Looking for some easy ways to make your desk more comfortable? These easy tips will help you create a workspace you’ll want to work in.
If you’ve been following along with me lately, you know that I have been trying to get the work area of my home office organized (if you missed them, you can find my fabric organizing projects here)…doing all the things that I didn’t have time to do when I made over the room as part of the One Room Challenge back in the spring.
For me, organizing one part of a room often leads to side projects (while I’m there I figure I should tackle any other things in the room that are bothering me)…and this room is no different. There were a few other things in the room that needed to be re-arranged or re-organized and I was planning on getting all of that done this week. And then I started on the first change, which seemed like a very small, easy thing to do so I thought it would be a quick thing to check off the list.
But it didn’t quite turn out that way…read on to find out how organizing my office turned into a mini den makeover (yes, a completely different room!), and the lessons I learned on how to make your desk more comfortable.
How Office Organizing Turned Into A Den Makeover
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So…the easy thing I was going to check off my list? I needed to swap out the chair I was using for desk chair. This large antique chair is actually comfortable to sit in, but when you sit at a desk for more than 8 hours a day like I do, you really need a proper, ergonomic desk chair. I kind of knew when I bought it, that this beautiful gold-painted antique Bergère chair wasn’t going to cut it as a “sit at the computer for most of the day chair”. But I loved it, so I bought it any way.
That is part of the reason why I had also purchased this very nice desk chair when I was re-doing the room. I originally placed it at the work table rather than my desk, but thought I might have to swap the two. So this was my easy fix…just swap the chairs. Desk chair in office problem was solved! And if that was the end of the story, this would be a very short post!
As you might have guessed, however, this caused another problem. I am often doing rather messy things at my work table, like gluing and painting. And I am not the world’s neatest glue-r (is that a word?) and painter. In other words, it is likely at some point that glue or paint will end up on the chair. And I don’t really want to take a chance of messing up the velvet upholstery on my rather expensive antique chair.
I really don’t have the room (or the need) for another sitting chair in my office (although I did try!)…so what to do with the chair? And that’s where the den / library mini makeover comes in.
The Problem With The Den
You may remember back at the beginning of the year I did a makeover of my den / library (if you missed it, you can see it here). I painted the whole room black, installed faux-tin ceiling tiles, added gold wallpaper panels, a gold DIY ceiling medallion, installed a wall of books and bought a new desk.
This room was supposed to be where I went to surf the net, watch TV and read when I wasn’t working in my home office.
The problem is that even though I loved everything in that room, the only time I ever went in there was to find a book or pick up something I had printed. I’m a big believer in using every room in the house (if you’re paying for it to be there, then you might as well use it!) So I know if I’m not using a room, there’s a problem with it. Either it doesn’t function well or it feels uncomfortable.
In this case, it was a bit of both. The sofa that I had in the room wasn’t very comfortable, the room felt too crowded, and the TV was too high for comfortable viewing. All of that meant, there wasn’t any reason for me to choose to be in this room over some other room in the house. So this room didn’t get used.
Bringing in the gold chair was just the excuse I needed to fix those issues and turn this back into a functional space…and learn some lessons on how to make your desk more comfortable…
Lesson 1: A Desk Needs a Comfortable Chair
This may seem really obvious, but in order to be functional a desk needs a comfortable chair (not a sofa). Although my gold chair wasn’t suitable for all-day desk seating, it works quite well for the shorter periods of time that I normally spend sitting at my library desk. (As I said above, for a work-from-home desk you really need an ergonomic office chair that reclines and can be adjusted for height.)
A big part of the problem with my library was caused by trying to use a sofa as the seating for the desk. In order to leave enough room in front of the sofa to sit down, the desk is too far away to comfortably reach a keyboard or mouse. If you pull the desk in closer, it makes for a really tight squeeze trying to get into the sofa. Either way, it doesn’t really work.
Because you can pull a chair out and position it where you need it easily, a chair really is necessary for comfortable desk seating. (And to be specific, it needs to be a move-able chair, not a large club chair.) It’s helpful if it can also be pushed all the way in when it’s not in use (an extra space-saving bonus).
Lesson 2: A Desk Needs a View
Okay…the original view from my desk wasn’t that bad. It was looking out through the door of the room (rather than at a wall). And I could see out the window if I turned my head.
So, originally, I didn’t change the position of the desk because of the view. I changed it because I wanted to add another function to the room (to make sure I had a reason to go in there!). I wanted to be able to exercise, which means having enough open floor space to lie down on a mat. Not happening with the desk in the middle of the floor!
That’s how the desk ended up facing the window. Now that it’s there, I can’t imagine it being any other way. I love being able to look up and see the birds at my bird bath in the front yard.
And when the chair is pushed in, there is enough room behind it to exercise.
Lesson 3: A Wall Hides the Cords
Another bonus of having the desk against the wall where the window is? All of the cords from the computer can be hidden behind the desk…something that is very difficult to do when the desk is in the middle of the room.
Lesson 4: Cut The Screen Reflection
Yet another benefit of facing the desk towards the window…the computer screen is facing away from the window, which means no annoying light reflection to make it hard to read.
Blinds also help with this. My window faces East and gets a lot of sun in the morning…adjusting the blinds lets me block some of the light without blocking all of the view.
Lesson 5: Get The Right Height For the Keyboard and Mouse
To really be comfortable, the keyboard and mouse need to be at the right height. Everyone is a little different in what they consider to be comfortable, but for me typing at desk level is a little too high.
Luckily this desk has 2 drawers on the front of it. By using a wireless mouse and keyboard placed in the drawer, I was able to get just the right height for me.
The extra space in the drawer is just big enough to fit the laptop when it’s not in use.
Lesson 6: A Desk Needs A Lamp
While this room has a fair amount of light in it, a lamp on the desk is very convenient. If it starts to get dark, you can just flip the switch without having to get up. To me, making things easier also makes working there more comfortable.
Since I still have a landline, having a phone on the desk falls into the same category. It’s just easier not to have to get up to answer it.
Lesson 7: Make the Space Yours
Making the room in general feel comfortable makes the work area also feel comfortable. Fortunately, I had already done a lot of these steps in the original makeover. I obviously kept the paint color, the wall panels, the ceiling and the book cases.
I swapped out the uncomfortable sofa for a smaller love seat that is much easier to sit on!
Using a mirrored bar cart on wheels as the end table makes it easier to get at the books on those bottom shelves.
I added a rug that I already owned which fits perfectly in the room.
Some faux flowers in a blue and white vase add a little color to the color. I know most people would prefer to have a live plant…but since I can’t seem to keep house plants alive, decent quality faux flowers are my compromise.
This leopard print chair was already in the room, and provides extra seating.
Finally I installed a black TV stand that puts the TV at the perfect height for watching exercise tapes, and blends in so well with the wall, you don’t notice all of the cords. Also, because it is on the same wall as the door to the room, you don’t see it until you turn around to sit on the couch…so it doesn’t interfere too much with the look of the room.
Now I am hoping I love the room so much that it will make me want to do those exercises!!