Realistic Rental Redo: Creating a Home Office at Your Apartment

One of the greatest aspects of the technology revolution is the increased ability to work from home. But how do you stay as motivated at home as you do in the office? To produce at the same rate as you would at work, you need a space that is designated solely for your job. You need a home office.

1st Lake offers a lot of extra room in its indoor floor plans, especially with the new renovations at the River Ridge, Kenner and Metairie apartments.

These bonus rooms can easily be converted into offices, making it easy to work from home. Before you start furnishing a home office or workspace area in your apartment, use this checklist to make sure you have the best, most useful, office decor and supplies.

desk-1st-lake-properties

Our interior designers whipped up a gorgeous, clutter-free desk at one of our 1st Lake Properties to help inspire you!

A Dedicated Desk Area: What You’ll Need

Space Saving Desk & Chair

The desk and chair are the most essential pieces of furniture in your home office or workspace area. You will be spending the most time using these items, and they need to be both practical and comfortable.

When choosing a desk, consider one that maximizes space. The Container Store’s Java Linea Leaning Desk  leans up against the wall, taking up minimal floor area while still allowing for plentiful work space.

Chair shopping should be centered around comfort, but you can still make room for style! This upholstered desk chair from Target has a cool, mid-century look at an affordable price.

Personalizing Your Desk

A closer look at our designer-approved desk.

A closer look at our designer-approved desk.

For an at-home office space you’ll actually want to work at, consider blending form and function. Our 1st Lake Properties interior designer has a few great tips to personalize your desk in a way that looks beautiful and helps facilitate workflow:

Have a good lamp for task lighting — In addition to sufficient overhead or ambient light, select a desk lamp with a movable head to spotlight your work as needed. This is also a great opportunity to incorporate metallics or color for a personalized look.

Keep papers and pens in check — Rather than a bulky file system, our designer suggests a simple letter organizer to place on your desk to keep papers neat and easily accessible. For pens, use brightly colored multi-purpose holders (a favorite mug, for example) to hold them all in one place.

Consider a glass desk — If you can only dedicate a small corner of a room to your workspace, opt for a glass or translucent desk to help the room appear larger. Light (both natural and artificial) can also pass freely through this material, creating a brighter, cheerier ambience for your workspace.

Just add greenery — Orchids, succulents, and air plants are all great choices for a desk: they’re low-maintenance yet still offer a pop of life and color.

Keep it neat — Books and magazines are usually part of any desk space, but you can maintain a cohesive look by organizing them by color and size. The color and size rule works well for everything else on your desk, too — sticky notes, highlighters, pens, you name it!

A hands-on approach — If you’re right-handed, keep all of your pens, notebooks, etc. on the right side of your desk. Vice versa for lefties!

Remember, no home workspace is complete without the personal touches. Your office should reflect you as a person. Hang pictures and photographs that keep you positive and driven. Add a chalkboard for daily notes or inspirational quotes. Decorate in a way that will make you happy and excited to work.

Even More Home Office Tips

Diverse Storage

When developing the floor plan of your home office, you need to consider two types of storage: bookshelves and file cabinets.

Bookshelves are obvious storage options for work-related literature, workbooks and manuals. They also offer additional storage for decorative items. When choosing a bookshelf, remember to remain space-conscious. Consider a ladder bookshelf that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing.

One of the hardest parts about working from home is staying organized. Though bookshelves are great for bound documentation, any loose or private paperwork should be filed away. If your desk doesn’t have a built in file cabinet, try a portable rolling one that will fit right under your desk.

Necessary Electronics

Most office work is done electronically, so a computer or laptop is a necessity. If you are looking for a cheaper option and don’t plan on moving around much, buy a desktop. If you want to be able to take your work with you, consider a laptop.

If you want both, you can hook up an extra monitor to your laptop giving you the feel of a desktop with the convenience of a portable computer.

Where to Buy Office Supplies & Furniture in New Orleans

Now that you’ve got some ideas about how to decorate your office, go out and start collecting supplies! Here are our favorite office furniture and supply stores in the city:

CORT Furniture

CORT Furniture allows you to rent chic, of-the-moment furniture for reasonable prices — they also have a great clearance section full of deals!

