Getting Started: Creating a Home Office That Works For You - West | South
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How to create a home office on your own terms with ideas and sources to get it done.

Getting Started: Creating a Home Office

interiors

flat lay image of woman writing in notebook with coffee cup, glasses and open laptop surrounding her hands

I am coming up on one full year working from a home office. It’s been amazing.

My space can have whatever I want or don’t want – there aren’t any rules. (Yay, candles & family photos!)
I do not have to use headphones to listen to music or podcasts. (Bring on all the weird ambient jams!)
I can have the lighting level at whatever I need. (Soft, warm, golden light…)
IT CAN BE WHATEVER TEMPERATURE I, AND ONLY I, WANT.

And did you know the money you spend on your home office can be tax-deductible? It’s true!

Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to carve out a space of your own. First, I’ll highlight each of the pieces needed. Then, I’ll show you how to mix all those pieces together.

And since I don’t know a single person who isn’t on a budget for a project like this, I’ve selected all of the pieces below from either IKEA, Target, or WalMart. However, all items shown below are subject to availability. So if you see something you love I wouldn’t wait to buy it!

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Step one: do not buy a desk

Hear me out. A desk is a uni-tasker, which is almost always a bad way to spend your money.

Using a dining table, however, can stretch your investment as it can be re-used in many other ways. A table is also much easier to re-sell, should your style ever change.

Additionally, while looking for a desk for my office last year, I found that traditional standing desks are SO UGLY, while also being VERY EXPENSIVE. But I found that a bar table is the perfect height for standing for most people. And happily, there are so many more attractive, affordable options for bar tables than for desks.

While I am advising you to break the ‘rules’ when it comes to a desk, I do in most cases recommend buying an actual desk chair. A desk chair will last longer and will make you more comfortable. You won’t have to be concerned with a sore neck or a numb leg because desk chairs are more ergonomically adjustable. It might cost you more, but it’s a small price to pay to keep your body in shape.

A NOTE ON ERGONOMICS:

To make the dining table plus office chair combo comfortable, you’ll need to find an office chair with a seat height 8-10″ lower than the top of your table. If your table is 30″ high, then you need a chair or stool with a seat that is 20-22″ high. A standing-height table is usually around 42″ high. So this means you’ll want a chair or stool with a seat that is 32-34″ high.

You have to make sure whatever you choose works for your body, so get the tape measure out and check before you buy! Ergonomics are important!

Here are 6 options for table and chair combos for your home office:

six pairs of dining tables and desk chairs in a grid

01 – THORALD LIVE EDGE DINING TABLE BROWN – THRESHOLD – TARGET – $449.99
HIGH BACK RIBBED PU LEATHER OFFICE CHAIR TALL EXECUTIVE COMPUTER DESK CONTEMPORARY BLACK – WALMART – $119.95

02 – LISABO TABLE, BLACK 803.824.39 – IKEA – $149.00
BUTTON TUFTED ADJUSTABLE UPHOLSTERED OFFICE CHAIR IN BEIGE – WALMART – $154.12

03 – RYDEBACK TABLE, WHITE BACKARYD WHITE 690.403.55 – IKEA – $109.00
ADRIENNE SWIVEL OFFICE CHAIR – TARGET – $225.99

04 – EKEDALEN BAR TABLE, BROWN 404.005.29 – IKEA – 199.00
30″ GELLER MODERN BARSTOOL IN SCALLOP TILE PINK – PROJECT 62 – TARGET – $176.99

05 – LISABO TABLE, ASH VENEER 702.943.39 – IKEA – $149.00
LANGFJALL OFFICE CHAIR WITH ARMRESTS, GUNNARED DARK GRAY, WHITE 192.527.76 – IKEA – $179.00

06 – MY ACTUAL DESKFANBYN BAR TABLE, WHITE 103.567.78 – IKEA – $169.00
MY ACTUAL OFFICE CHAIRHAWTHORNE COLLECTION DRAFTING STOOL IN BLACK – WALMART – $198.67

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Step two: get yourself organized

Just a little bit – we’re not going for a corporate office here. Simply a dedicated place to put those files that you don’t look at all the time, and a place to pin notes and to-do lists where you can see them. A small cabinet is also the perfect place to set up your printer if you have one.

I have also found over the past year that if I don’t have a physical pinboard to put reminders and plans on that I walk past every day, I simply don’t get those things done. Yes, I know, it IS just like Trello, but it’s IRL! Turns out, not everything is better online.

