Does your home have a dedicated office space?
With more of us working from home than ever before – it’s estimated that by 2020 up to 50% of the UK workforce will be working remotely – the demand on our homes to provide a comfortable, stimulating working environment has never been greater.
Even if you don’t work from home, chances are you need to use your home for some form of ‘office’ work on a fairly regular basis. This could be general household admin, voluntary work, studying for an additional qualification, or a homework space for the kids. Whatever the need, trying to turn the kitchen table into an ad-hoc office isn’t always the ideal solution!
If you’d like to create a home office that integrates seamlessly into your home’s layout and style, while also helping you to be more productive, read on for lots of tips on how to get it right.
Choose the right location
As with any interiors project, location is the first thing you should be thinking about. Ideally you need to find a space that is removed from all the distractions that come with a busy household – so that could be noise, TV, evidence of chores that need to be finished, or even the biscuit cupboard!
When choosing a location for your home office, it’s well worth spending some time thinking about the type of environment that you find stimulating, and in which you will be productive. This is a very personal choice, and things like decor, the amount of ‘stuff’ in the room, and even the area of desk you have to work on can make a huge difference. Which brings us neatly onto…
Consider light carefully
Getting the lighting right is absolutely vital when it comes to creating a home office. Good lighting will help to minimise eye strain, and can really influence the mood in your office space. Think about how those awful flickering strip lights that used to be in most offices make you feel!
If at all possible, try to position your home office in a spot that has some natural light. A window is ideal, but roof lights are great too. Consider also using a mirror to bounce natural light around the room.
It’s an added bonus if the window in your home office looks out onto a nice view, for when your eyes need a break from detail work. If you don’t have a view, hanging a piece of artwork above your desk is a great alternative.
When it comes to artificial lighting, you need ceiling lights for good general lighting, plus task lighting in the form of a desk lamp. If you can alter the position and angle of the desk lamp, so much the better.
Use space cleverly
Very few of us have enormous rooms that we can dedicate to a home office, which means you need to get clever with the space you have available.
It’s possible to squeeze a desk into an unused corner or an alcove. There are some great space-saving foldaway desks on the market now too, these are particularly good if you only work from home occasionally.
Think about the vertical space available too. Could you add wall cupboards or shelving without sacrificing floor space?
Another great trick if you’re tight on space is to really minimise the clutter. This always makes a room feel bigger. Keeping furniture flush to the wall has a similar effect. And don’t forget the power of decorating with light colours!
Get the furniture right
Choosing the right furniture is crucial to the success of your home office. It can be tempting to try and re-purpose furniture from elsewhere in the home, but if at all possible you should invest in a desk and chair that allow you to work at the right height and angle. Southern Office Furniture have a good range of stylish office furniture that can suit any office space.
When it comes to storage, you ideally need a mixture of open shelving for items that you access regularly, and closed cupboards or filing cabinets for general storage. I think it’s also important to have some form of cable storage, to keep your desk and floor clutter-free.
Home office finishing touches
So you’ve got the location, lighting and furniture right; now it’s time to think about finishing touches. This is where you can stamp your personality on your home office, and integrate it into the rest of your home.
Wall art, noticeboards, stationery and clocks are all great options for injecting your home office with some much-needed style. I find Pinterest a great source of inspiration here.
Another must-have for your new office space is plants. The psychological benefits of having plants in the home is well-documented, in the form of reduced stress levels, improved productivity, and even reduced fatigue. But as well as doing us good, houseplants can really help to bring colour and texture to a room, and of course they also provide us with something lovely and natural to look at when we need a break. Just remember to water them regularly!
Have you used any of these ideas to create your home office? Do you have any top tips to add?