Why do some offices—even tiny ones—seem to actually help you be more productive? Because they nail the details.
Home office

1. A framed section of wallpaper adds character without the commitment of all-over paper (or the clutter of a bulletin board).

2. The right shade of paint combines a muted tone (to reduce eyestrain) with a color (like this green) that puts you in a creative state of mind.

3. Even a "corner office" (in the not-so-hotshot sense) needs definition. If your desk lives in a multiuse space, use a rug at least a foot wider than the desk to create a boundary.

4. You need both task lighting and ambient lighting. If desktop space is at a premium, go for a floor model placed nearby.

5. Ergonomics get a lot of attention, but if your work space is in the corner of a living area, consider splurging on a chair that's a beautiful piece of furniture, too.

6. Minimalist table-style desks are in vogue. Just remember that going drawer-free means adjacent cabinets or shelves are essential.

Organize Shelf Space

7. Aim for a mix of decorative pieces and office supplies to keep the "home" in home office.

8. Studies show that plants in office spaces boost happiness and productivity. Try easy-care varieties such as succulents.

9. In place of a pinboard, use frames to display art pieces, souvenirs or cards that get you thinking. Swap in new items regularly.

10. Separate books into little curated collections for visual balance on shelves.

Organize Desk Supplies

11. Keep supplies tidy by nestling small, low-profile bowls on a beverage tray, or buy a desktop organizer like the acrylic version above from Minneapolis-based Russell + Hazel.

Office Supplies

12. You've got the office. Now make what you say feel extra special by upgrading what you say it on. These Midwest sources have perfect solutions.

Long List Magnetic Notepad (top left) Stick to-dos on a file cabinet or fridge. mara-mi.com
Bright Ideas Quote Cards (top left) Display inspiring words. target.com
Hard Linen Journal in Forest (top right) Special binding is durable and lets pages lie flat. shinola.com
• Effe Patent Mini Three-Ring Binder (top right) Stores easily and sports Van Gogh-like swirls. russellandhazel.com
Simple Meal Planner (center left) Three meals per page and tear-off shopping lists. ruffhouseart.com
• Hello Notecards (bottom left) 4¼×5½-inch notes. www.ampersanddesignstudio.com
• Hand-painted Notebook in Cedar (bottom right) Chipboard cover in expressionist style. moglea.com

Buying guide

Desk Hilver Table, finish: Bamboo. Ikea. ikea.com

Wallpaper House of Hackney Artemis, color: Ivory. Anthropologie. anthropologie.com

Lamp Gumball Floor Lamp. Urban Outfitters. urbanoutfitters.com

Chair Hamilton Mid-Back Leather Executive Chair, color: Coffee Leather. Wayfair. wayfair.com

Wall color Behr T18-14 In the Moment. Home Depot. homedepot.com

Cabinet color Valspar 7006-21 Hailstorm Gray. Lowe's. lowes.com