Thanks to modern technology like iPhones, Skype, and texting, working remotely is becoming a more and more common occurrence in the corporate world. Gone are the days of driving across town to meet with busy clients flying in from overseas. Instead, executives are setting up video conference calls to accommodate far-flung locales and busy schedules.
“Women are working out of their homes now more than ever and the numbers keep climbing,” says Melissa Misetich, president and CEO of MC Decor Solutions Inc., an interior design firm based in Newport Beach, Calif. “It is becoming more possible for women to be able to do it all. Women can work around kids' school and sports schedules and family activities.”
That said, the mother to three—Michael, 22, Cole, 19 and Bonnie, 14—has seen firsthand how essential it is to create a separate workspace at home. “You want to make your home office your own personal haven,” she says. “You want to separate the workspace from your home living space environment.”
Not only will this help you physically separate yourself from the sinkful of dirty dishes, messy playroom, and piles of laundry awaiting your attention, it will also help you mentally prepare yourself to focus on the task at hand. “Having a stylish home office makes you want to start working in the morning,” says Misetich. “It makes you look forward to entering your office and keeps you in your workspace longer.”
Here, the in-demand designer—who has created spaces everywhere from Los Angeles to Seattle to Santa Barbara—shares her top five tips for creating the ultimate home office, regardless of your salary or square footage.
1. Get Inspired
“Besides the typical desk, chair, and storage cabinets, women are adding inspirational walls or cork boards to hang their favorite quotes, phrases, goals, or dream photos on vision boards. They are also adding a comfy-cool sofa or chair with an ottoman to be comfortable while they read through documents or paperwork, creating more than one space to work. Step out of the box and create an environment that makes you happy, is inspirational, and that you love to enter every day.”
2. Be Functional
“Do not create an office strictly on design and style alone. You must remember that your office should always remain functional to your occupational needs in order to be productive. I've seen women add espresso machines and small refrigerators to keep snacks in so they do not have to leave their office with all of the household distractions one may find on the way to the kitchen for another cup of coffee.”
3. Set the Mood
“Paint or wallpaper your office in a color or pattern that you can live with. Some women prefer soft, neutral colors and trendy reclaimed wood desks and cabinets with just a touch of color in a throw blanket or pillows on a sofa. Others go all out with lots of bright colors and textures in fabrics and wall paint, wall art, and eclectic furnishings. It truly depends on each individual's personality. Don't be afraid to go beyond neutrals, but don't go crazy with wild patterns or stripes or too bright of a color that will be distracting.”
4. Money Matters
“We are really lucky these days because top designers are now creating less expensive lines of their high-price brands. Stores such as Target, Walmart, and Living Spaces carry all of the up-to-date trends that can easily stand up to top-dollar offices. TJ Maxx and HomeGoods carry top brands at 50% off typical retail prices. There are Container Stores that carry everything you need at decent prices for a very organized, functional, work environment.”
5. Know Your Limits
“Privacy! Your home office should be completely separate from the rest of your home. Create a daily designated work schedule. You may need to set boundaries that kids, spouses, and friends are aware of, even if that means a sign on the door saying, 'Do not enter. It's office hours.'”