Here are 6 options for two-drawer file cabinets and good looking pin board combos for your home office:

six two-drawer file cabinets and pin board combos for your home office

01 – quartet 24×36 cork bulletin board black frame – target – $37.49
2 drawer file cabinet in black – pemberly row – target – $115.99

02 – mastervision value cork bulletin board with oak frame, 24×36, natural – walmart – $16.13
better homes & gardens crossmill lateral file, weathered finish – walmart – $175.00

03 – designovation bosc wall mounted bulletin board, 18.5″ x 27.5″ – walmart – $59.99
micke drawer unit / drop file storage, white 502.130.80 – ikea – $59.99

04 – 20″ x 26″ calter pinboard gold – kate and laurel – target – $64.99
steel 2 drawer file cabinet in light grey-hirsh industries – target – $299.00

05 – felt bulletin presentation boards – ubrands – target – $10.49
erik drawer unit with 2 drawers on casters, white 301.518.08 – ikea – 69.99

06 – my actual pinboard20″x 26″ bosc fabric pinboard white – design ovation – target – $64.99
my actual cabinet (I changed the pulls) – oxford chestnut 28.5in file cabinet – home depot – $134.00

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Step three: add some architecture

Balancing scale in any space is so important because your mind will know when a room doesn’t feel right, even if you can’t put your finger on why. An easy way to make your space feel cozy and “right” is by adding a taller element like a bookcase.

I like the visual interest that a bookcase can bring, especially the when bookcase is interesting on its own. It’s the perfect place to add some more decorative items – even, shockingly enough, books. In addition, using some closed storage boxes for the office bits and bobs can keep you organized while also looking stylish.

Here are 6 bookcase and storage box combos to make your home office feel balanced:

6 pairs of bookcase and storage boxes for your home office

01 – Glasgow 5 shelf metal bookcase black – project 62 – target – $139.99
household essentials canvas cube storage box – natural large – target – $12.99 each

02 – 68″ taft 5 shelf bookcase rustic/black – threshold – target – $139.99
storage solutions woven strap storage bin for closet, bedroom, and laundry organization – large ivory – walmart – $15.99 each

03 – kallax shelf unit, walnut effect light gray 103.604.31 – ikea – $69.99
whitmor rattique 3 piece basket set – gray – walmart – $23.98 / set of 3

04 – billy bookcase, brown ash veneer 703.233.51 – ikea – 69.00
circle shelf – pillowfort – gold – target – $34.99
kvarnik box, set of 3 gray 602.566.63 – ikea – $17.99 / set of 3

05 – 65.9″ siebert 4 shelf vertical bookcase – project 62 – white – target – $189.99
modrn naturals woven storage boxes, set of 3 – walmart – $50.00 / set of 3

06 – my actual bookcasesbilly bookcase, brown ash veneer 303.233.53 – ikea – $79.00
my actual storage boxessnap-n-store letter size box file – black – target – $15.99 each

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Step four: Light and sound

Is this maybe the most important step? Having the music playing OUT LOUD, and surrounding yourself with the lighting you want may go the furthest to making your space satisfying. I know it does for me. Lights and music are the first things I turn on in the morning, and the last to shut off at night.

Here are 6 ‘desk’ lamps and BlueTooth speakers to bring your home office to life:

6 pairs of lamps and bluetooth speakers for your home office

01 – modrn mid-century asymmetrical table lamp – walmart – $69.00
sylvania portable bluetooth retro-design fabric speaker (sand) – walmart – $47.78

02 – mainstays washed wood table lamp – walmart – $24.94
heyday cylinder portable bluetooth speaker with strap – target – $49.99

03 – better homes & gardens white wash faceted faux wood table lamp – walmart – $24.94
motile portable bluetooth wireless speaker – white – walmart – $34.99

04 – better homes & gardens marble base table lamp, brushed brass finish – walmart – $24.99
heyday small portable bluetooth speaker with loop – pink/gold – target – $19.99

05 – allianit table lamp with led bulb 304.270.58 – ikea – $54.99
TIC anaklia portable indoor bluetooth speaker wood grain (BB1) – target – $89.99

06 – my actual desk lamp geneva glass globe accent lamp brass – project 62 – target – $34.99
my actual bluetooth speakertewell bluetooth speaker with HD 24W audio, extended bass and treble, knob for volume control, toggle switch and 3.5mm AUX input – amazon – $39.99

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Step 5: bring your personality in

This is the beauty of your OWN office – it can reflect YOU! And contrary to popular corporate office belief, you can still get work done sitting in a comfy chair with your feet up. With some storage thrown in for good measure. And again, these are pieces that can work anywhere in your home should your situation change in the future.

