Do you need a light like Needlite?

Needlite ™ daylight desk lamp | H is for Home

The clocks go back at midnight on Sunday, heralding the start of daylight saving time and winter. Justin doesn’t mind it, but it’s not a time of year that I look forward to – the long nights get me down-in-the-dumps. I find it hard to wake up and get going in the morning. It used to be much more of a struggle back when I commuted every day – waking up in the dark, coming home in the dark and spending those few precious daylight hours cooped up indoors. Does your mood change when the clocks go back in the autumn?

Boxed Needlite ™ daylight desk lamps | H is for Home

Needlite ™ has recently sent us a pair of their daylight desk lamps to try out and review. They’re LED lights which emit a similar spectrum of light that you get from sunshine. They help alleviate negative mood changes and depression from the lack of natural light; and in so doing, can help improve work performance, productivity and creativity.

Needlite ™ daylight desk lamp | H is for Home

They’ve been set up, at the advised 45º angle, either side of a large table which we use for both office and craft activities – a simple, two-minute job. They’re sleek and minimalist – and look really great.

Needlite ™ iPhone app screenshots | H is for Home

You can operate the lights manually by finger touch control – or alternatively, you have the option of downloading an app for your smartphone (another 2-minute job) and controlling them that way. You can alter the brightness/dimness and even give yourself a little daylight boost if necessary.  You can also use the app to programme them to switch off at a particular time – a great way of letting you know that your working day is over!

Needlite ™ daylight desk lamps | H is for Home

I could feel the positive effects immediately – my mood lifting on the dark, drizzly day that we took these photos. Our work room faces almost east, therefore loses direct sunlight pretty early on in the day. With our new Needlite lamps, it will make it feel like it’s south facing!

I think they’re going to be a godsend this winter and they come highly recommended for fellow Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferers.

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How to create a home office where you’d want to work

Home office

In the 21st century, more and more of us are becoming self-employed – and employers themselves are becoming more flexible about remote working. That means that many people now operate from home. Living and working in the same place can be hard to do – there are so many distractions; domestic chores, family, knocks at the door. To make a success of it, you might need to create a home office where you’d want to work and enjoy spending time. We’ve come up with a few ways that can help you attain this…

Home office desk and chair

Furniture

The first place you’ll want to start is with your office furniture. If you’re going to be spending an entire working day in a room, comfort is paramount. Office chairs should be ergonomic and supportive; sitting for hours at a time can wreak havoc with the shoulders, back and spine.

If you have the space, additional office seating such as an armchair or small sofa gives you more options for activities such as reading documents and having meetings etc. It also encourages you to step away and avoid staring at your computer screen for extended periods of time.

Office desks need to be the correct height in relationship to office chairs. Too high or too low and it will affect your posture which could cause discomfort and aches & pains.

home office desk with books and bowl of fresh fruit salad

Lighting

Natural light is the best for working. Have your desk face a window rather than away from it (glare from sunlight on a computer screen can strain your eyes). Besides, being in front of a window can be an effective distraction if the view is over a garden, landscape or cityscape. Staring out helps you think and come up with imaginative ideas!

If natural sunlight isn’t an option, your choice of electric lighting becomes even more important. A desk lamp is the next best thing. It can be positioned to shine in just the spot where it’s needed. If your desk space isn’t large enough to accommodate a lamp, an adjustable floor-standing lamp could be the answer. It is important to choose the correct wattage of bulb – nothing too dim or too bright – something around 50Watts.

Overhead fluorescent strip lights are not recommended as they can cause eye strain and lead to headaches.

Desk with box files

Environment

For you to work effectively, your home office needs to be well organised. As the saying goes, “a tidy desk leads to a tidy mind”. Move mess off your desk and into storage. Install shelves and drawers and put paper into filing trays & boxes. Use a noticeboard Uncluttered, ordered, distraction-free

Keeping your office environment tidy is just the start. Enhance the space with houseplants which purify the air. Keep healthy snacks, bottle of water, tea/coffee maker (just the smell of coffee can boost spirits) to hand.

