10 DIY Hacks To Improve Your Home Office

Leif Walcutt, Forbes

As more and more people work from home, creating a livable (and productive) workspace is an important undertaking. Recently Maxwell Ryan, CEO of Apartment Therapy, sat down with FORBES to discuss some tips for turning your home office into a personal sanctuary.

After being an elementary school teacher for seven years in New York City, Ryan decided to pursue his passion for home design. In 2004 what was initially a design-consulting business morphed into Apartment Therapy, an online resource for home design and decor that attracts more than 17 million visitors every month. The website’s popularity taps into the growing do-it-yourself (DIY) customer base, which makes up 18% of America’s $164.1 billion home improvement market.

Maxwell Ryan at his home office in Brooklyn. Photo by: Brian Petchers - Forbes 

Maxwell Ryan at his home office in Brooklyn. (Credit: Brian Petchers / Forbes)

“It’s not about decorating or any style,” Ryan says, “It’s about taking care of the home so it shows your personal style and using smart design ideas to support your taste.” Here’s 10 of Ryan’s DIY suggestions: 

1. “Decorate like a home, not like an office.” Ryan suggests using natural material like wood and a leather pad as a blotter. He said that offices are usually cold and have an antiseptic feel. Little things like adding a plant can make an office feel more homey.

Brian Petchers - Forbes

(Credit: Brian Petchers / Forbes)

2. Make your own desk! You don’t need to rely on industrial fallbacks from Office Depot in order to provide a productive space. Apartment Therapy has a very straightforward DIY project for repurposing Ikea furniture to create a modern and sturdy desk for under $100. 

3. Tame your cords.  If you’re working from home, it’s likely you’ll be relying on a slew of electronic devices to keep the productivity up. Ryan suggests managing the excessive cords by using double-sided velcro.

4. Lighting is key. “Make your home office surprising, not like an ‘office’ office,” said Ryan. Instead of using a traditional office lamp, try repurposing a vintage or antique table lamp to add a homey feel. 

Brian Petchers - Forbes

(Credit: Brian Petchers / Forbes)

5. Accent desk-wall with a wall paper or bright color. “Home offices should have style, just like you have style in your own life.”

6. Invest in a good mouse and keyboard. “Make sure you find something comfortable because you’ll be working long hours.” Ryan highly recommends the Mionix gaming mouse.  

7. Find a good chair. Make sure you get something ergonomic and comfortable. Ryan suggests the ErgoErgo Stool, a functional seat designed by Allen Heller.

Brian Petchers - Forbes

(Credit: Brian Petchers / Forbes)

8. Hook up a second monitor. Use an adapter to plug your laptop into a second monitor for more screen space. Also make sure you elevate your laptop to avoid straining your neck from looking between the two screens. 

9. Boost your WiFi. You might as well be stranded on a deserted island if your internet is sketchy. Ryan uses WiFi by Eero, a modem and signal extender.   

Brian Petchers - Forbes

(Credit: Brian Petchers / Forbes)

10. Find a nice cabinet. “Keeping your desk nice and tidy is just as important at home as it is in the office.” Apartment Therapy’s office in SoHo uses office furniture from Poppin, which has modern and bright offerings. 


This article was written by Leif Walcutt from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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