5035 Bloomfield Street
Jefferson, LA 70121
(504) 733-8381

Doerr Furniture

Doerr Furniture offers a classic approach to home decor with several wooden desk designs.
444 Port Street
New Orleans, LA 70117
(504) 943-0110

Modern Market

Modern Market takes a modern, sleek and minimalist approach to its furniture.
3138 Magazine Street Unit C
New Orleans, LA 70115
(504) 896-2206

Box Paper Scissor

Box Paper Scissor designs one-of-a-kind office supplies.
3638 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA 70115
(504) 891-4664

How to Organize Your Home Office

If your home office is unorganized, and is more a source of stress than productivity, it’s time to tackle that space. Your work space should help you get work done, not hinder it! Read through this list of  free ways to create a more organized desk and workspace:

  1. Cut back on clutter: As time passes, you inevitably accumulate clutter — way too many pens, pencils, highlighters, paper clips, and rubber bands. So, take a few minutes to edit your ever-growing collection down. Keep the few things that you like and use, and give the rest away!
  2. Build a digital file cabinet: If your drawers are overflowing with papers, consider moving some of those items into a “digital file”. Shred the items that you honestly don’t need, and scan and save on your computer any paperwork that you need, but don’t need a hard copy of. Also, be sure to back up this file to an external hard drive or to a cloud service like Google Drive or Dropbox for safe keeping.
  3. End all unsolicited mail: Junk mail can be annoying and a source of a lot of clutter. If you get way too much in the mail, the Federal Trade Commission has put together a list of ways you can stop most of the unsolicited mail that arrives in your mailbox. Also, you can call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit optoutprescreen.com, to stop all credit card and insurance offers for five years.

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What is Eclectic Home Decor? We Explore This Design Style

How would you describe your apartment? Is it a little bit of everything? An Oriental rug with a leather chair, perhaps? Stark, elegant flowers on a rugged coffee table? Different eras and periods all coming together to create one happy home? If so, you probably lean toward an eclectic design style. We’re exploring exactly what is eclectic home decor — plus a few tips on how to achieve it.

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Interior designer Whitney Jones‘ apartment nicely captures eclectic home decor style, with mid-century orange chairs, a traditional tufted sofa, and a mix of patterns and finishes with a unifying color palette. (Photo courtesy Whitney Jones)

A Litmus Test to Determine What is Eclectic Home Decor

If your apartment hones in on some of the following characteristics (or if you’d like it to!), you probably prefer eclectic interiors.

The Furniture: Eclectic furniture tends to be a mix of pieces from different eras, like a mid-century modern sofa paired with opulent, leather club chairs, for example. Antique pieces and modern designs play together nicely in an eclectic home. However, all the mixed furniture shares a unifying feature: the same color palette. Typically, eclectic design styles favor neutral hues for furniture and brings in dazzling color through fabrics and accessories. On that note…

Fabrics and Accessories: Eclectic home decor features a wide variety of fabrics ranging from patterned, textured, trimmed, or all of the above — there’s truly room for everyone in an eclectic design scheme! Again, color palette is important. Use shades that go well together, whether you keep it in the same color family and play with textures or opt for complementary colors.

Finishes: Do you like wearing mixed metals for jewelry? If you have no qualms pairing a gold necklace with a silver bracelet, you’re probably a good candidate for embracing eclectic home decor. Because the furniture often comes from different eras in an eclectic style, so do the finishes — bronze, brass, nickel, and iron are all welcome!

The Takeaway: Eclectic home decor is all about mismatching — but there’s a method to the madness. Remember to choose a unifying color scheme to tie everything together.

Read more: Our in-depth interviews with local interior designer Whitney Jones, whose own apartment boasts an eclectic home decor style full of DIY tricks

 

 

DIY Home Decor Ideas

Remember when you were a kid and all you wanted was to do something “all by yourself”? Now that you’re grown up, it can be hard to harness that same can-do attitude, especially when it comes to interior design. However, there are plenty of easy, DIY home decor ideas for every single room of your home that can make a big impact. You’ll save money, and you’ll be proud of the results — tell everyone you did it all by yourself!

