properly, artwork can be the easiest way to bring in a bit of personality and pop of color. Check out Etsy for inexpensive finds and support handmade artisans.
Paper: the backs of your bookshelves. Though it will be covered up in places, this is a great place to make any basic bookshelf have a bit more spunk.
Paint Your Trim: Many homes across America were built with some sort of honey colored trim work. While it's just fine, a great way to make it pop (and your wall color) is to give things a fresh coat of white paint!

3. Rugs: Rugs and home offices haven't always gone together. You more frequently think about the plastic chair pad under your feet and while they serve a purpose, they're really boring and don't bring a thing to the room. If you simply must have one, try taking it outside and turning if over. Spraypaint the under side whatever color suits your fancy, try stripes or go graffiti with things and give it a boost in the color department. If you can go without, head to your local discount store and check out the rug selection. Office rugs don't have to be large and you can usually find great bargains on them!

4. Plants: Though small plants are found in cubicles nationwide, usually they're small and ones that survive under the worst lighting conditions possible. Try heading to your lawn and garden store and picking up 3-4 plants that will flourish in your space. It might require a plant stand or hanging basket, but either way you'll be rewarded with clean air and a layer of design that nothing else can fill.

5. Layered Decor: A cubicle has the basic necessities and although they're well designed, doesn't exactly give you that feeling of warmth. Try adding layers to your decor to make things feel more home-y. For instance, a few throw pillows in a chair or curtains (even if in addition to miniblinds) are great places to start. For even more layers, add attractive storage solutions, artwork or even a blanket or throw.

6. Spread Out The Clutter: Many times in our work environment, we're so anxious to make our area feel more personable and more like us, that this small sampling of things that represent you get crammed all into one area, pictures, a plant, possibly a fish, a dancing hula girl from your last vacation — at home you have a little more design freedom. Take your shelves to the ceiling for added display room, a portrait taken on your wedding day is fine, but it doesn't have to be 3 inches from your monitor, frame it well and hang it up on the wall. Try spreading things out and giving yourself more open space to make the entire space feel more like "a room" instead of keeping all the focus on your desk area.

7. Add Permanent Features: No matter how well you've decorated a cube at work, it could still be cleaned out and put in a box in 20 minutes flat. In your home, make things feel designed and more permanent with a few basic additions. Try adding in floating shelves, change out your overhead lighting to something more appealing, create a built in bookshelf... the possibilities are endless really, just remember it's your space and it's ok to tear something down or build something up!

What makes your home office feel more like home and less like a boring cubicle? Let us know your own personal tricks and tips below!

(Image: Flickr member Jaseman licensed for use by Creative Commons and Dee Adams' Lofty Intentions Tech Tour )

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Sarah Trover has lived all across the Midwest and currently calls the hot dog-laden city of Chicago home. She rides scooters and seeks out kitchens that make the best pie.