Shop the Show: Do Your Home Work
This summer, a curated group of leading lifestyle voices -- our Shop the Show alumni -- will steer us toward the most inspiring, functional and beautiful finds for today’s new, home-oriented lifestyles from brands you can shop at Atlanta Market. Join us and our alumni as we explore the summer’s top trends for all aspects of home life.
In 2020, working from home has officially transformed from a luxury to a full-on lifestyle. With travel limited for the foreseeable future and new methods of telecommuting expanding every day, having a home space dedicated to working is now a necessity. As many of us ease into the brand new routines of the home office, there is a growing desire to get creative about our living and working spaces. Efficiency and flexibility are essential, but a sense of beauty still remains a priority. Our Shop the Show experts weigh in on their top picks for creating an inspirational home workspace that maximizes both fun and functionality.
Keeping it Flexible
As many of us settle into new at-home rhythms — answering emails from the kitchen table, connecting virtually with colleagues during homeschool breaks — we’re also getting creative about our living spaces. While some have fully equipped home offices complete with sleek modern desks and shelving, for others (many of whom had never worked a single day from home until recently) a home workspace means a laptop perched on a coffee table. Several of our Shop the Show alumni shared their challenges and must-have essentials to create a functional workspace at home. In some cases, it meant finding creative solutions (and a sense of humor) in the face of less-than-perfect circumstances. “For a while, I was working on my bed,” says Brittany Watson Jepsen, explaining, “we have a small apartment, so I was making it work until I realized I needed a proper place to situate myself.” A desk that had been in storage turned out to be too large to fit anywhere but the closet. “So, as I type this,” she finishes, “I’m writing in my closet. Ha! Sometimes you just need a spot to sit down properly.”
For interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn, multi-purpose furniture is a lifesaver. “Occasional tables that double as seating are getting a ton of use at my house,” he says. Sturdy ottomans, poufs and accent tables are the ultimate design chameleons as they’re easily moveable and can be reimagined as seating, desk space, foot support and more in the blink of an eye. “Any room that has a piece of furniture with a lot of surface space,” adds Brian, “can easily become a work room or a studio.” On days when the weather is especially nice, he adds, he often relocates outside to a covered patio and uses its huge coffee table as a place to spread out samples and room designs.
“I think multipurpose furniture is a must-have. Anything that can serve more than one purpose is hugely helpful.” - Brian Patrick Flynn
Often, home is not only the office, but also the playroom and even the schoolhouse, leaving many wondering how to improve function in their spaces, while also creating relaxing retreats to escape to once the work day is done. The key, say our experts, is to start by getting organized. New York Times bestselling authors and celebrity organizers Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin of The Home Edit advise creating a dedicated workspace that can be easily stored or hidden away once working hours end. An attractive rolling kitchen or bar cart can be used as a mobile desk, or a cabinet can become a designated storage space for files, folders and bins relating to work projects. Blogger and interior designer Julia Marcum of Chris Loves Julia agrees. “Pick a spot,” she says, and “set up your computer and all of your gear around you as neatly as you can.” Cute baskets, bins and totes are her favorite way to corral projects at the end of the day, but no matter what you do, she advises, an end-of-the-day decluttering is crucial. “Make sure everything is put away at the end of the day,” she urges. “When you ‘clock’ out, home should feel like home again.”
For those working from home with your children around, finding order can be especially challenging. “If your space allows,” offers lifestyle blogger and mother Liz Marie Galvan, “we found it helpful to designate some areas in the house to specific tasks.” In her home, this solution meant closing off small areas in her home for her young toddler to play in, and repurposing a spare bedroom as the “toy room” that can get messy while the rest of the house stays relatively tidy. “This way,” she says, “come the end of the day, it isn’t a full house of chaos and mess, and you can try to relax.”
“Do yourself a favor and de-clutter so you have room to work. Take the dining room table back! You deserve to eat dinner in this room!” - Julia Marcum
Fun Meets Functional
Finally, no one wants to work for hours a day inside a blank, featureless box whether it’s at the office or at home, so it’s essential to leave room for the pretty things! The ideal home office is equipped with all the essentials like a classic desk, stylish seating and practical task lighting, but there’s room for so much more — designer Mat Sanders suggests investing in quality lighting for all those upcoming video calls! Splashes of bright color and fun accessories like desk calendars, bookends and statement paperweights are a welcome addition to any workspace. Like home itself, an office reflects the one who uses it, so they are a wonderful place to display a little personality and humor.
“Get a good ring light for your computer! People that excel at video conferences will rise to the top in the new world. Why not look your best?” - Mat Sanders
Create the Ultimate Home Work Space, with Clea & Joanna of The Home Edit
We checked in with our master organizers for a quick checklist of tips to create their ultimate home workspace:
- - Designate a permanent workspace, but create a functional system for storing those items during non-work hours. This could mean outfitting a rolling cart with your essentials and storing it in a closet. It can also mean clearing out a cabinet and repurposing it with file boxes and bins for supplies. Either way, keep these items within their categories so they remain easily accessible.
- - Tame your cords so they don’t take up your workspace. We like using cord wraps in different colors to identify each device.
- - Create a docking/charging device for your phone, iPad, and laptop with a mail sorter and USB hub.
- - Use paper trays and file boxes as a system for ongoing projects and those that can be filed away.
- - Make sure to label everything so you don’t have to spend any time looking for items during your work day.
“It’s important to find your routine. Designating a permanent work space and creating a system around your tasks will help you get into a groove.” - Clea Shearer & Joanna Teplin
Stay tuned for our upcoming Shop the Show Alumni at Home series and be sure to register for our summer Atlanta Market, August 13-18.