As a freelancer for 5 years now, I used to spend a lot of time in coffee shops until I realized that buying two tall Café Lattes everyday plus a sandwich can get really expensive over time. So I decided to just work at home.

But because I wanted my workspace to be as conducive to working as possible, it took me a while to create a design. I’ve read dozens of design blogs and looked at numerous inspirations, like the condo developments of Stanton Renaissance, owned by Louie Santaguida. All these were necessary so I could come up with a beautiful home office.

Let me share with you what I’ve learned:

1. You don’t have to follow the norm. It’s important to know what you really want and if you prefer creativity, then go ahead and re-invent the wheel. If something works for you, then go for it. In my case, I didn’t use a corkboard for reminders and my to-do lists. Instead, I used a clothesline across my wall to hang my little reminders secured with a clothespin. Check out Etsy and Pinterest for some creative, innovative and sometimes crazy ideas.

2. Go for Zen designs. I had to re-arrange my home office three times until I got it right. So, to be on the safe side, start with a clean design so you can easily modify or re-arrange later on. Besides, with a Zen design you’re able to think more clearly because you don’t see a lot of distractions around you. Keep your office furniture to a minimum and only put essential decorations and furnishings in the room.

3. Plants are a good idea.

Studies have shown that plants can positively affect your mood. They reduce stress, raise your productivity, improve your focus and even lower your blood pressure among other things. But that’s not all. Plants also clean the air and boost oxygen level. Buy plants that can grow and thrive indoors and are low maintenance.

4. Allow lots of natural light to come in.

As freelancers, we tend to work mad hours. Sometimes we work from 7AM to 4PM, other times we work from 4PM to 1AM. But, I’ve realized that when I’m in Starbucks and sit near the window, I tend to be more productive. Turns out, there’s actually a scientific explanation for this. According to a study conducted by researchers from University of Texas, people who work in daylight are able to focus better than those who work with fluorescent and other unnatural light sources. Now you know!

In the end, only you can decide what design will work for you. The key is to know what you really want and to do your homework before you start buying stuff for your new home office.

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