This blog post is sponsored by Desenio. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
Law School is out and I will finally be starting my training contract with a London law firm in August.
However, I’ll still be working on my blog alongside this so I was very keen to create a space that I could feel really productive and energised in for when I am working at home.
For me that means a bright, clear space with all my gadgets close by, lots of stationery and the odd motivational quote.
I’m lucky in that my parents converted our loft into a liveable space a few years ago so now I have a bedroom-cum-reading-space-cum-office all rolled into one up here. (I think they just wanted to get me and my books out of the way…)
Even though I’ve been studying and working from home for the past few years, I’ve never paid much attention to the desk space, leaving it hidden under piles and piles of books.
I’d work in my bed, on the floor or in the dining room, but never at my own desk!
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This weekend I finally cleared all the crap off my desk, created a beautiful gallery wall and organised all the things I actually want and need for blogging in the space.
So without further ado, here are all my small home office essentials to maximise productivity:
Small Office Interior Design
Create an inspiring gallery wall
It is my absolute dream to have an office with a view out over the sea or countryside one day but alas for the moment it’s just me and a solid white wall.
I’ve been wanting to decorate this wall properly with lovely framed prints and have had my eye on those from Desenio for years.
So, when choosing my prints I decided to bring a little bit of the sea to me. There are so many gorgeous nautical and marine-inspired prints on the Desenio website but I eventually settled for this beautiful picture of the pink ocean at dusk.
I also selected a motivational quote about worrying less and living more, a cute London townhouse and a beautiful spiral staircase. With the copper frames, this makes for quite a nice minimalist, pink/white/grey theme.
The key to a great gallery wall is to pick lots of different sized frames with prints of the same theme or complimentary colours. The Desenio website has a gallery wall function where you can play around with different pre-made layouts and designs.
I honestly spent hours on here making different combinations and imagining a different wall for each room of my imaginary future house. Imaginary because have you seen London house prices?
I was quite worried about nailing all the frames to the wall since it is a plasterboard wall and therefore not as strong as the original house walls. Then I discovered Command strips, which are super strong stickers that supposedly don’t leave any marks on the wall when you want to remove them.
These rose gold frames I selected have quite a thin ridge all the way around the back that is only around a third of the width of the stickers so I was also quite nervous that this wouldn’t hold but so far, so good!
I’m really impressed by these stickers and will be using them around the rest of the house now instead of fiddling with hammers and nails.
Pick a suitable chair
A comfortable chair that supports your back is essential if you’re working from home and sat down for half the day. I’m a big fan of swivel chairs so you can roll and turn with ease to reach what you need in your office.
Make sure you pick one that is height adjustable too otherwise your desk choice will be constrained by the chair height. I don’t know about you but I just can’t work properly when my knees are knocking against the table or my arms are straining for the keyboard.
If you’re worried about back problems, you can invest in an ergonomic chair. These are specifically designed to relieve back pain and reduce likelihood of any physical problems stemming from too much work at your desk.
Try not to pick one that’s too comfy though – you don’t want to be falling sleep at your desk!
Maximise desk surface area
I like to sprawl out all my books, to-do lists, notebooks etc on the desk with my computer so having a desk space with a large surface area is important to me. I also wanted lots of space under the desk so that there’s space for my swivel chair and possibly a printer too.
My printer now sits just to the side of my desk but if I wanted to save space it would slot nicely under the desk and still give me enough room to move around.
Maximising storage space is also important when considering what the best small office interior design is. I wanted a clear space under my desk so I wasn’t interested in a desk with drawers going down to the floor.
Instead, I opted for one with the drawers underneath the top of the desk that were sufficiently deep for these drawers to hold quite a lot of space. These drawers look quite thin and aren’t very noticeable since they don’t have drawer knobs.
However, I’ve managed to fit all my stationery (there’s a lot..) and all my wires, chargers etc. int these two drawers.
At the back of the desk there’s even a subtle flap of wood which lifts up so you can hide all your computer wires in. Win!
Office Desk Essentials
Shop for fun stationery
You know before a new term at school when you go crazy and buy lots of new pretty stationery that you definitely don’t need?
Well I didn’t see why those habits should be confined to my schoolgirl days so I kitted my home office out with lots of fun stationery.
Buy a pencil pot and fill it with lots of pens (that actually work) and sharpened pencils so you’re always ready when inspiration strikes. Don’t forget the little things like paper clips, pins, rubber bands, post-its and more.
You’ll obviously need a to-do list pad and a daily planner too to make sure you stay on top of all your work. If your work largely revolves around all things digital then it can be great to have a physical notebook or planner to brainstorm ideas and such.
Plus, it’s just super satisfying to physically tick things off your to-do list!
My desk has two long drawers underneath it that are perfect for storing these office desk essentials and means it’s always close by when you need it.
Buy a second screen
I’ve had a 13″ Macbook pro for a long time now and whilst I love how portable this laptop is, the screen can be a little small if you’re trying to manage a few different tasks at once.
I decided to buy a wide desktop screen which I can plug my laptop into so that I can use both screens and look at lots of different tools at once. This is especially handy if you do a lot of photo or video editing as it’s a lot easier to see the details on a bigger screen.
I’ve got a 24 inch monitor from HP which cost around £150 but there are cheaper options out there for those on a budget, and more expensive options for those that need screens with the best resolution. Buying a second monitor is much cheaper than buying a whole new desktop computer so I’d really recommend it.
Of course you won’t be able to work from your bed if you want to make use of the second screen so I guess it’ll make you even more productive too!
This is also great for watching Netflix on one screen and reading emails on the other #multitasking.
Organise your receipts, invoices, bills etc.
I’m sure every self-employed person will agree that there are few tasks more tedious than filing our tax returns at the end of the year. Old receipts are strewn all over the house, invoices are in random piles.. It isn’t pretty.
I bought myself a receipts tin to keep track of all my expenses so when it comes to filing my tax return I can just go through each one and add the relevant amounts to my spreadsheet. Try to keep them in chronological order to make processing them simpler. It’s quite therapeutic once you get into it!
This means I know exactly where the receipts are when the end of the tax year rolls by and should I ever need to show them to someone or reference an old one, I’ve got each year’s receipts all together.
The same goes for invoices, bills, contracts and other important paper documents you need for your business.
Invest in Smart Technology
I was gifted a Google home a while ago and I use it every day in the evenings when I want to do simple tasks without picking up my phone. I use it to activate my meditation app, play relaxing music, set alarms and more.
Smart technology can also come in handy on a busy day when working from home too.
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If you’re about to head out to a meeting and need to know if there’s any traffic, just ask Google.
I’m the sort of person who likes to think out loud so being able to ask the Google home a question without having to click away from whatever I’m working on already is a big bonus.
The Google home’s capabilities are quite impressive already but I’m super excited to see where smart tech takes us in the next few years. I’ve not tried Amazon’s Echo Dot, aka Alexa, myself but that is another very similar product you could look into.
Fill your office with books!
Obviously, as a book blogger, my office space is going to be filled with books. But no matter what your job is, I think it’s important to surround yourself with physical resources that you need to reference or books that inspire you.
I’m a bit of a self-help books addict so I’ve got plenty of personal growth books that I can reach for when I need a burst of motivation.
Plus, books make great decorative items and I always feel more inspired to work when surrounded by lots of them!
Check out this post for reasons you should always carry a book with you.
Follow @desenio on Instagram for more inspiration!
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