I Sent a Stager Photos of My Home Office — Here’s What She Said to Change

published May 7, 2023
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Home office with vintage mirror above desk and monitors.
Credit: Grace Cassidy

I’ve been working from home full-time for over two years. But I’ve been a freelance writer for even longer, so typing at my desk has always been a part of my life.

Thankfully, my work habits don’t require an extensive setup, but a small desk can get cluttered very quickly. (Mine sure does.) So I reached out to Molly Marino, home stager and designing broker at Home By Molly Marino in Chicago, and asked if she had any tips for making my office space look better. 

“When you have a small desk and work area, keeping it tidy and uncluttered is essential for both the design aesthetic and also a calm mind and work environment,” Marino says. “Stashing pens and Post-It notes in drawers to keep the workspace to a bare minimum will help. Also, a very simple fix is to hide all cords with a cord organizer. This doesn’t allow the tangle and mess to distract you from your zen space.”

Because I only have a few cords, I was able to stash many of them away, such as my wireless keyboard charger, phone charger, and earbuds — which frequently take up real estate on my desk. I don’t have a lot of cords that end up on the floor, and the ones that do don’t bother me enough to make a change or purchase an item for organizing them. That said, if you have a lot of cord clutter and multiple electronics plugged in, cord organizers are inexpensive solutions to what can easily become an eyesore. 

Credit: Grace Cassidy

Marino also suggested a few practical items to make it easier to keep track of work tasks, events, and meetings. “Hanging a decorative white board on the wall, or even a small easel white board, is a nice way to keep the desk clean and clutter-free but still have a space to capture important thoughts and to-dos,” she says. “And don’t forget to choose a favorite piece of art to hang around your desk space. Looking up and seeing something that inspires you will help you through your work day.”

For small desk areas, Molly suggests using the space around the desk for moody touches such as lighting and plants to avoid further cluttering the already-small space. 

“Add an arching floor lamp that leans over your workspace with soft task lighting, and hang a live plant from a chain from the ceiling so you can glance up and see green throughout the day,” she says.

Because I have recessed lighting above my work space, I didn’t need a floor lamp, but I loved the idea of adding some greenery to the space. I also threw a small rug down beneath the desk so that my feet had somewhere soft and comfortable to land.

Overall, I love my new and improved space! I often forget how much of a difference one or two items cluttering up my desk can make an impact on how I feel while getting work done. And most importantly, all of these changes were totally free. Those looking to revamp their work space don’t need to break the bank to make it a little more zen — just a bit of organization and some mood-enhancing touches can make a big difference.