Home-office design has become much more important in recent weeks but knowing how to nail the perfect blend of practical, productive and aesthetically pleasing is a minefield. Or it was, until we put together some easy-to-follow tips that guarantee to give you a workspace that won’t make you bemoan an early alarm anymore.
Location, Location, Location
You might be limited in terms of where you can set up a home office, but don’t discount anywhere (apart from the bathroom). You might have a spare room with nothing much happening inside it, but if it’s dark, noisy or just has an uncomfortable vibe, it’s not the place to try and build your empire. You might be better off installing a desk in your bedroom or even your living room, if the atmosphere feels more naturally conducive to focused work and productivity.
Put Comfort First
If you’re determined to curate a stylish home office for yourself, that’s great, but don’t put aesthetics above comfort, make the two work together. Never forget that you’ll need to spend long periods of time sat at or on the furniture you choose. This article from Kensington goes into more detail as to why comfort is crucial when planning a home office.
And while those supposedly ergonomic kneeling stools might be all the rage in fancy companies, more practical furniture like these desk chairs from VidaXL will probably be more supportive and comfortable, long-term.
Let’s also take a second to address trendy desks here. We know that treadmill desks and ultra-minimalist designs seem like they could be fun, remember that at some point, you’re going to want to sit down and have somewhere to stash your stationery, too.
Keep It Organised
Although a desk with absolutely no storage potential seems like a bad idea, there is some method to the madness of a more pared-back home office, in the sense that it forces you to get your organisation on point. Fully minimal designs rarely work for domestic offices, as you need to be able to store your paperwork and computer somewhere, but clear spaces have been shown to help with productivity, so making allowances for helpful furniture items is important.
At the very least, a bookcase and a filing cabinet (for your technology manuals and receipts if nothing else!) will be essential, as they’ll let you keep your desk free from clutter.
Add Some Relaxation
When your office is at home, it’s perfectly reasonable to think that nipping out for a quick sofa session will keep the stress levels in check, but this will also break your concentration. By creating a chill-out zone within your office, you can stay in a work frame of mind while also enjoying the luxury of a few minutes away from your screen and you don’t need a huge room to do this.
A simple armchair in the corner will be enough to reset your energy levels, but if you have a more generous room to furnish, a sofa will be an investment you won’t regret. Office environments can affect your well-being, so take control in your own home.
Nothing says professional like a sleek, wire-free home office set-up, but if you don’t have the requisite technology to ditch the cables altogether, making them neater will really help with your overall aesthetic. Neutral-coloured cable tidies are a good idea and can hide everything away simply and cost-effectively, but don’t be afraid to get a little more involved.
Sticky velcro can be put to good use to attached bulky cables to the underside of your desk, and if you have a wooden surface there’s nothing to stop you drilling through and feeding your cords through for a neat finish. If you like that idea but are lacking in tools or confidence, plenty of desks are designed specifically to offer this solution, with pre-drilled holes.
Lose The Paper Trail
With almost everything digital now, it seems archaic to have paper copies of anything, so ditch the planner, desk calendar and contacts book. Keep everything on your computer and invest in a removable hard drive that backs up daily – that way you’ll always have a copy of everything that’s important, but no mess.
Don’t Work In The Dark
This tip works wonders in two ways. Firstly, by maximising the amount of natural light in your home office, you can significantly reduce the amount of electricity that you’ll have to pay for. If you think about how much energy you’ll consume having your main lights on for at least eight hours a day, natural light could save you a lot of money, while also helping the environment. Secondly, working in natural light makes you more productive, improves your serotonin levels and keeps your mood level. Saying goodbye to the Monday blues could be as easy as positioning your desk in front of a window. Who knew?
Bring The Outdoors In
Plants – the more, the better. Not only will the right plants make your home office look fantastic (we all know that urban-jungle inspiration is hot right now), they will also revive you. You might not be working in a claustrophobic office building anymore, but you’re still indoors behind a desk, so by bringing a little nature inside you’ll retain a connection to more organic elements. Certain plants will also purify the air in your workspace, while also being an easy to modify accent colour as well. Don’t like a particular shade of green? Swap that plant out for a different one.
Don’t Ignore The Rest Of Your Home
A home office can seem like the perfect opportunity to put your stamp on your home design, but if you live with other people, you need to be sensitive. By contrasting the rest of your interior design scheme, you’ll risk upsetting the continuity that somebody else probably worked very hard to create – and worst-case scenario, you might even reduce the value of your home a little.
Think of it this way: if the majority of your home is Scandinavian-inspired, with white walls, natural wood, endless cotton and linen and lots of light, the last thing you should be considering is a dark grey office with shiny metal accents and leather everywhere. It just won’t work. By all means play off the themes of your wider home and put your own spin on them, but be mindful.
Showcase Some Inspiration
Whatever inspires you to work hard and keep going, have it on display in your home office. Whether it’s a piece of art, a photo of your family or something more abstract, make it an easy to spot focal point so you can look to it whenever you need a reminder of what it’s all for. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t fit in perfectly with the rest of your scheme, either, as it’s something just for you that needs no explanation.
One person’s perfect home office won’t be for everybody, but we can all agree that as long as you enjoy spending time in there, feel productive within its walls and earn a living, it’s doing what it should. Taking advantage of homeworking give you an opportunity to personalise your workspace far more than most companies normally allow, so it would be a crime not to have a little fun with it.