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Valuable tips for making a home office more livable, workable

If this is the year you'll be working from a home office, you can start by delineating your space, owning it and lighting it with care.

It sometimes happens that the same people who approach most rooms of their home with a thoughtful eye to decorating, furnishing and accessorizing will treat the home office space as an afterthought. It's understandable, since it's a working space rather than a living space.

That's not quite true, however: Any area where you spend a third or more of your time is definitely about living, and a well-designed home office can be quite a pleasant place to live and work.

First define the space
Not everyone can designate an entire room of their home or apartment to the office, but that doesn't mean you can't define the space itself quite effectively. A recent article in Forbes magazine quoted the online home decorating experts at Houzz as noting that you can create a designated workspace in various ways, such as adding a door, using a loft area or even just changing the flooring material. 

For example, if you've carved your home office from a corner of your wood-floored living room, consider using an area rug to represent your office area, and group your desk, file cabinets, computer equipment and other necessities into that area. The rug, by the way, need not be a major expense, and you might consider shopping for a remnant large enough to accommodate the office furniture.

Now make it yours
The Forbes article also mentioned the importance of knowing your personal productivity style. If you're a minimalist and wall art or files you're not using tend to be a distraction, simply replace the art with a certificate or diploma and put the files away. Shelving that can be closed is perfect for the spartan work style. On the other hand, if attractive watercolors or interesting sculptures stimulate your creativity, place them where you can see them, and work away. 

Light it for productivity
Like any room, a home office demands a careful approach to lighting, not just for functionality but also to keep you at your best and brightest. 

Experiment with wall and table lamps for a soft, non-tiring effect, and think about accessorizing the light sources with decorative plug covers and switch plates to give the space a bit more personality. HGTV compiled an array of ideas for warming up the space by using  furnishings, window treatments and lighting - even a chandelier would not be out of place in certain spaces. 

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