A stylish, functional home office is easier to achieve than you think. See Homes to Love’s top tips on how to create your dream at-home work space
Your guide to creating the perfect at-home office space
Even if you don’t work from home, the freedom granted by electronic devices such as laptops and smartphones mean that many of us who go to a conventional office on a regular basis still need a dedicated space at home for a work station.
If you don’t have a spare room to turn into a private office, there are still plenty of options for incorporating an office area into another living space. Whether it’s an underused corner of the living room or a bedroom, an alcove under the stairs or a pull-down desk in a book case, a special space to work is achievable.
Here are some things to consider when planning a home office:
1 The size of your desk
Consider how much space you need to complete tasks efficiently and the volume of accompanying paper work and files that you will need to incorporate. Some people need only a laptop and phone to be productive, other tasks involve easy access to reference material, paperwork and other equipment.
Be realistic about what you really need. There’s no point having a massive desk if you can work easily in a contained area. It will just gobble up space that can be better used for other purposes. Similarly, if you do need plenty of space surrounding yourself with piles of clutter is not going to be productive.
There are many options to conventional desks that are particularly suited to including an office in an existing living space. A signature antique desk or a roll top desk will look great a nook in a room and has value as a piece of furniture in its own right. Desks with built-in drawers to hide clutter are a worthwhile investment, or you can take a lovely dining table and repurpose it.
Many dining tables offer greater width than conventional office furniture which can be useful for storage at the back of your work area. If space is a premium think of flexible furniture options that can have multiple uses — a cleared desk doubling as a dining table or bar when entertaining, for instance. When you are considering your choice of desk remember to consider how cords can be neatly stowed. There’s nothing worse than skeins of cords spilling over surfaces giving an air of disorganisation.
2 The right chair
Looks are important but when it comes to office chairs comfort and support are paramount. If the chair you have chosen is not adjustable, which will often be the case if your office is in a living area, then make sure that it is the correct height for working at your desk and offers that vital support for your back. Team a vintage desk with a very modern chair, or vice versa for a stylish effect. Such combinations are a great way for your office to blend in with the other components of a room so they all fuse into a considered designer space.
When looking at seating, also pay attention to how you envisage using your office. Will you need space for chairs for clients or colleagues to be seated on the other side of the desk? Would a relaxed seating area such as a couch and coffee table be a good addition to your style of communicating with clients?
3 Maximising your space for storage
Offices can look messy if you don’t provide adequate storage facilities. Bookcases or floating shelves can seamlessly meld into an existing living area and provide plenty of space. Putting papers, files and other equipment in fabric-covered boxes, woven or metal baskets or small cabinets is a great way of keeping clutter under control while still providing easy access to items. A standout sideboard with plenty of cupboard space is another option and will add a touch of class to a living area.
If you’re not trying to blend your office into a living area, vertical file units that hang off walls are a great space saver and some modern filing cabinets are stylish pieces of furniture in their own right.
If you’re incorporating an office into a bedroom, you may want to assess how much wardrobe space you really need. Reinventing part of a wardrobe as an office space in a spare bedroom is an effective and unobtrusive way to incorporate an office behind closed doors. The same applies for underused pantry space in generous kitchens.
Inspiration boards are probably best left to dedicated home office areas, but even so be disciplined with what you pin up and have regular clear outs of material. Pinboards can be made from a host of materials including fabric covered bulletin boards, cork or felt. Chalk boards can also be valuable for brain storming or must-do lists, or paint an area of wall with the new range of paints available.
4 Natural and decorative lighting
Getting lighting right is very important if you are spending hours on your computer. Before positioning your desk, check out sources of natural light and make sure they won’t cast annoying reflections on you screen. Overhead lighting is always kindest for office work but if this isn’t possible to work into your existing décor a desk lamp or floor lamp should give you the illuminaton you need and simultaneously create some impact.
5 The finishing touches
Even if you have a dedicated office it’s important to include some personal touches to create a welcoming and comfortable space. Your choice of desk and chair will set the tone but hanging a favourite painting or artwork, filling a vase with fragrant flowers or choosing a distinctive desk lamp will earn their keep in creating a pleasant atmosphere. Just be careful not to fill up work surfaces with too many unnecessary objects.
If working in a living area, place a rug under your office area to delineate the space from other areas of the room or place furniture such a couches and consoles in such a way as to “partition” the space while still making it part of the décor as a whole.
Words by: Sarah Beresford. Images via: Pinterest.