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6 Ways to Improve Your Work-from-Home Setup, According to an Interior Designer

Simple tweaks to help get you into work mode—even if you’re working from your dining room table.

By Madeleine Kim

When you’re working from home, it’s easy—too easy, in my experience—to simply plop down in the nearest chair, open your laptop, and begin your work day. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve made quasi-offices out of my kitchen table, my couch, my counter, and, yes, even my bed. At first, it felt exciting to be free from the restraints of a designated desk. But when the novelty wore off, with it went my sense of work-life separation.

I needed a change, and I knew I couldn’t do it alone—so I decided to call in a professional. Kelsey Hutchins, Founder and Principal Designer of high-end interior design firm House of Hudson, is an expert at transforming spaces, often with just a few thoughtful tweaks. Here are her best tips for creating the feeling of a dedicated workspace at home.


Get a comfortable chair.

It might sound obvious, but if you don’t have a comfortable place to sit while you work, changing that should be your first priority. “For a while, I was working in a dining chair,” says Kelsey. “By the end of the day, my back would hurt, and I noticed that I felt more fatigued than usual.” She recommends investing in an ergonomic chair that fits your climate and lifestyle. “For example, I often recommend something with mesh for my southern customers, because it helps you stay ventilated and cool throughout the day.”


Look for desk accessories that are functional and stylish.

“Our human brains always try to look for order, and if things are out of order, it’s hard to focus,” explains Kelsey. “Aesthetics and design have a much greater impact on people than they realize. Being in a space that you find aesthetically pleasing isn’t just more enjoyable—it also helps you focus on the task at hand.” We couldn’t agree more, which is why we just released a line of sleek desk accessories—including a desk blotter, a mouse pad, a pen cup, and a coaster set—that spruce up your space in seconds. Want 15% off? Buy all four desk accessories together and use the code DREAMDESK at checkout.


Figure out which types of environments make you feel calm and focused.

Some people can only focus in complete silence, while others are at peak productivity when Rihanna is blasting in the background. We all have different work styles and different environments in which we do our best work. “Often, it depends on what you do,” explains Kelsey. “As a designer who’s constantly thinking about different aesthetics, I work best in a clean, simple environment. But I’ve also had clients who like to be inspired by their space and prefer to work surrounded by lots of color and pattern. It’s all about noticing how you feel in different types of spaces, and then being intentional about creating an environment where you feel focused.”


Think of your desk set-up as your commute.

Ambient music, a luxe desk mat, a cup of coffee on a nice coaster—these things make a difference. Try creating a ritual around setting up your workspace each day to mentally separate your on-duty and off-duty hours. “This is especially important if you don’t have a dedicated desk, and you’re working at your kitchen table, for instance,” says Kelsey. “Maybe you drink out of a special mug, or you light the same candle each morning. Think about how you can make your space feel a little bit different without too much effort, so that it feels like you’re in your workspace, versus the table where you just had dinner last night.”


Don’t work in pajamas.

You’ve heard it a thousand times before: When you’re working from home, you should still get dressed for the day. But you don’t need to don a full-on power suit just because that’s what you used to wear to the office. “It’s all about compartmentalizing and making yourself feel like you’re in work mode,” says Kelsey. Sure, you can put on a dress and heels if that’s what makes you feel focused, but I’ve found that it’s just as effective to change into some polished loungewear—like the Joni joggers and Kristin pullover—as long as you reserve those pieces for daytime (read: don’t sleep in your work-from-home uniform, no matter how comfy it is).


But do indulge in a pair of fluffy slippers.

One of the best things about working from home is that you can wear slippers all day long. I love my Emu Australia Mayberry slippers so much, I’ve started stuffing them in my overnight bag for even the quickest weekend trips. Kelsey (who was the first person to tell me about these life-changing slippers a few years ago) agrees: “Get a great pair of slippers that you’re excited to wear, and make those your ‘work slippers,’” she says. Bonus points if you match your slippers to your sweatsuit (aesthetics matter, remember?).

Written By

Madeleine Kim

Madeleine Kim is the Senior Brand Manager at M.M.LaFleur, where she started out as a stylist. She loves developing styling-focused content and creating newsletters that bring the M.M. community together.

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