12 Things Everyone Should Have Somewhere in Their Home Office

updated Nov 10, 2023
Apartment Therapy received compensation for this post, which was written and edited independently by our editorial team.
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Credit: Erin Derby

Whether your home office is a designated room in your home or a corner of your bedroom, the right WFH setup can make or break your productivity. Of course, that involves the obvious players — a computer and a desk, for starters — but there are also the extra items that are nice to have, as well as those that might be higher up on the must-list than you realize. But what exactly might these products be? Let us break it down for you.

From a pen that you’ll actually want to use to a timer to help focus your work day, these are the items that everyone should have somewhere in their home office to make the day-to-day WFH life easier and more pleasant.

Do you have office essentials that you swear by? We want to hear all about them! Tell us about your favorite office must-haves in the comments below.

A Timer

If you’re someone who can easily find yourself getting lost in a task (or TikTok…) and wondering where the hours went, then a timer is a must for your office. Setting an hourglass sand timer on your desk can help you break the day up into increments that allow you to focus on emails for 30 minutes or planning out meetings and projects for 60 minutes, without relying on your phone for timekeeping. You could even set it to give yourself a reading-for-pleasure break in the middle of the day.

An A-List Pen

What’s an A-list pen, you ask? It looks different for everyone but it’s the pen that you want to pick up and use, not the one you grabbed from a hotel room two years ago and inevitably end up scribbling in circles, hoping the ink will flow. Some people (yours truly, included) swear by the Pilot G2 Fine Point (navy is the superior color, FYI). Others believe the uni-ball vision is the only way. Still others love the Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pen’s artsy inclinations. Then you have the total wild cards: the ones keeping SAKURA Gelly Roll Pens in business.

A Stylish Keyboard

If your home office setup is lacking a cool keyboard, you’re seriously missing out. Check out this fun Logitech pick. Its old-school styling and fun color options give it a unique flair while its modern features (it can be used with computers, tablets, and phones and comes with emoji keys!) make it the tech accessory you never knew you needed.

Good Lighting

Whether you need lighting for video calls, reading, or just to keep the ambiance feeling right, lamps and lights are key in a home office. If you spend all day logging on to Zoom to host webinars or meet with clients, it might be time to spring for a ring light. If your video use is more casual or you just want to create a pleasant atmosphere, then you can opt for design-forward task lighting.

An Ergonomic Chair

If you’re spending seven or more hours a day at your desk, you better be comfortable. And it can be tempting to lean towards style over function, particularly if you’re working with a small space or a home office that’s carved out of a living room or bedroom. But don’t sacrifice your comfort. Prioritize the ergonomic chair and create a setup that doesn’t leave your back aching.

A Printer

This is a hot take, but, if you have room for a printer, it can actually come in incredibly handy. Think about when you used to go into the office regularly. You probably printed personal items at work more often than you’d like to admit — even if it was mostly return labels for items you’d bought online. From the occasional tax form to contracts to medical forms to, yes, return labels, having a printer in your home office is something you might find you use regularly.

A Sleek Notebook

Even if you don’t regularly take written notes, it’s nice to have one sleek notebook that makes you feel organized and on top of things when you pull it out. Combine it with the A-list pen and you’ve got a combo that’s unstoppable when you need to log in to an important webinar or you’re tuning in to an informational interview with someone you’ve long admired.

An Inbox

No matter how paperless your office is, there will occasionally be items that come across your desk in physical form. Whether you designate one drawer in your desk as an inbox or have a physical box on top of your desk, it’s useful to have somewhere you can put those in-process items, from bills to benefits information to thank-you notes to be written or Post-It note reminders to enter into your calendar.

A Tray

In a WFH world, you’re not always going to work from your desk. A tray makes it super easy to pick up what you need — your laptop, charger, phone, planner, pen, and other items — and move them all to another room without testing your balancing abilities.


Even if you have a tiny space, it’s nice to have at least one floating shelf to place a few items that make you happy, whether that’s a plant, a photo of loved ones, or a souvenir from a favorite trip. And, if you have a really tiny space, you can look at corner shelves to maximize every square inch of the square footage around your home office.

Something that Reminds You of a Win

Everybody needs a little extra confidence boost at work on occasion, so keep something on or near (petite hanging shelves can help with that) your desk that reminds you of a time you did something awesome. It could be work-related — perhaps an award you received or a folder of emails where you received high praise for your works — or it could be something personal, like a photo of the time you completed an amazing hike or a painting you picked up on your first solo trip abroad.

Something to Distract You

Sometimes you just need to look away from the computer and, ideally, that doesn’t mean just transferring your attention to another screen. Keep a stack of magazines or books you can easily pick up and put back down close by so that you can take a twenty to thirty-minute break without needing to stray far from the ever-present Slack notifications.