If you’re going to be essentially doing 9–5, five days a week in your home office, then you need to make sure you’ve got a prime spot and you’re not skimping on space. Comfort is king, so make sure you’re not squeezing your desk area into a tiny closet or hot-desking at home when you could make the most of a guest bedroom that sees a visitor once in a blue moon.
If you don’t have the luxury of a spare room, then choose the area of the house you work in wisely – if you’re easily distracted, a space in or by the kitchen, for example, probably isn’t a great idea, as it’ll see the most footfall. Another option is to install a studio in the garden if you have ample outside space, or even consider extending your loft space or creating an additional mezzanine level if you have high ceilings.
Light it right
Letting in plenty of natural light is key to a happy workspace – you could position your desk close to the window to really benefit, plus make the most of any view you have, but consider the light that comes in through the window during the day, as you’ll want to avoid getting a glare on your screen. Fitted blinds would be a smart choice, with Venetian being a good option as you can angle them as required without losing the light all together.
In the darker months or evenings, the artificial lighting you choose is important. A mix of different types is usually a good idea; these could include task lighting such as an Anglepoise desk lamp, dimmable spotlights and potentially an overhead pendant lamp if you’re trying to save desk space. Each will create a different mood, and ambience is just as important as practical lighting to ensure an enjoyable working environment.
Just because you’re at home, that doesn’t mean you should just sit in a regular dining chair – make sure you opt for a seat that’s ergonomically designed, which you can adjust to suit your needs – you’re going to be sat there all day after all! That doesn’t mean it has to be ugly or too ‘officey’ – there are many designer options available, such as this Vitra Pacific Chair design by Barber & Osgerby, or even this one from Made.com.
Engineered wood flooring or a good-quality laminate are ultimately the best options for your home office. These surfaces are durable and best for chairs with castors, as unlike carpets they won’t show up runner marks and indents. Soften the look of the space with rugs, which will also create textural interest.
If you still want to choose carpet, go for a short-pile option – this will be the most practical. If you’re working in an open-plan space, consider using a different material from the rest of the room to zone it off – for example, use a tiled floor in the kitchen, but choose wooden flooring for the home study area to give a cosier feel.
When you’re planning your home office, it’s worth factoring in your tech from the start so you don’t have an unsightly wire spaghetti, or extension cables running across the floor as a trip hazard. If you’re building in bespoke units, factor in power points, hiding the cables and also charging points. IKEA has some great, affordable solutions for cable management, plus it also has clever furniture with built-in wireless charging pads, such as this smart LED work lamp. Native Union also has some stylish offerings, including clever charging docks, convenient cables and accessories.
Also, consider a wireless printer that can be hidden away in a cupboard, rather than taking up valuable surface space, plus a portable speaker like this Bang & Olufsen design, for when you want a bit of background music while you work.
Storage is probably the most important element of your project – after all, as the saying goes: ‘a tidy desk equals a tidy mind’. Clutter can build up very quickly if you’re not careful, so make sure everything has its rightful place and a useful purpose. Organise old statements or completed work collecting dust into boxes, and store them in a loft or a cupboard elsewhere in the house. For your relevant papers, invest in a filing system that works for you – consider using shallow storage boxes or organiser trays to help.
Ideally buy a desk with additional built-in drawers, or a storage unit that can be kept to the side for additional paperwork, files etc. Keep only the essentials in terms of stationery – if these items are on display, it’s worth spending a little extra on really beautiful designs, such as Tom Dixon’s range, these from Danish brand Hay, or individual pieces from Present & Correct.
Make your mark
A home office is still your personal space after all, and it needs to be an inspiring place to spend your time so make sure you surround yourself with things that motivate you. A wall-hung pegboard or wire frame onto which you can attach cherished photos, inspiring photography, motivational notes or prints will make a difference.
It’s also worth adding a spot of greenery to your work zone with mini terrariums or small evergreen plants to bring the outside in. You could even add a feature wall with a statement wallpaper, or choose a striking colour scheme.
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