If you’ve ventured into the magical realm of freelancing, chances are you know that your home office space is more than just a bunch of furniture—it’s a sanctuary for your creativity.
After all, why else did you start freelancing and working from home in the first place? Perhaps to work on your laptop in your cozy socks and candle-lit desk, or to have more flexibility for your creative career. ?
As more creative multi-hyphenates are discovering the joys (and challenges!) of a freelance career, it’s more important than ever that we’re setting ourselves and our spaces up for optimal success— creating an environment where we feel inspired, productive, and in our fullest imaginative state.
After we moved into our new place, I experimented a lot with my home office setup. Its past life was a dining room, so it had two doorways and no doors, which made it a little more difficult to find just the right spot that was open enough to feel free, but cozy enough to feel focused. Eventually, after 2 paint jobs, I found one of my favorite colors— Thistle, by Sherwin Williams— and finally created a space that inspires me and makes me want to stay all day in my cozy little space!
So today, we’re diving deep into how your home office as a freelancer can be more than just a room you work in, but your own inspiring, dreamy, comfortable work environment.
And oh, we’re not just talking about where to put your desk or what office chair to buy; we’re going on a full-fledged journey of inspiration, so you can feel your fullest level of inspiration every time you walk in, and create your own little freelancer’s paradise.
Step 1: Know your freelancer home office essentials.
What every home office needs
Before we dive into your work dreamland, let’s talk basics. Even the most whimsical of offices need to have a strong foundation so you can have the furniture and flow to freelance freely (say that five times fast) and build a beautiful lifestyle and workflow for yourself each and every day! Here are some of the basics for your cute little principal place of business:
1. Ergonomic + comfy furniture
A desk, a chair— they’re not just pieces of furniture that you can buy anywhere for any price; they’re your comrades in this freelance journey, helping you create your most productive working environment.
A standing desk will hold all your tech and tools and let you sit or stand easily, and a comfortable chair, well, you know. ? These are the pieces you’ll want to splurge on, but they won’t really be a splurge at all—just an investment in your long-term success and comfort.
A desk that holds enough of your things (and has the option to lift and lower!) is ideal, so you can find a comfortable spot sitting or standing. And a chair with lumbar support (bonus points if it’s wide enough for you to sit cross-cross applesauce so you can stretch your hips) is A necessity.
2. Good lighting
Trust me, dim or harsh lighting is a creativity killer. And c’mon, who wants their home office to feel like Home Depot? Opt for a space that has good natural light, and use color-changing lights like Wiz lights (these are the ones in our home!) throughout your work area and for lights like your desk lamp so you can switch the mood around whenever you’d like, from bright and focused to calm and soothing to autumn, spring, pastels, party, and so much more.
3. Decor and colors that inspire you
Decor isn’t just about aesthetics, or buying the most expensive things; it’s the soul of your room, the essence that keeps your creative juices flowing. You can find something you love in the store just as much as you can find one at the thrift store or at an estate sale.
Then, choosing the right color is like picking the perfect background music for a movie, setting the tone for your daily freelancing endeavors in a way that works for you. Drenching your walls in a color that makes your heart sing certainly makes me feel inspired and happy to work— kind of like my working space is your oyster. ?
And much as paint seems permanent, your decor and color choices are never set in stone. Switch things around as you evolve in your freelance journey, and see what works and what doesn’t so you can opt for optimal productivity in your beautiful zone.
After all, changing, shifting, ebbing, and flowing is the natural essence of a freelancing life anyway— so why not bring that same approach to your freelance business space?
Step 2: Get design inspiration.
Pick your design style and mood board
Now that we’ve got the essentials down, let’s talk about the fun part—designing. ✨
Your freelancer home office should reflect your favorite Pinterest boards, your most loved influencers, and your favorite tones, books, words, and colors. It should be a reflection of you— whether that’s a feminine cottagecore, deep, mystical tone, or a hygge bohemian.
Here are 5 design styles that might help get the wheels turning if you feel a little stuck ?
A tranquil countryside cottage, surrounded by vintage furniture and floral prints. Cottagecore is all about embracing nature, nostalgia, and simplicity.
2. Dark academia
Surround yourself with dark wood, leather-bound books, and antique globes. If you love the feel of an old library or a scholarly study, a dark academia space is for you.
3. Moody + witchy
If you’re enchanted by the mysterious and adore candles, crystals, and celestial themes, you’re perfect in the witchy and moody style, making your space into a magical sanctuary.
4. Boho (bohemian)
Eclectic vibes, cultural pieces, and bursts of color fill a truly boho room. Throw in a macramé wall hanging, and some patterned rugs, and you’re in your most boho vibe yet.
5. Hygge + cozy
You know those rainy days when all you want to do is cuddle up with a blanket and a hot cuppa? The Hygge style embodies this warmth in a workspace setting, with muted colors, soft throws, and candle-lit tones.
Step 3: Stick to a budget and be crafty: Know what to thrift and what to buy.
You have your essentials, you’ve picked your dream design style, and now, you have to put the pieces together to make the magick happen… with a budget! ?
If you ask me, having a budget for a project is fun! It’s forced me to get crafty— not just heading into Home Goods and buying everything new, but truly exploring the incredible pieces around my area.
Heading over to an estate sale on early Saturday mornings and finding a beautiful piece is a little like earning your stuffed animal from the claw machine— you’ve worked hard to get it, which makes it even more special, so go out there and venture around the thrift shops, garage sales, and estate houses in your area and see what you might find. ?