DIY Home Decor Ideas

Kitchen

Colorful, Customized, No-Sew Placemats: Placemats aren’t just for the dining room. Use them in the kitchen beneath a mixer as you bake, or for those moments when “sitting down to a meal” really means standing at the counter as you check your email on your phone. The colorful placemats below couldn’t be any easier to make: simply find a home decorating fabric you like, then purchase iron-on vinyl topper (available at most craft stores). Cut the fabric into neat rectangles of 12 inches by 17 inches. Then, following the vinyl topper instructions, apply vinyl to each side — watch this video for a step-by-step tutorial. For added flair, you can trim any rough edges with scalloped pinking sheers.

Fabric placemats are an easy DIY when you use iron-on vinyl. (Photo via Huffington Post)

Fabric placemats are an easy DIY when you use iron-on vinyl. (Photo via Huffington Post)

Living Room

A Chic Tray: We’re probably all guilty of enjoying a meal in front of the TV every now and then (or maybe even every night!). Create a tray to transport your meal from kitchen to living room seamlessly — it’ll also be a handy surface to eat on. This DIY tray comes from a salvaged kitchen cabinet door destined for the trash bin. Sand it down, paint it any color you like, then drill handles at each end as pictured. If the cabinet door has any holes, be sure to fill them with wood filler and let dry overnight before painting.

This chic tray is made using salvaged kitchen cabinet doors. (Photo via Good Housekeeping)

This chic tray is made using salvaged kitchen cabinet doors. (Photo via Good Housekeeping)

Bedroom

Thumbtack-ular: Use metallic-finish thumb tacks to add instant polish to furniture and upholstery. If you have an upholstered headboard, try adding thumbtacks around the border to mimic a nailhead finish. You can use thumbtacks to jazz up plain or painted wood furniture, too — trim side tables, desks, or chairs with a neat row of thumbtacks, or get creative with swirling patterns.

Thumbtacks add pizzazz to a plain, wooden table. (Photo via Mark Montano on Blogspot)

Thumbtacks add pizzazz to a plain, wooden table. (Photo via Mark Montano on Blogspot)

Bathroom

Pretty, Practical Hamper: Use a patterned pillowcase as the basis for a beautiful, no-sew hamper that will look chic displayed from a hook in the bathroom — it’ll also be super practical for catching dirty duds at the end of the day. Simply use a 12-inch embroidery hoop (available at craft stores) and about 10 inches of ribbon. Clamp the case into the hoop, then use the clamp as a spot to tie on the ribbon. Good Housekeeping shows you the end result, below:

A pretty hamper is perfect for an empty hook in the bathroom. (Photo via Good Housekeeping)

A pretty hamper is perfect for an empty hook in the bathroom. (Photo via Good Housekeeping)

Miscellaneous

Need more ideas? Our blog is here to inspire. Check out these helpful posts:

Apartment Storage Ideas: Vertical Space + More

A common challenge for renters is space constraints. It may seem like your apartment can’t fit all of your stuff, but there are ways that you can make everything fit comfortably with the space available that you may not have thought of. Enter these awesome storage ideas.

Maximizing the space you have is key. One of our favorite solutions for storage in a small apartment is making use of vertical space.

Storage Ideas for Apartments

Vertical Storage

It’s easy to use up the available horizontal space in your apartment, but often times there is a lot of leftover vertical space that can be utilized. Here are the best ways to use vertical space in your apartment.

Free standing shelves and bookcases

Free standing shelves are not only portable, convenient, and rental-friendly, but also a great space saver! They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be used in any room in the apartment, including the kitchen for extra dish or appliance storage, the bathroom for towels and toiletries, as bookcases, or in the closet to store shoes or clothes that won’t fit in drawers.

ladder-style leaning bookshelf. photo credit: Woodstock Furniture Outlet

Punctuate a blank wall with a leaning, ladder-style bookshelf. (Photo via Woodstock Furniture Outlet)

A ladder-style leaning bookshelf can be an easy, modern way to add some extra storage furniture to a bare wall – use it to display decorative items or store books.

