Let's face it: more of us are working from home than ever before. While some of us are savoring the days of constant sweatpants and no commuting, many people are counting down the days until they can be back in the office. That's why we asked interior designer and Queer Eye star Bobby Berk to walk us through creating a gorgeous office at home.
Meet the Expert
Bobby Berk is an interior designer and the resident design expert on the hit Netflix series, Queer Eye. In addition to his TV work, Bobby leads his eponymous multi-faceted brand, including comprehensive lifestyle destination BobbyBerk.com.
"Surprisingly enough, 60% of us who are working from home three or more days a week are struggling with it," Berk tells MyDomaine, quoting a survey from Paypal. "We're not loving it. And 40% of those people are getting in arguments over budget—about work from home stuff—with their spouses or roommates or even kids."
Raise your hand if that sounds familiar. That's why Berk partnered up with Paypal to help people reimagine their workspaces without breaking the bank. Whether you're lucky enough to have a spare room to use as a home office or you're struggling to carve out space in your apartment, Berk recommends these five smart buys to make sure your WFH setup is as beautiful as it is functional.
Splurge on Noise-Canceling Headphones
When your home office sounds just like an open office floor plan, it's time to invest in some new headphones.
"My first suggestion is always noise-canceling headphones because even if you don't have that separate work from home space where you can close the door and tune out everybody in the house, you can at least do so with noise-canceling headphones," Berk says.
Not sure you have the budget for a full makeover? Paypal's new Pay in 4 feature allows you to make a down payment when you purchase an item and pay the rest off in three interest-free payments (one every two weeks).
Find a Desk That Can Pull Double Duty
"Try to get a desk that has multiple functions," Berk says. If you're working with a smaller space and can't fit in a desk with multiple drawers, he recommends a piece in which the top can be lifted to reveal plenty of storage space inside. Another smart tip? Find a desk that can be used in another place in your home, like a console that's a perfect fit for your entryway.
"That way, when we are back to offices and we're not working from home, it's not a piece of furniture that's not really used in your house and then just becomes an eyesore," Berk explains.
Add a Comfy Chair
We know you've heard this before, but an ergonomically correct (yet stylish!) desk chair makes all the difference. Try to find a chair that promotes good posture (i.e. your feet rest flat on the floor and your lower spine is supported). Just take Berk's word for it.
"It doesn't have to be a typical ugly desk chair, but you do need something that's going to help your back," Berk says. "A lot of my friends recently have been going to physical therapists because they've messed up their hip alignments because they're working from sofas and beds instead of sitting evenly in a chair."
Invest in Good Lighting
Smart task lighting (not just overhead lighting) is key for productivity and looking your best on video calls.
"A lot of times people think, 'Oh, on that Zoom call, if my lighting is lower, I don't have to worry about putting on makeup or doing my hair because people won't be able to see me as well,'" Berk says. "It's actually the opposite though. The better the lighting, the better you'll look."
Berk recommends buying a ring light or a desk lamp with a fabric shade that will diffuse light evenly over your face. So long, dark circles!
Don't Forget a Power Strip
A more utilitarian purchase, a power strip is an absolute necessity when it comes to making sure all of your techs can get through the day.
"One thing that really annoyed me in the very beginning of working from home was the cords," Berk explains. "I went out and got a big power strip with USB ports in it and plugs, so that way all my cords stayed in one spot, and they weren't knocking over my coffee, and I'm not tripping over them."