Here are 6 armchair and storage ottoman combos to bring comfort and personality to your home office:

6 armchair and storage ottoman pairs for your home office

01 – faith mid-century upholstered accent chair – spice carrot – target – $314.00 (I have this chair in light blue in my living room and it’s very comfy for such a small scale chair!)
round storage ottoman homepop – light gray – target – $104.99

02 – cheswold wingback chair – threshold – target – $299.99 (OBSESSED WITH THIS CHAIR)
skirted storage ottoman – skyline furniture – forest – target – $209.99

03 – anastasia tufted chair – christopher knight home – dark blue – target – $479.99
cole classics round storage ottoman flared wood leg – homepop – blue – target – $99.99

04 – modrn marni barrel accent chair, multiple colors – ivory – walmart – $349.00
sachsia pleated velvet ottoman with brass base – opalhouse – blush pink – target – $79.99

05 – natalee chair – cloth & co. – rust – target – $629.99
johar furniture designs4comfort round accent storage ottoman – white – target – $74.99

06 – my actual armchair (albeit in Ivory, which is no longer available)jackson wingback chair – threshold – ivory – target – $269.99
my actual storage ottomanlarge round tufted storage ottoman – homepop – dark tan – target – $89.99

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how to put your home office together

So now that you’ve seen all the pieces, let’s review each of the 6 sets pulled together into a board for each:

moodboard showing furniture for a home office showing a retro red-orange chair, grey menswear fabric ottoman, raw edge walnut table, black eames style office chair and a black metal bookcase

$1,425.16 BEFORE S&H + TAX, WITHOUT ANY SALES

THORALD LIVE EDGE DINING TABLE BROWN – THRESHOLD – TARGET – $449.99
HIGH BACK RIBBED PU LEATHER OFFICE CHAIR TALL EXECUTIVE COMPUTER DESK CONTEMPORARY BLACK – WALMART – $119.95
quartet 24×36 cork bulletin board black frame – target – $37.49
2 drawer file cabinet in black – pemberly row – target – $115.99
Glasgow 5 shelf metal bookcase black – project 62 – target – $139.99
household essentials canvas cube storage box – natural large – target – $12.99 each
modrn mid-century asymmetrical table lamp – walmart – $69.00
sylvania portable bluetooth retro-design fabric speaker (sand) – walmart – $47.78
faith mid-century upholstered accent chair – spice carrot – target – $314.00
round storage ottoman homepop – light gray – target – $104.99

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moodboard showing furniture for a home office with a black desk, weathered wood furniture a buffalo check armchair and a forest green velvet ottoman

$1,236.13 BEFORE S&H + TAX, WITHOUT ANY SALES

LISABO TABLE, BLACK 803.824.39 – IKEA – $149.00
BUTTON TUFTED ADJUSTABLE UPHOLSTERED OFFICE CHAIR IN BEIGE – WALMART – $154.12
mastervision value cork bulletin board with oak frame, 24×36, natural – walmart – $16.13
better homes & gardens crossmill lateral file, weathered finish – walmart – $175.00
68″ taft 5 shelf bookcase rustic/black – threshold – target – $139.99
storage solutions woven strap storage bin for closet, bedroom, and laundry organization – large ivory – walmart – $15.99 each
better homes & gardens white wash faceted faux wood table lamp – walmart – $24.94
motile portable bluetooth wireless speaker – white – walmart – $34.99
cheswold wingback chair – threshold – target – $299.99
skirted storage ottoman – skyline furniture – forest – target – $209.99

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moodboard showing home office furniture with a grey wood bookcase, white desk, and navy blue tufted chair with blue patterned ottoman

