Optimizing my WFH office nook

laurenwong3 Posts: 3
edited July 2 in Design Questions

I'd like to optimize my WFH office nook to be more pleasant, more intentionally created. I've been using this for 2 years since coming back to work post-baby, and decor/ambience has not been my priority most of this time. I am currently 2-3 days/week here. This is a space in our basement family room, so there are a number of other purposes this room serves. (The couch is a pull-out, so this is also where guests sleep when visiting).

I'd love some suggestions or ideas on what I can optimize/ how to approach this.

  1. Make my zoom lighting be more "built in". Sconces?
  2. Better desk/chair setup? These were both early pandemic buys, so not intentional to this space or even intended for longetivity.
  3. Is there a better setup for where my desk is situated?
  4. Help me understand if the painting I'm facing (Chicago Skyline), is not helping this situation.
  5. Would love to not feel embarrassed with my real zoom background — right now that TV is right behind me (it's on a swivel).

Other tidbits - I am a houseplant hobbyist, so trying to add plants & growlights into this basement space that's dark during the Seattle winters. (Note, these photos are in mid-June @ 9 AM)

Help please!


  • CullenOrmond
    CullenOrmond Posts: 98



    Hi @laurenwong3! Wow! I LOVE your desk — I feel like infusing more bright, vibrant color like that around your desk area would make the space feel warmer. Have you considered hanging wallpaper in the nook? I feel like a funky pattern would add some liveliness. Or, you might consider adding a mirror to reflect light off the windows behind you? I definitely think some sconces are in order. I found these sconces from Pottery Barn that might will add light and texture and the glass would hopefully prevent the bulbs from being too bright in your eyes!

  • laurenwong3
    laurenwong3 Posts: 3

    Thanks @CullenOrmond ! I had not considered wall paper, however that's a great idea. I'll have to explore that idea further.

    And thank you for the sconce inspo. This is definitely a bit better than some of the other sconce's I'd been looking at (which were structured more like a task light).

  • MeganBakerDetloff
    MeganBakerDetloff Posts: 87



    @laurenwong3 i love Cullen's suggestions! I also want to add here that if you're a houseplant hobbyist, maybe setting up an ikea plant cabinet is an option? you'd be able to fill it with grow lights and the little "greenhouse" would be a really charming zoom background (and as a midwesterner with dark winters, i fully subscribe to adding in fake nature when the real stuff outside is too sad looking).

  • Amber
    Amber Posts: 8

    I second the fake plant idea since it's a basement... I was averse to the idea at first because I wanted the feel of REAL plants, but I was living in a basement and real plants just wouldn't work without bright grow lights on them. Now I'm not afraid to put up all kinds of quality looking fake plants, and it does make a difference in my brain, even though I know they're not real plants.

  • laurenwong3
    laurenwong3 Posts: 3

    @MeganBakerDetloff I've seen some of those Ikea greenhouses and love the idea! We don't have space for another bookshelf/cabinet, but I'm going to try and at least put up grow lights under a few of the book shelves once I can move / clear out some of the books.

    And @Amber maybe I'll get a good-looking larger fake plant that can go on the media table directly behind… easy enough to move around as we need it…

  • DanielaAraya
    DanielaAraya Posts: 156

    Hi @laurenwong3! A few suggestions/questions :)

    First off, I love the wallpaper idea! You could also do a combo of paint on the side edges and wallpaper on the big wall to really envelop that corner as your office nook. Is there another spot nearby where your printer could go? I'm asking because I feel like the printer/white cabinet are taking up some precious real estate! If you didn't have those there, you could get a wider desk to fit the nook entirely and give you more room.

    How do you feel about a rug underneath your desk/chair area? I love adding rugs to a space (even when carpeted) to create sections in a room that's multi-use. You could even do that under the sofa too!

    As far as creating a nice Zoom background goes, how about getting a lightweight room divider you could set up when you're on calls? I love this wavy one from Wayfair or this one from Anthropologie. That would make for a nice backdrop.

    Also, I'm always pro faux greenery in low-light spaces!