Working from home can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you’re free of a tedious commute, pyjamas counts as office wear and the kids are always within sight. But anyone who’s seriously tried working from home knows how hard it can be to muster the discipline to really buckle down and do actual work.

You don’t want to work in a home office that looks as depressingly grey as a downtown office cubicle, yet it’s tough knowing just what can turn your workspace into one that inspires you to get going. For a long time, I struggled with creating a home office that enabled me to work without distractions but still enabled me to remain cheerful till the end of the day. Here’s what worked for me.

Paint the walls an energising colour

Sterile, grey cubicle walls do little to inspire. That’s why nobody likes trudging to the office on Monday morning. Painting one or more walls a bright, energising colour can help to wake you up when it’s time to start work, and stimulate your brain into thinking more creatively. Orange and yellow are great choices and can give you a boost of vigour when it’s time to sit down at your desk.

Ample storage

Just because minimalistic offices look cool doesn’t mean you should necessarily try to achieve the same look. If your job is one that involves massive amounts of paper work or you use a wide range of writing and drawing tools, it’s important to ensure that your home office is equipped with ample storage solutions. Wall shelves, multiple drawers and a desk with built-in shelving units can help you to keep things organised.

Mood Enhancing Pictures

You (like everyone else) spend a substantial portion of time at work, in your office. So where better to spend a little bit of time sprucing up the place so you feel more comfortable and happy while you’re there. Find yourself some great nature photos or whatever you find mood enhancing, get them printed on canvas and then mounted on the walls. This not only adds a pop of colour to your surroundings but also looks stunning, and is a lot cheaper than buying paintings.

Include a few potted plants

When the sun is shining outside and you’re wishing you could take the kids to the zoo instead, bring a little of the outdoors into your office. A few well-placed potted plants can purify the air in your home office and also freshen up the appearance of the interior, and they even have health and productivity benefits. Just don’t forget to water them regularly.

Create a mood board

If you do any sort of creative work, a mood board is an indispensable tool that absolutely needs to be on the wall of your home office. Whether you use it to pin up things that inspire you, meaningful quotes or simply pictures you like, a mood board can make an office instantly look more dynamic.

Home offices should never be boring. Decorate with reminders of things and people you love and you’ll find yourself motivated to work every day.