Are you planning to add a home office to your home ? Whether your home office design will be located in an annex, a small bedroom or just the corner of a room, there are a few essentials you will want to consider.
If you spend the full work week there or even just a few hours, it’s important that your home office be a comfortable and inviting place to spend time and to get your work done efficiently.
1. Location is key
Home offices come in many different shapes and sizes. It can be in a separate room, a quiet corner or even in your kitchen.
The key to selecting the right place for your home office, is to think about where and when you do your work. If you are a busy mom, a kitchen desk area may be the ideal place for your central command post.
However, if you’re a professional, you’ll want to select a space that’s away from the daily flow and distractions of your household.
2. Allow Enough Space
Make sure you allow enough space to work comfortably. Ask yourself if you will be able to move easily from side to side, stand up and sit back from your desk. While this may seem like a no-brainer, it’s easy to underestimate how much space you need. To avoid this, use the same rule of thumb professional designers use to lay out a workstation allow at least 5 to 7 feet in width and 1 to 1.6 feet in depth.
3. Selecting a Desk and Chair
Choosing the right desk and chair for your home office is essential. Select a desk that is wide enough for your computer and anything else necessary to do your work. This could be an in-tray, reference materials, or space to take notes. Ideally, your desk should 4 feet wide minimum.
However, if all you ever need is a laptop you can get away with less. Most people find 5 feet wide or larger to be the most comfortable. While an adjustable-height desk is ideal it’s not always practical in a home office setting. Choose a desk that is not too high 2.6 feet high is an acceptable range.
Invest in a good quality chair that is comfortable and adjustable if possible. Your neck and back will thank you.
4. Storage and Shelving
Storage is often overlooked when designing a home office and can really affect your productivity. Make sure to include enough shelving, filing cabinets or cupboards for your storage needs. Consider your workflow – what comes in, where will it stay while being worked on, and where does it go when complete ? Place your inbox on or next to your desk. Keep your current work within arm’s reach.
Locate your filing system nearby. Don’t forget reference materials – if you use manuals, catalogs or reference books, locate a shelf near your desk to keep them close at hand.
5. A Place to Meet
Will you have clients or customers visit during the day ? If you have room to have a small meeting area, that is ideal. If not, plan for some additional seating in your home office design to allow for sit-down meetings. This can be as simple as 1 or 2 comfortable chairs, which are easy to pull up to your desk.
6. Paint the Walls a Color You Love
Forget “office beige”: You need a color that gets your work motor humming. For some people, that’s a bright, cheery color like orange or lime green. Others need a calming shade like botanical green or sea foam blue to perform.
7. Choose Homey Accessories
Unless you’re going for a contemporary look, choose extras that enhance the comfy feeling of your home office, like a pretty mug for a pencil holder, trendy notepads and sticky notes, and a decorative waste basket. Wrap your bulletin board in a gorgeous fabric, and hide utilitarian bookshelves behind curtains made from the same material.
Hang inspirational prints on the walls, whether that’s simply your kids’ framed artwork, a classic painting or modern art/painting.
8. Inspire Yourself
Set up a mini-shrine a few cherished knickknacks, a piece of framed art, a special photo on your desk that motivates you to create and/or get the work done so you can get out of there. A print of Paris can channel your inner muse, or a photo of your children might remind you that you’re doing it all for them.
No view ? Position your desk to face the door instead or place a pleasing piece of artwork or an inspirational pin board above your desk. Either, will give your eyes a rest and something to focus on when you look up from your work.
9. Natural Light and View
Good lighting is critical for any home office space. Choose a location with some natural light and a view if possible. Position your desk to face the windows or in a location where your computer screen will not be affected. Translucent window shades or blinds can help reduce any glare without darkening your room. You can enhance natural light by including a mirror and by keeping most of your walls a light color.
An overhead ceiling light will provide good general lighting. A pair of open-top floor lamps placed in the corners of your room will do the same. Include a desk light to provide shadow-free task lighting and extra light in the evenings. Add some full spectrum daylight bulbs in your light fixtures an extra boost.
10. Tame Your Technology
Nothing makes a home office look or feel more cluttered than wires hanging from your desk and running everywhere. Take control of your technology with these simple tips:
- Add a wireless router – you’ll reduce your wires by half
- Invest in both a wireless printer and a wireless mouse
- Add a grommet in your desktop to lead any wires from your desk down below
- Attach any visible wires to the underside of your desk or down along a desk leg
- Gather loose wires along the floor together with a simple cord tamer
11. Accessorize and Personalize
Don’t sacrifice on style..! The great part about working from home is that YOU can decide how you want your home office to look and feel. Match your home office with the design and style of your home.
Think about what inspires you. It could be a favorite piece of artwork, a collection of objects, or an invigorating paint color. Include these personal touches when you plan your home office design. It will brighten up your day and make you feel… at home.