Could your work from home setup use a bit of an update?

Having the right home office essentials is a big part of creating a space that’s conducive to both productivity and creativity, and it can make all of the difference when it comes to how much you actually enjoy working from home.

For many of us, doing work at home is a new normal, rather than the way that it’s always been. And when that’s the case, taking a space that’s previously been used for other purposes and switching it over into your full-time home office can understandably be quite the transition. By this point, however, it’s been a year (or more) of working from home, and with little sign that we’re heading back to the traditional office anytime soon, now is a great time to find your best work from home setup if you haven’t already.

Whether you’re freelancing or full-timing it, working solo or spending your days fielding video meetings, here are the home office essentials that will help you be at your best day in and out—even if you’re wearing your pajama pants while you do it.

What You Need for a Great Work From Home Setup

The best work from home setup is one that provides you with all of the necessary items you need to feel great and work smarter, without all of the clutter that can stand in the way of true productivity.

The specific set up that will work for you depends on the size and structure of your home office (for example, a separate space versus just a corner of your kitchen table), as well as the tools that you need for your job. Starting from scratch? We’ve got you covered there, too. Here are the home office basics to consider as you design your perfect set up, with plenty of helpful hints along the way for picking out the right items.

1. A Practical Desk

Source: Instagram   @chaosandcalling    Your desk sets the backdrop for the rest of your setup, so make sure it’s the right size and style for your needs.
Source: Instagram @chaosandcalling Your desk sets the backdrop for the rest of your setup, so make sure it’s the right size and style for your needs.

If you’ve got an unused corner of your home, you’ve got space for a desk. Having a designated desk for work at home tasks can be hugely beneficial in terms of helping you switch in and out of productivity mode—especially if you’ve spent the past year fielding calls and completing assignments from your bed or couch.

What to Look For

So, what’s the best desk for a work from home office setup? That totally depends on your own preferences, but you’ll be glad to know that you have a ton of options when it comes to size, style, and price. Consider whether you want a sitting desk or a standing one (or one that can do both), as well as how the desk fits into the overall look of your space.

What it Costs

Expect to spend about $70 and up for a high-quality new desk, or hit up online marketplaces to score a great deal on something secondhand.

2. A Comfortable Chair

Source: Instagram   @gingerhearts    Choose a chair that’s comfortable enough to sit in all day but not so cushioned that it makes you want to fall asleep.
Source: Instagram @gingerhearts Choose a chair that’s comfortable enough to sit in all day but not so cushioned that it makes you want to fall asleep.

The right desk needs the right chair. Your home office chair is instrumental in helping you maintain your comfort—and your posture—over the course of the workday. And that’s key, since if you’re not comfortable, you’re likely not operating at top capacity.

What to Look For

Choose a chair that’s sized appropriately for your desk—and for your own body. Ideally, you want something that’s not so plush and roomy that you’ll fall asleep while typing but that’s comfy enough to allow you to work efficiently (and sans back and neck pain) for the entirety of your day.

What it Costs

Most office chairs cost between $100 and $400, though some run $1,000 or more depending on their ergonomics.

3. A Reliable Computer

Source: Instagram   @tiltedquillpublishing    A computer is a big expense, so be sure to do your research before you decide which one to buy. 
Source: Instagram @tiltedquillpublishing A computer is a big expense, so be sure to do your research before you decide which one to buy. 

Your computer is the command center of your work from home desk setup, and it’s crucial that it works when and how you need it to. Of course, you likely haven’t gotten this far into your work from home journey without one, but if you’re looking to update your office, then your computer might be the place to start.

What to Look For

Are you thinking Mac or PC? Desktop or laptop? Equally important, are you planning on just using your computer for work or do you also need it for things like gaming and video editing? All of these are serious considerations to keep in mind when buying a computer, and will play a big role in the utility of your work from home office setup.

What it Costs

The average cost of a new computer is around $650, with prices going up into the $1,000s depending on make, model, and features.

4. A Proper Light

Source: Instagram   @Article    Shine bright all day by supplementing natural light with a well-placed lamp. 
Source: Instagram @Article Shine bright all day by supplementing natural light with a well-placed lamp. 

If you can’t see, you can’t work. And even beyond that, the light that you choose for your home office can have a big impact on how you feel while you’re working, with a lack of light leading not just to squinty eyes and headaches but to the potential for poor mental health.

What to Look For

Aim to get as much natural light as you can for your work from home space. From there, invest in one or more accent lighting pieces that can serve to further brighten up the area and keep you alert. If you’re on a lot of video calls, a ring light might be an extra necessity. Alternately, consider a SAD lamp if you’re suffering from some work from home blues.

What it Costs

A stylish and functional desk lamp usually won’t run you more than $20 to $50, and the same goes for a ring light or SAD light.

5. A Good Set of Headphones

Source: Instagram   @audiostudent    It’s worth investing in a good pair of headphones if they’ll help you tune out chaos in your home. 
Source: Instagram @audiostudent It’s worth investing in a good pair of headphones if they’ll help you tune out chaos in your home. 

One of the biggest issues that work from homers have is that it can be tough to focus with kids, roommates, significant others, and/or pets around. A good workaround is to have a pair of headphones that can help you tune out the background noise and get into a work frame of mind, regardless of whether you opt for music, a podcast, or just some good ol’ silence.

What to Look For

Decide if you want to go wire-free or not with your headphones, as well as if you’re looking for a noise cancelling option or just a set that will tamper down the volume of whatever is going on around you.

What it Costs

You get what you pay for with headphones, so look for the best quality within your budget. $50 is a good place to start, with noise-cancelling headphones coming in a bit pricier at around $200 or more.

6. A Handy Desk Organizer

Source: Instagram   @chellysdesk    Organization needs vary, but always plan on having some solution for keeping the clutter at bay. 
Source: Instagram @chellysdesk Organization needs vary, but always plan on having some solution for keeping the clutter at bay. 

Organization is essential to a happy at-home work environment. What you’ll need will depend on what you keep around you, but a basic organizer should include a place for you to keep pens and pencils, a notepad, and your phone. You may also want to have a bulletin board or wire board for displaying important notes and upcoming to-dos.

What to Look For

Desk organizers really come down to personal preference. Choose one that aligns with your style, and decide if you need some gadget-driven features as well, such as a phone holder that also charges or an organizer that also has a lamp function.

What it Costs

Whatever you want to spend. You can buy a desk organizer for around $15 from stores like Target or Home Goods, and you might even be able to get crafty with storage containers that you already have around your house.

Decide what you can and can’t live without for your work from home setup, and then choose your products based on preferences and budget. You’ll know when you’ve struck the right balance when your home office feels like somewhere you actually want to be—and that facilitates productivity instead of working against it. 

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