Ditch Your College Desk: 6 Tips for Upgrading to a Modern Home Office

5 min read
By: Maddy Osman

This is a sponsored post in partnership with National Business Furniture.

Almost exactly one year ago, I shared a photo of my home workspace, alongside several other WordPress experts.

Knowing how much better it could’ve been, this picture makes me cringe a bit as I look at it now. How did I live like this?! It’s total chaos and more than a little claustrophobic.

Right after I took that photo, I upgraded my crappy spare monitor (purchased during Black Friday) for a 27” iMac and oh, what a difference it’s made.

This monitor size provides comfortable room for two application windows side-by-side, which allows me to watch Netflix or have easy access to research material when I’m writing blog articles for clients. There’s even room to spare for other resources I may need to reference when I’m in the zone, like Todoist, Trello, and Evernote.

But, upgrading my computer wasn’t my only modern home office level up in the past calendar year.

Just a few weeks ago, I received a shipment from National Business Furniture, primarily made up of:

#1: An L-shaped desk:

#2: A mobile file pedestal (which came packaged with my desk):

#3: A storage cabinet (also pictured: a new monitor stand and letter/file tray)

Armed with these beautiful new pieces, check out how sharp my home office workstation looks now:

I can’t tell you how much easier it’s been to get work done knowing that I have an organized, professional-feeling place to work in. I used to feel physically drained by my cramped space, moving to the couch and working on my laptop by mid-afternoon of a typical workday.

Whether you realize it or not, the way you design your creative workspace affects the way you get work done.

My old, white Ikea corner desk must’ve been assembled and taken down on at least five different occasions since going off to college. I’m surprised the particleboard was able to hold up this long.

Besides its physical limitations, my college desk represented a younger version of me, who had completely different needs. Now that I work from home full-time, I need a space specifically dedicated to important files, like all of my business receipts! A modern home office gives me a little more room to breathe and matches how seriously I take my business.

Getting back to work after upgrading my main computer, updating my home office furniture, and stocking up on supplies to complement the features of my new beautiful corner desk was a very satisfying experience.

I learned a few lessons along the way about how to shape your modern home office space to help you produce your best work:

#1: Minimal > Cluttered

After looking back through some of the other workspaces from the WordPress experts home office article I referenced earlier, I noticed that my favorite DIY home office spaces were practically Spartan in their minimalism. I loved the feelings they evoked so much more than my own cramped and cluttered space.

There’s something to be said for having a dedicated space for all of the things you need to do your job at home. Prior to getting new home office furniture, I had a lot of things scattered around my apartment. Now, everything is all organized in one spot.

Working with hardly anything on the surface of your desk is heaven.

#2: A New Desk Makes a New Difference

If you upgrade just one piece of furniture to create a more modern home office space, I’d recommend focusing on your desk. The potential to expand your available workspace and add on additional storage is worth the investment.

On that note…

#3: Work With Your Space — Not Against It

I feel somewhat limited in that I’ve never had a dedicated modern home office space.

It’s always been part of my bedroom or in the living room (where it currently resides). Though we have a second bedroom in our apartment, my fiancé uses the home office in the bedroom because he’s on the phone more often than me and benefits more from having a closable door. We’re currently house hunting and I’m salivating at the possibility of having my own cozy home office space.

In the meantime, the show must go on. From college until now, I’ve always had some type of corner desk.

The current iteration, an L-shaped home office desk, is a nice upgrade — especially because its size and configuration offers more space to work with. There’s also tons of storage room under it.

The takeaway here? Don’t fight the reality of the space you have to work with at home. Almost everyone has a free corner they could transform into a great workspace.

#4: Take Stock of Everything You Need to Organize

When you switch up your workspace, it’s the perfect time to go through all the stuff you’ve accumulated and determine if you really need it.

I find it therapeutic to say, “goodbye” to the things I no longer have use for, Marie Kondo style. For those who haven’t read her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, it’s all about decluttering and organizing. Stay tuned for a future blog post about National Business Furniture’s own Clear the Clutter challenge!

That said, part of creating minimalism may involve buying new home office supplies to help organize things more neatly (Marie Kondo would disagree with me here but we’re two totally different people and that’s ok).

Tools like a desktop organizer or computer stand can help effectively make use of a large desktop space. Office supplies like hanging files and file folders make it easy for you to access important files when you need them.

#5: When Life Hands You Dry-Erase Surfaces, You Say “Hell Yeah”

My National Business Furniture desk offers the option to add dry erase privacy panels. Although I don’t have anyone to block out while working from home (well, besides my fiancé 😜), I loved the idea of having access to built-in dry erase boards.

There are so many ways to use them:

If you can’t find glass or dry erase board panels for your dream desk, check out these dry erase weekly and monthly calendars, each one with extra room for notes.

Final Thoughts: Ditch Your College Desk: 5 Tips for Upgrading to a Modern Home Office

If you’re like me and you’ve had the same desk since college and now work from home at least once a week, you’re due for an upgrade.

While you’re in the process of selecting a new desk (and other desk accessories or additional furniture as needed) for your modern home office, it’s the perfect opportunity to redesign your home office workstation in line with any of its current shortcomings.

Do you have any other great ideas for DIY home office updates to increase productivity? Share your thoughts in the comments!


Maddy Osman

The Blogsmith

Maddy Osman is the author of Writing for Humans and Robots: The New Rules of Content Style. She's a digital native with a decade-long devotion to creating engaging, accessible, and relevant content. Her efforts have earned her a spot in BuzzSumo’s Top 100 Content Marketers and The Write Life’s 100 Best Websites for Writers. She has spoken for audiences at WordCamp US, SearchCon, and Denver Startup Week.

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The huge monitor is SUCH a must. I miss mine so much whenever I travel. XD Thanks for stopping by, Patricia! 🙂

Maddy Osman, this is a very nice and thoughtful blog. Most people today prefer to work from home rather than travel all the way to their offices. It is a great idea to renovate the home office to the present needs. Keep sharing such posts with some more insightful images to go with them.

The desk and storage is nice! Maybe a little more tweaking to make the design more complete and a tad more feminine. Powerful women don’t need to work in hard industrial spaces to prove that they are worthy in the workforce. Give me a holler if you need design help. I’m have an E-design sale.


You’re not wrong. I recently replaced one super old chair that broke with a Walmart chair that’s OK, but nothing special. XD Thanks for stopping by — I’ll check out Kinnarps!


Nice post Maddy!
Next thing on your list is a quality chair with head support when your funds are replenished.
Best chair company I’ve found and best investment I’ve made next to my Mac was in this company from Sweden with showrooms all over the world – https://www.kinnarps.com
You won’t regret it, and I have no affiliation with them. 😃