Under shelves

Another great way to use vertical space especially in your kitchen is with under-shelf storage baskets. If there is a lot of room between the shelves that are already built in to your cabinets, simply attach an under-shelf basket to create more storage space for additional items.

Under-shelf baskets are a great way to harness vertical space and add more storage. (Photo via ApartmentTherapy.com)

Under-shelf baskets are a great way to harness vertical space and add more storage. (Photo via ApartmentTherapy.com)

If you need more space to store glassware, there are also under-the-shelf stemware holders that are a convenient solution.

Wall space

One thing we sometimes forget is that we have plenty of space on our walls for storage. This can be easily and safely used by placing shelves along the walls to use that vertical space to its capacity.

Hidden Storage Solutions

There’s more to storage than meets the eye with these clever items.

Risers

Give storage a lift when you use bed risers — they’re affordable, easy to use, and add valuable inches to store items under your bed. Adding height is also a great way to give the illusion of more space: your bed will look and feel more regal, and you’ll benefit from the added storage beneath.

Storage Beds

Storage beds have built-in storage within a hollow portion of the bed frame. Many feature drawers along the bottom for a look that is both attractive and incredibly functional. Use the added space to store bedtime essentials like blankets or pajamas.

Storage Ottomans

Ottomans are a great addition to a living room — you can bring in new colors and prints at an affordable price, and if you choose a storage ottoman, you can also add a little more practicality. Storage ottomans are hollow on the inside with a removable lid for easy access. Stock yours with living room items like games, remotes, or blankets.

Looking for a new apartment? We have many excellent and spacious choices for metro New Orleans apartments and in Mississippi!

Home Decor for Small Apartments

Though we think even our studio apartments are spacious (and full of awesome amenities), space is always a concern. You don’t have to sacrifice style for space, though! Read on for a few easy ideas for home decor for small apartments below.

Home Decor for Small Apartments

Try a folding chair. You might think of this piece of furniture as one suited only to outdoor spaces, but think again! These folding chairs are ideal for small spaces and look so gorgeous you might not even want to fold them up and put them away. Whether you use them at the dining table or as extra seating for surprise guests, folding chairs are a chic space solution.

folding chair

Who says folding chairs are for outdoors only? This beautiful chair from Anthropologie looks great in a bedroom or living room. (Photo courtesy Anthropologie)

  • Ikea Terje Folding Chair — Under $20 and in a recent Pantone Color of the Year shade, Marsala? We’re sold on Ikea’s Terje folding chair. Perfect in the living room, kitchen, or patio, the chair also works as a decorative element – place it in a corner and stack a few favorite books on the seat for a bohemian look.
  • Crate & Barrel Spare Folding Chair – Clean lines and a soft dove gray color create a sophisticated yet romantic look. We imagine pairing this folding chair with a faux-fur white pillow perfect for the bedroom. Crate & Barrel also offers the chair in a lovely shade of mint plus classic black and white.
  • Ballard Café Folding Chairs (Set of Two) – Add European flair to your space with these classic bistro chairs. Extend the Parisian influence when styling – we like the French blue shade. Francophiles will also like the…
  • Ballard Louis Folding Chair – Bringing a regal, vintage aesthetic, the Louis folding chair has elaborate cane weaving and lovely carved details. It looks great with a linen cushion (sold separately), but you don’t need one.
  • Anthropologie Terai Folding Chair – The price tag is high, but this chair makes a huge statement. Built-in cushioning provides extra comfort and the graphic pattern (available in a range of subtle shade differences) creates a dramatic focal point.

Let there be light. Opting for decor in light hues like white, cream, or rose quartz creates an optical illusion that a space is larger. Since the walls at our 1st Lake Properties are already painted in light hues, we’ve already assisted with half the battle!

Mirror, mirror on the wall. Incorporating mirrors into your home decor for small apartments is an easy way to create the feeling of more space. Mirrors — particularly full-length mirrors — add dimension to a room and are an interesting visual focal point.

Raise the roof. Try hanging floor-to-ceiling decorative curtains to create a lengthening, heightening effect. You can also use this same approach for a DIY curtain headboard.

 

 

 

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