interior design

5 things we all need to work from home

Let me guess, you were told in March to work from home for a few weeks. You started to pull out your laptop every morning, and take over half of the kitchen table for the day. Then, around 5pm, you cleaned everything up and used the table for dinner. You found yourself finishing up a few things on your laptop while sitting on the sofa, or perhaps you sat at your kids too-short white desk, or you sat under a tree in the sweltering-hot backyard. Yup, we have all been there!

If you are not fortunate enough to already have a fully set-up home office, you have found you needed to put one together. When companies here in Silicon Valley realized they would be keeping employees home through the New Year, they offered them budgets to help purchase a desk, privacy screen, chair; or whatever people found they needed. Not everyone was able to foresee exactly what they would need long-term back in early April when these budgets were offered. So, you may have found you scored one item on your company’s dime, while still needing more items to create the ultimate work-from-home space.

Here are a few things you can use to make your workspace at home more comfortable, and professional; without breaking the bank. After all, you will be working from home for awhile! My guess is, we will all be working from home until we have enough people vaccinated to warrant a return to normal. That could be long ways off! So, without further ado, here are a few things most people need to create the ultimate work-from-home space.

Privacy Screen / Proper Background

Are you taking a lot of video conference calls from home these days? Yeah, I thought so. One of the first things we realized when my husband starting working from home everyday back in March, was that we didn’t have a comfortable place for him to sit and work with a non-distracting background. The door to the room where we have a desk for him to comfortably work has a door in the background made almost entirely of glass. That’s right! It’s a like a window into our dining room. This was very distracting as a background on his video conference calls. So, to solve this problem, we purchased a screen which blocks the view through the door, and also offers him additional privacy while he works.

Fabulous desk chair

OK, raise your hand if you have a desk paired with a kitchen table chair? In our case, we had two desks, and one desk chair we moved back and forth. If we needed two chairs at the same time, we grabbed a folding chair from the garage. We never needed two desk chairs in the past because I was the only one who really worked from home. Now that my husband was working from home full-time, we found he needed his own desk chair. He liked the one we had, so he kept it and I purchased a new chair for my desk.

I’m so glad I am the lucky one with the new chair! Look for something you can sit in all day, and also feel fabulous on. This one was priced right, and offers great back support while looking amazing in my little office. Love!

A proper desk

Many people were suddenly told to work from home until further notice in March. When this happened, many workers discovered they didn’t have a place set up at home for work. Everyone works from home occasionally due to a doctor appointment, kid event after school, and the like. That being said, occasional work from home days don’t always warrant an actual workspace within the home. Many times it is OK to work one day here and one day there from the kitchen table or the sofa. That temporary type of workspace doesn’t cut it when you are working from home everyday; indefinitely.

If you are lucky enough to have a home office, you are probably all set, if not, you need a dedicated workspace. This could be a corner in the dining room or guest room. It just needs to be a space away from the television and the room where your family hangs out all day making noise. You may even need a desk! While a kitchen table is convenient, it isn’t conducive to a long-term workspace. You need a desk.

Look for a desk with drawers for supplies, and enough space for your laptop, notebook, mousepad, a personal photo, and a coffee cup. A little extra space on your desk will make your day much more comfortable!

Coffee maker

OK, I know you were used to buying coffee every morning, or relying on the free coffee at work. Now that you are working from home, you are rushing out every morning to grab coffee to go, and then sheltering in place at home. You don’t have to do this-plus, you can save money making your own coffee. Pick up a coffee maker and start making your own cup at home. You will save money in the long-run, and you will find it much more convenient.

Curtains or window coverings

If you have converted a guest room, or other room, into your new workspace, the window coverings already in place might not be what you need. Sometimes in rooms not meant to be an office, we have lace curtains, or window coverings which filter in too much light. You might find the sun hits you every morning at 10am when you are giving an online presentation. Or, it hits you in the face everyday at 3pm when you are feeling sleepy already; causing you to feel even more sleepy! If this is the case, you will need window coverings which offer you ample comfort. Look for blackout curtains or coverings which actually block the light so you can control your environment. They are inexpensive, and can really help your workspace become exactly what you need.

That’s it! Those are the five things we have discovered are much-needed to ensure a comfortable work-from-home environment long-term. What are some things you have discovered you need while working from home?

Need more tips? Check out my Work From Home Tips article published in March.

Thanks for stopping by!


Exclusive interview with Project Runway’s Mondo Guerra

Mondo Guerra took time out of his busy schedule to speak with me about a recent fundraiser in San Francisco for DIFFA where he designed a tabletop installation with ten San Francisco State University students and also to talk about all of the amazing work he does with fellow “Project Runway” alumni Jack Mackenroth. Mondo Guerra is an inspiration and I loved hearing how passionate he is about helping others who suffer from HIV and to also hear his passion about his collection.

Below is a copy of my interview which I originally published on for my Celebrity Charity Events column. 
Mondo Guerra was in San Francisco this week to reveal a tabletop installation he designed with the help of ten San Francisco State University interior design students for DIFFA’s “Dining By Design” fundraiser. The well-loved “Project Runway” alum, and upcoming contestant on “Project Runway All Stars,” took some time out of his busy schedule to speak with me today about designing an amazing, one-of-a-kind tabletop installation, and about his tireless work with fellow “Project Runway” alum Jack Mackenroth for “Living Positive By Design.”

Mondo Guerra said “The table I designed represents life, it looks dreary, sad, and its spooky-it’s where life’s journey has taken me. But then in the middle of the table there is a jar vase with a single marigold which symbolizes hope and gives life.” While Mondo Guerra enjoyed taking on the challenge of interior design-especially since the project was for charity, he admitted he felt “out of his element” and also admitted he will not become an interior designer anytime soon; he definitely prefers designing apparel.

Becoming an advocate for HIV/AIDS was a natural move for Mondo Guerra. After coming out on national television during “Project Runway” and telling the world about being HIV positive, Guerra received such a positive response from fans that he felt a responsibility to become an advocate for living healthy and smart with HIV/AIDS.

Before “Project Runway,” Mondo Guerra had not been proactive, or acting responsible enough about monitoring his health and keeping an open dialogue with his doctor. It is easy for people to forget to take their medication, so Mondo Guerra works hard to spread the word that in order to “live the longest time possible and the happiest life possible,” it is important for people to remember to take their medication and to keep an open dialogue with their doctors. Mondo Guerra also reminds everyone how important it is to pay attention to health issues that come with age, such as watching cholesterol levels, bone density and more.

Mondo Guerra has become a role model not only for those who are HIV positive, but for anyone who feels passionate about a cause and would like to become an advocate for the HIV/AIDS cause. When asked what advice he could give an aspiring advocate, Mondo Guerra stated “anything that you are passionate about or that falls into your lap, you should talk about . . . you can get involved by continued conversations, constant dialogue, and by keeping HIV/AIDS on the radar. Talking about something you’re passionate about, that makes an advocate.

Mondo Guerra has been working extremely hard for the “Living By Design” campaign and he has also been busy filming “Project Runway All Stars” which premieres in January, 2012. Fans of the designers’ collections can expect to see his next line in the fall of 2012. Mondo Guerra also has a new collection of tee-shirts which will debut on his website, on Friday, November 18, 2011. The new tee-shirts will be special edition and benefit a charity organization in Denver, Colorado.

For more information about the work Monday Guerra and fellow “Project Runway” alum Jack Mackenroth are doing for “Living Positive By Design,” please visit

To learn more about DIFFA or the Bay Area Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS, please
*Special THANK YOU to Mondo Guerra for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with me about the inspirational work he does for HIV/AIDS as well as his life in fashion.

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