A home office has always been a coveted space. With remote work on the rise, an office space is a hot commodity that many potential home buyers are looking out for.
In addition to being an ideal work-from-home space, a home office provides a dedicated space for managing household tasks like bills and homework. It can be a space that motivates and inspires creativity as well.
This multi-functional space is a significant asset to any home on today’s market. Many times, it’s the first or second room buyers request to see during a walk-through of the property, which is why staging a home office requires careful thought and consideration.
If your house doesn’t have an office space already, you can set one up easily in any spare or awkward area, such as a small room without a closet or a loft space. You can make it work as long as there’s an electrical outlet and WiFi capability.
When you’re ready to stage your home office, or that of a clients, follow the tips below to create the perfect space.
De-Personalize and Declutter
The number-one rule for staging any room is to de-personalize and declutter the space, and there’s no exception when staging a home office.
If you’re staging an office that’s actively being used, keep daily accumulation out of sight and be especially careful not to leave any calendars, confidential information, or valuable objects out.
You’ll also want to clear the space of personal items like certifications and family photos.
Hide electrical cords from view to make the room more aesthetically pleasing.
Focus on Furniture Essentials
The office is often one of the first rooms a potential buyer will enter when checking out the property.
This multi-functional space should be staged to showcase its potential functionality and ability to inspire as well as its square footage.
Rather than evoking a corporate setting, it should be set with furniture that fits in with the property’s style.
The most common rule for home staging follows the simple mantra; less is more. When staging your home office, focus on furniture essentials and remove any items you don’t need. The only items an office really needs are a desk, a chair, and an area rug.
Some larger offices can also benefit from a bookcase or storage unit. If there are some extra pieces of furniture that you can’t remove, be sure that their surfaces are clutter-free and that they blend with a neutral color scheme.
Keep it Organized
When staging a home office, it’s important to help potential buyers be able to imagine using the space for their own work or hobbies.
You can do this by removing everything from the desk except for a few key items, such as a cup of pens, a notebook, a laptop or computer, and a desk lamp.
Anyone who wants a home office is likely to want an organized home office. Keep this in mind when staging yours.
Without cluttering the space, use things like bulletin boards, baskets, racks, and holders to remind potential buyers of the organizational potential that your home office has.
Create a Neutral Color Palette
Another critical guideline for home staging is to create a neutral color scheme.
When you show your home, you never know what types of people will be walking through to see it. The neutral color rule helps ensure that your room appeals to the broadest range of personality types possible. It’s also easier for people to imagine their own décor in a neutral-colored room rather than one that’s boldly colored.
To make the room cohesive, choose a neutral primary accent color. This color will determine the other colors you’ll use in the room.
Choose an area rug in the primary accent color and add it to the room at least three times, such as in the desk chair and a piece of artwork, before deciding on a coordinating color for the rest of the room.
While the focus should be on neutral colors, bright colors do provide an injection of energy and inspiration in a home office. If you want to add some bright colors to the space, be sure to add them in small bursts using accessories throughout the room. Don’t use them on the walls or any large pieces of furniture or accessories.
Get the Lighting Right
Every office needs the proper lighting.
Overhead lights, lamps, and task lighting should be placed strategically throughout the room to supplement or replace natural lighting. Even if your home office has windows that provide lots of natural lighting, be sure to turn on all the lights and open the curtains during walkthroughs.
A well-lit workspace looks cleaner, larger, more functional, and friendlier, which is especially important for office spaces that don’t have windows or for any office in the winter.
When choosing the lighting for your home office, add some LEDs. There are many reasons why this type of lighting is the most popular today – they’re bright, quiet, energy-efficient, and don’t generate heat.
For a modern touch, consider adding some LED strip lighting on the underside of a shelf or row of cabinets.
When staging a home office, it’s important to accessorize wisely.
You’ll want to use accessories to fill in the blanks and bring the room to life without adding too much personality. Do this by hanging some neutral-colored artwork on the walls, placing a plant on a shelf or bookcase, and hanging some neutral-colored curtains over windows if your office has them.
Choose accessories that will help your office look and feel more comfortable than corporate. Some great additions to consider include:
- Wall art
- Throw Pillows
- Plant Life
While all of these might be a little too much, especially for smaller rooms, strategically placing a few of them throughout the room can add the perfect amount of personality.
What Not to Do
Now that you know some of the best ways to stage your home office, keep the following rules of what not to do in mind as you set the space:
- Unless you live in a rare place where the air quality and temperature are comfortable and consistent all year, don’t locate your office anywhere there isn’t an option for climate control throughout the year. For example, if you’re staging a home office in a room above the garage, ensure you add a source for auxiliary heat or a window air conditioner.
- While many buyers are looking for a home office, most people would value additional storage space over an extra room to work. For that reason, don’t turn a closet into an office.
- If an office space will crowd a bedroom and detract from its appeal as a restful retreat, don’t try to squeeze a home office into a small bedroom.
- While it might be tempting to make something like a table or desk out of cheap materials like cardboard storage units topped with a piece of particle board, don’t give in to the temptation to skimp on furniture appearance to save money. The finished product will look shabby and actually end up devaluing your home.
- Don’t make the office gender specific. Stay neutral so that it will appeal to both male and female homebuyers.