Working remotely is becoming more and more common, bringing along with it the rise of home offices. But designing a functional, yet still attractive, home office is a challenge. Whenever I get frustrated with my home office, I hop online and search for home office design ideas. The photos that pop up look incredible, but when I take a closer look, I realize these spaces are pretty much just for show. I can’t imagine actually working in one of those offices, despite how attractive they are. That got me thinking, how can I design an “Instagrammable” home office that is also functional?
Home Office Design Tips
If you work from home, even part-time, you need a dedicated office space in the house. Comfort and function are a must, but the space should also be inspiring and free from the clutter of your home life. If you love the look and feel of the space, you’ll actually want to be there and will be more focused on work. Having a dedicated space makes it feel like you’re “at work” so you’re more likely to be more productive and not get distracted by home demands (looking at you, dishes in the sink and laundry on the floor).
Jo Heinz, president of the Dallas interior architecture and design firm Staffelbach, agrees. “Working from home is exciting because it offers an opportunity for real comfort and efficiency, but if the office is too casual or isn’t effectively separated from the home environment, peak productivity may be lost.”
So, how can you create a home office that is functional but still inviting? Here are six ideas to get you started.
1. Find the Perfect Spot
You’re going to be spending several hours each day in your home office. Find a location that works for you. A desk squeezed against a wall in the family room may not cut it. Take into account access, traffic flow and distractions. Do you work better when you’re in the middle of things or when you have a private, quiet space to work? Will you be seeing clients in the house? If so, you’ll need to factor in the appearance and make sure there’s enough space for seating. Will you have a lot of video calls? Make sure the space has good lighting and your camera won’t be facing into your bedroom or bathroom behind you.
2. Design Around Your Needs
What bothered me the most about all of the swoon-worthy home office photos I found was that they just didn’t seem functional. When designing your own office, don’t design solely based on what pieces look good where. Consider what you need to accomplish day-to-day and how you can best do that, and design it based on what you need to use and reach. Look for pieces that are both functional and beautiful. Match your office to the décor in the rest of the house if it will be visible, or take it in a totally different direction if that’s what inspires your work energy. And don’t skimp on the chair! Test them out and choose one that is comfortable and ergonomic.
3. Go Bold With Color
There’s no need to stick with boring beige walls just because it’s an office. Add a pop of color, textured wallpaper, live plants, artwork … anything that gets you energized and focused and ready to tackle your workload. Some people choose bright and cheery colors, or an accent wall in a fun color. Others prefer more subdued palettes. Color choice may be guided by your job (will you meet many clients there?) or personality (if it’s your own private space).
4. Create a View
We all need to take breaks from time to time. If you use a computer, you’ll want to give your eyes a break by looking at something in the distance. Hopefully, your new home office has a window with a view, but if it doesn’t, you can fake it. Large, wall-size murals can make you feel like you’re staring out a window while smaller pieces of artwork or shelves with knick-knacks or plants can also add interest. A fish tank with colorful fish and plants in it is a great way to relax your eyes (and mind), too.
5. Bring in the Light
Again, you’re going to be working in here for many hours each day. It must be well-lit. Natural light can help boost your mood and improve focus, so try to create your office in a room that has a window. Wall mirrors can help reflect light back into the room while supplemental lighting will ensure you have enough light to get the job done. Overhead lighting and task lighting like desk lamps can provide any extra illumination you need.
6. Think Vertical
If your home office is short on space, look up. There’s a tendency to only consider floor space when designing an office, but in your home that may not give you much room. Use the walls to your advantage by adding bookcases and floating shelves or cube storage to move files or equipment off the floor and out of the way. You’ll have more floor space and can put those important files within easy reach.
Engineer Your Space blogger Isabelle LaRue tries to keep her desk as clutter-free as possible: “I usually have a couple of folders on the left-hand side housing my current projects and since I have a bad sticky note habit, there’s always a few of those lying around on any given day.”
Daydream About Your New Home Office at HomLuv.com
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