Since we already talked about buying a new (or finding a good one on Facebook Marketplace) desk and chair so your home office is functional and comfortable for your freelance work, let’s talk about the other pieces in your homely, creative space.
What to buy new (Facebook Marketplace, Etsy, or big box stores)
- An ergonomic desk chair, bought for both comfort and health. This will be what you’re sitting in the majority of the time you’re in here, so it’s important to get something that will support your back, not hurt it.
- A desk, with a button to lift or lower it. It’s wonderful to be able to have the ability to switch from sitting to standing without having to move locations so your body can stretch and flex while you’re working, and unfortunately, most vintage desks don’t have this option!
- Home office supplies, like your computer, keyboard, and mouse, and required office tools like a notebook, paperclips, binders, or anything else you might need that’s not stored in your computer.
- Lighting: Remember those WIZ lights we told you about earlier? Best to buy those new, as you probably won’t find anyone giving them away.
- A rug, as it’ll likely be difficult to find one that hasn’t been overly worn at a thrift shop. Sanitary-wise and health-wise, it’s best to find a rug made out of natural materials without toxic flame retardants or other synthetic dyes, which will be hard to find buying second-hand (although you can certainly look!).
What to thrift
- Furniture. Vintage cabinets and antiques can have a lot more character and are often more affordable when they’re thrifted, especially when you’re living in a newly-built home that doesn’t have lots of details like molding, glass doorknobs, wainscoting, or build-ins.
- Decor, which you can find whenever you go to your local thrift store or estate sale. This is a huge budget-friendly option with the ability to also truly make your space unique. Whereas a vase from Home Goods could cost $15 or $20, I’ve found adorable ones at Habitat for Humanity Restore for just $1!
- Certain textiles, as you might find beautiful intricate laces, blankets, and pillowcases that you can watch a few times and immediately add a curated look to your space.
Step 4: Play around with your home office set-up, arrangements, and style.
Now that we’ve picked a design and budgeted like pros, let’s get into the trial-and-error, the move-and-move-again, the play-around-with-it part! But it doesn’t have to all be in-person, especially when it comes to moving around heavy furniture.
Consider the following visual tools to place thought into the layout of your space before moving all the heavy things:
Spoak: an interior design tool made specifically for designing and planning out an interior to the T. Use this if you see yourself designing more rooms in the future.
Canva: a graphic design tool that can also be used for designing spaces, creating color palettes, and visually seeing your room from a more general point of view.
Once you’ve done a general plan, then you can move around and shift as you please. But hopefully, planning it out digitally first can help save you some of that heavy lifting. ?
Step 5: Organize à la Marie Kondo.
Organizing your space using the KonMari method is all about encouraging you to choose joy in your life and workspace, so your space is only filled with the right tools and items, and not filled to the brim with items you haven’t used in years.
- Read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy.
- Go through Marie’s tidying-up process throughout your entire home. The books and papers section will likely be the most relevant to your home office, so you can create a productive environment that’s clutter-free and simple to move around in.
- Keep like things together and alleviate visual labels. Marie’s methodology states that the same objects should be stored together so they’re easy to access, like having all receipts in one place, all jackets in one place, and all pots and pans in one place. She also says to get rid of shown tags and labels, like having an open-concept kitchen with oil bottles, cereal boxes, and other bright brand names out for display instead of tucked away.
Step 6: Clean and maintain your space… naturally.
As we sprinkle the finishing fairy dust on our dream freelancer home office, let’s not forget one crucial element: the energy and scent of the space! You’ve built an environment that nurtures your soul, so it’s only fair to return the favor by taking care of it with love and making it enjoyable to work in through all of your senses. ?
Functional arrangement: Keep things off the floor!
Keeping things off the floor might not technically be part of the KonMari philosophy, but if you’re like us and have an amazing robot vacuum, you’ll want to make it easy for it to clean as much as possible. Plus, alleviating items from your floor allows you to use that space to walk around more easily and feel more of a flow and a stronger ability to focus. ??
Use plant-based cleaners + good smells
- Disinfectant spray: 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 water, and 10-20 drops of tea tree oil or lavender oil
- Sodium Hypochlorite: an all-natural cleaning solution simply made from alkalized water and salt. This is the main ingredient in bleach (before they add all the toxic stuff) that does the disinfecting. We use it for everything in our house other than metal, as it oxidizes it. Use the coupon code VIOLET to get $50 off any product over $200!
Use natural + good smells
- DIY room spray: 1/2 water, 1/2 witch hazel, 10-20 drops of your favorite-smelling essential oil
- Natural candles: AireCandleCo Natural + Nontoxic Scented Beeswax Candle
- Natural incense: BRAHMAS Natural Sandalwood Incense
You’re practically there, having built an office that’s more than just a room, but a sanctuary that’s 100% you.
Whether you opted for a nature-inspired cottagecore room that makes you feel feminine, inspired, and nostalgic, something to look like an old library with deep, dark, and moody tones, or a mixture of many approaches, remember that this is your space, and at the end of the day, the only rule is to make it feel good for you. ?✨
Use these steps to help you springboard your biggest freelancer ideas so you can be abundant in your time, money, and joy! Your space is awaiting your creative touch, and I can’t wait to see what you do with it.
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