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4 Tips for Designing a Functional and Budget-Friendly Home Office

With 1 in 5 Americans working from home, the days of working from 9 to 5 in a corporate office is fast becoming a thing of the past. Creating the perfect home workspace environment can be a tricky task, especially if you’re renting an apartment; if it’s too comfortable, it could distract you from your work, and if it’s too rigid and uninviting, why work from home? And then: do the landlord’s policies allow you to set up your dream office?

As the cold days are already upon us, it’s a good time to start thinking about designing a cozy and budget-friendly home office space that inspires you and boosts your productivity. And that’s landlord approved, of course!

Check out these tips on how to design an organized, functional office in your rental apartment:

1. Paint shades that improve your mood

If you’re having a hard time getting work done from home, the color of your walls could be the one to blame. The right shade of paint can improve your mood and set the stage for your work day. If you’re a renter, confirm with your landlord that you’re allowed to repaint the interior walls. You might be surprised to find that some property management companies will reimburse you for maintenance work like light patching and painting. Before picking out your decor, start by finding a paint color that inspires you such as a clean pearl white, or a light yellow to set a calm and collected mood.

Light shades on the walls
Light shades on the walls will improve your working mood. Image via RENTCafe – Creekwood Apartments, Tulsa, OK

2. Inspiration framed with washi tape

If your landlord is picky about you poking holes in the walls or painting, you will have to refrain yourself  from doing so. However, there are several alternative options for brightening up your office area. You’ve probably been hearing about “washi tape” for a while now in the DIY buzz, and it’s getting a lot of attention for good reason. Think of it as a very strong, fancy version of masking tape, originally from Japan, that now comes in just about every shade and pattern you can imagine. It won’t hurt your walls, and can be used to frame inspirational quotes, photos, or collages of your choosing.

Washi tape decor for home office design
Washi tape wall frames. Image via Mildart.com

3. Brighten up your desk space with ambient lighting

Chances are that – if you’re working from home – your computer is your most important asset for work. Squinting at your screen for hours on end in a dimly lit room isn’t going to inspire more than a migraine. Find a space for your desk near a window for optimal natural light, or illuminate your computer setup with ambient lighting for a soothing zen atmosphere. A strand of LED rope lighting can be strategically fastened behind your desk to create a calming glow.

Ambient lighting for your home office
Brighten your work space with funky lighting. Image via blog.studiopebbles.com

4. DIY upcycled organization

If you’re anything like me, it’s hard to gain inspiration from a disorganized and cluttered workspace. Find creative ways to store your desk supplies by crafting ingenious boxes, jars, trays. You can even use upcycled items, like an old kitchen robot or a vintage toolbox for storing pens and scissors. You know that letter sorter you never use? Re-purpose it to store your tablets and smartphones as a charging station.

DIY office organizer
Organize your desk on a budget. Image via Jolie Jolie Design

It’s important to find the right style and atmosphere that works best for you and your home. There are plenty of things you can do within any budget to improve your home office appeal, and create a more inviting, invigorating work space – even when you’re renting your place! Explore these ideas, and gain inspiration to design your own amazing home office!

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About the author

Nicky Iudean

Nicky is an Online Communications Specialist for RENTCafé.com, where she researches and writes about real estate, interior design, and all things that spark renters’ interests. She is also your go-to person for content collaborations. Nicky double majored in Marketing and Applied Economics and holds a master's degree in Marketing Strategies and Policies. You can reach her via email at nicky.rentcafe@yardi.com.


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