Finally, you need to think about the ambient temperature. No one enjoys working somewhere where it’s too hot or too cold. There’s no recommended temperature – everyone’s different. However, a YouGov survey found that the average British person says their ideal temperature is 21ºC.

Home office with bright orange feature wall

Colour

There is a psychology of colour, it can subconsciously affect your mood. For instance, blue is associated with feelings of calm, green represents nature, growth and renewal, grey is sophisticated and practical, yellow is warm, energetic and uplifting. You can add colour to your working environment in many ways – a lick of paint, colourful furniture or pretty accessories.

Home office desk with inspiration wall

Inspiration & motivation

We all need inspiration and motivation at work sometimes; getting over the Wednesday hump or when Friday just seems to drag. There are visual and aural methods of improving your productivity – artworks, postcards, photos. Some people need complete silence to work, however, tuning into the radio, playing music or listing to recorded sounds from nature such as birdsong or rain showers can increase your work rate.

Hopefully, by following these tips, you’ll be able to create a home office space that makes you comfortable, productive, happy and healthy.

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Palaset Treston storage boxes

Vintage Papaset Treston storage boxes | H is for Home

We picked up these fabulous red & white office drawers last week. They’re from the Palaset range designed by Ristomatti Ratia for Treston of Finland in the early 1970s.

Vintage Papaset Treston storage boxes | H is for Home

They come in individual units which slot on top of one another allowing you to customize your own larger system as required. They’re also available in brown, yellow and green colourways. For vinyl junkies out there, the open cubes are the perfect size to accommodate LPs. The modular range was very popular at the time, selling worldwide, but it’s increasingly hard to find these days. We think that there was a later re-launch, but the manufacturer used an inferior plastic and production didn’t last very long.

Vintage Papaset Treston storage boxes | H is for Home

Look out for the early examples. They have real solid weight to them – people often think they’re made of wood when first handled.

Lable on the bottom of a vintage Papaset Treston storage box | H is for Home

In addition to designing office products, Ristomatti Ratia worked on a variety of homewares – fashion accessories too – including spectacles and a best selling shoulder bag. Incidentally, he’s the son of Armi Ratia, née Airaksinen, the founder of Marimekko.

Our Picturehouse Antiques shop space | H is for Home

We’ve put the drawers into shop space number 2. The look of this space changes quite often, but it tends to mix mid century modern design with much older country antiques. It’s certainly quite eclectic at the moment!

Our Picturehouse Antiques shop space | H is for Home

These two stacking units are priced at £195 (ish!) for the pair – ‘collection only’ for these. Drop us a line if you’re interested and would like us to reserve them for you… or, if there’s anything else in the pictures that takes your fancy, we can advise on prices, shipping options if applicable etc.

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Price Points: Office wall storage

Office wall storage | H is for Home

We’re currently… slowly… getting our home office spruced up, cleared out and fit for work. We’ll tell you a little bit more about that tomorrow. Anyway, like the rest of of the rooms in our house – we never seem to have enough storage in there.

In the kitchen and bedroom, storage needs are primarily big cupboards and drawers; office requirements are a bit different. Shelving is the main demand with rows of (matching) box files – the tax office demands that self-employed people keep records – bank statements, receipts, invoices and the like – for at least 5 years. Even with a lot being kept online, it’s still a lot of paper to store!

I’ve always liked a tidy desk, free from piles of detritus – it keeps me sane. The best way to achieve this is to keep everything in office wall storage; off the work surface yet still within easy reach. I’d happily give wall space to all three of the modular options above which range from £36 to over £200 for the combinations shown. I love having a visible place for everything, no opening and closing drawer after drawer searching for the paper clips or the stapler, the scissors or the tape measure.

