The home office has become a standard for many of us these days with one out of five Americans working from home, reported by Forbes. Here are a few tips to consider when designing your work-space to help make it as aesthetically pleasing as it is functional.
Designate A Space- Finding a space to work in sounds like an easy task but for many of us it means rearranging, relocating and reorganizing the way we live. Just tossing a desk in the basement corner or laundry room, when you may be working several hours a day there, does not create the most inspiring work environment. Consider ditching a guest room and adding a pull-out sofa for the occasional guest or how about that rarely used dining room or living room, french doors are a nice addition in this scenario. You can always add a table with leaves for those Thanksgiving dinners.
Old & New Furnishings- Several home-offices become junk rooms for old furniture that was handed down or not currently being used. Don’t fall into this trap, find another family member that may want them or donate the pieces that don’t work in your design. Re- furbished pieces that I find work best are desks, bookcases, chairs and chandeliers. Check out How to Paint Furniture Like a Pro and think outside of the box when accessing old pieces, you may surprise yourself.
Create a Layout- If you have the entire room this is fun, you can actually decide which direction you would like to face. It is a nice option to face out into the room and have a credenza behind you or if the room has multiple functions I like when the work-station wraps the walls.
Consider Built-Ins- I am a huge fan of built-ins if they fit into your budget. When you are laying out your office it is the perfect time to decide where the built-ins will be and how they need to function. If you are handy or know an inexpensive handyman, you can achieve a built-in look on a budget by adding a bookcase to a work-surface as shown below. Cut off the base of the bookcase, add crown molding and bolt to the wall.
Don’t Forget The Lighting- One of the most important design decisions in the room that can increase your work productivity and mood when designed properly is lighting. The idea is to create an even light level in the room and to have light directly over your main work-surface. I recommend a combination of recessed lights and decorative fixtures. Just hanging a central fixture may not provide the light level you need if your work-surfaces are against the wall. If recessed lights are not in the budget you can always add a desk lamp.
My best advice is to create a room that you “want to spend time in”, one that reflects your personal style while meeting your needs for your daily tasks. Here are more tips and design advice to get you started creating your the office of your dreams.