$1,188.85 BEFORE S&H + TAX, WITHOUT ANY SALES

RYDEBACK TABLE, WHITE BACKARYD WHITE 690.403.55 – IKEA – $109.00
ADRIENNE SWIVEL OFFICE CHAIR – TARGET – $225.99
designovation bosc wall mounted bulletin board, 18.5″ x 27.5″ – walmart – $59.99
micke drawer unit / drop file storage, white 502.130.80 – ikea – $59.99
kallax shelf unit, walnut effect light gray 103.604.31 – ikea – $69.99
whitmor rattique 3 piece basket set – gray – walmart – $23.98 / set of 3
better homes & gardens white wash faceted faux wood table lamp – walmart – $24.94
motile portable bluetooth wireless speaker – white – walmart – $34.99
anastasia tufted chair – christopher knight home – dark blue – target – $479.99
cole classics round storage ottoman flared wood leg – homepop – blue – target – $99.99

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moodboard showing furniture for a home office with warm brown woods, brass accents and a pink chair and ottoman

$1,335.93 BEFORE S&H + TAX, WITHOUT ANY SALES

EKEDALEN BAR TABLE, BROWN 404.005.29 – IKEA – 199.00
30″ GELLER MODERN BARSTOOL IN SCALLOP TILE PINK – PROJECT 62 – TARGET – $176.99
20″ x 26″ calter pinboard gold – kate and laurel – target – $64.99
steel 2 drawer file cabinet in light grey-hirsh industries – target – $299.00
billy bookcase, brown ash veneer 703.233.51 – ikea – 69.00
circle shelf – pillowfort – gold – target – $34.99
kvarnik box, set of 3 gray 602.566.63 – ikea – $17.99 / set of 3
better homes & gardens marble base table lamp, brushed brass finish – walmart – $24.99
heyday small portable bluetooth speaker with loop – pink/gold – target – $19.99
modrn marni barrel accent chair, multiple colors – ivory – walmart – $349.00
sachsia pleated velvet ottoman with brass base – opalhouse – blush pink – target – $79.99

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moodboard showing furniture for a home office with modern grey and white bookcase and file cabinet, a light ash desk and a modern terrazzo print chair in shades of pink

$1,498.43 BEFORE S&H + TAX, WITHOUT ANY SALES

LISABO TABLE, ASH VENEER 702.943.39 – IKEA – $149.00
LANGFJALL OFFICE CHAIR WITH ARMRESTS, GUNNARED DARK GRAY, WHITE 192.527.76 – IKEA – $179.00
felt bulletin presentation boards – ubrands – target – $10.49
erik drawer unit with 2 drawers on casters, white 301.518.08 – ikea – 69.99
65.9″ siebert 4 shelf vertical bookcase – project 62 – white – target – $189.99
modrn naturals woven storage boxes, set of 3 – walmart – $50.00 / set of 3
allianit table lamp with led bulb 304.270.58 – ikea – $54.99
TIC anaklia portable indoor bluetooth speaker wood grain (BB1) – target – $89.99
natalee chair – cloth & co. – rust – target – $629.99
johar furniture designs4comfort round accent storage ottoman – white – target – $74.99

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And finally, my home office:

moodboard showing furnishing for a transitional office scheme with warm brown woods, ivory & tan upholstery and retro accents

$1,112.60 BEFORE S&H + TAX, WITHOUT ANY SALES – AND I NEVER EVER BUY SOMETHING IF IT’S NOT ON SALE!

FANBYN BAR TABLE, WHITE 103.567.78 – IKEA – $169.00
HAWTHORNE COLLECTION DRAFTING STOOL IN BLACK – WALMART – $198.67
20″x 26″ bosc fabric pinboard white – design ovation – target – $64.99
oxford chestnut 28.5in file cabinet – home depot – $134.00 (I changed the pulls)
billy bookcase, brown ash veneer 303.233.53 – ikea – $79.00
snap-n-store letter size box file – black – target – $15.99 each
geneva glass globe accent lamp brass – project 62 – target – $34.99
tewell bluetooth speaker with HD 24W audio, extended bass and treble, knob for volume control, toggle switch and 3.5mm AUX input – amazon – $39.99
jackson wingback chair – threshold – target – $269.99 (shown in Ivory, which is no longer available)
large round tufted storage ottoman – homepop – dark tan – target – $89.99

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I truly hope this helps you figure out how to make your home office work for you. And as always, if you ever need help figuring it all out, LET ME KNOW! I’m here to help!

pinterest pin for 5 easy steps to plan your home office

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get the free download

How to Find & Work With Trades

guide to a successful reno

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Detailed planner, seasoned shopper, & thoughtful creator of solutions for the overwhelming home projects in your busy life.

I'm Mel!

hey there

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