  1. Mystic modular wall storage: £8.99 per module, AliExpress
  2. Urbio Perch Biggy magnetic modules: from £3.82 for a Bitsy Organiser (this combination £94.79), The Container Store
  3. Vitra Uten.Silo by Dorothee Becker from Vitra: £225.25, Clippings

Get their look: Shop owner’s home office

Shop owner's home officecredit

We don’t really have a dedicated work space here at H is for Home – the whole house gets used for various activities! The photo above shows another shop owner’s home office… they seem to keep things a little more contained. It’s the domain of Estela, a Spanish homewares blogger and owner of deco and living.

It is furnished with numerous items available for sale in her shop, all set out in a tidy and uncluttered fashion. There’s ample storage to neatly conceal those mundane requisites of day-to-day business such as paperwork and packaging materials.

The white String modular shelving and cupboards appears to merge into the wall behind it. Keeping the colour palette to white & wood gives the space a simplicity and calmness. The utilitarian trestle table triples up for working, packaging and dining.

With more and more people setting up their own cottage industries and working from home, this space is a real lesson in how a chosen area of your house can not only be multi-functional, but very attractive too.

  1. String shelving
  2. Orla Kiely Scribble pear scrapbook
  3. Bloomingville natural seagrass basket with handles
  4. Recycled demijohn bottle
  5. FLUNS magazine files – 4 pack
  6. KNUFF set of 2 plywood magazine files
  7. GERTON beech table top
  8. FINNVARD trestle table
  9. Wood storage baskets
  10. Hübsch grey chair

Get their look: Shop owner's home office | H is for Home

Essential items to include when designing your home office

All white home office

With the invention of internet and portable computers, working from home is becoming an ever more accessible and popular lifestyle choice. Whether you have decided to run your own business, having a baby or enjoy home comforts far too much, when deciding to work at home it is a good idea to set up a home office which will be your work zone. Below is a list of essential items which should be included when designing your home office.

Laptop, notebook & pen, mobile phone and coffee

Computer

Virtually all jobs which require an office environment will require a computer to write documents, access the internet and send emails to clients. A laptop is a good choice, because it will allow you to take the computer out with you if you need to meet clients etc. If you like working on a big screen but are short on cash, instead of splashing out on an expensive desktop computer, why not by a monitor screen which you can link to your laptop, doubling it up as a desktop computer.

Broadband speed test result | H is for Home

High speed internet connection

There is nothing worse than spending hours waiting for web pages to load or media to buffer. Not only can this be frustrating but it is also a huge waste of time which could be put to more effective use. When looking for an internet connection ideal for a home office, wireless, fiberoptik internet is a wise choice for that high speed connection which will allow you to use multiple devices simultaneously. This is ever more important if you have a large family with many people connected at once. Virgin media boasts being one of the fastest internet providers currently.

Ergonomic chair in a home officecredit

Ergonomic office chair and desk

If you are taking working from home seriously, it is likely you will be doing a good 9-5 or similar shift in the home office. Therefore, it is important that you have comfortable, ergonomic working conditions to work in, to increase comfort and reduce physical damage to your body through excessive straining over time. A good place to start is spending some cash on a good quality ergonomic office chair. This will prevent back strain and aches which develop from excessive straining. A large desk, tailored to your height will also prevent hunching which can be bad for posture over time and prevent the development of back problems as you age.

Storing office papers and pens

Organisation equipment

One of the most important tips when running a home office is to ensure it is tidy and organised. A messy environment can be both mentally and physically stressful. Not only will you waste precious time finding important documents and files in a heap of items, but a cluttered work place often leads to a cluttered mindset and therefore you may become less efficient in your job. It is therefore important to install lots of storage units within the office for different items. A few simple, cheap storage units you can buy are filing trays for all your important letters. Ring binders for all your important documents and an online storage account for all your important virtual documents. Dropbox is an online storage provider with a good reputation.

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