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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Get their look: Design-led monochrome work room

Design-led monochrome work roomcredit

This design-led monochrome work room is in the home of Italian-born, Madrid-based architect, Teresa Sapey. Her apartment is situated opposite the entrance to Buen Retiro Park – one of the largest in the city – and occupying the top floor, views must be stunning. The trees change form and colour throughout the year – and light them hits in different ways – so the vista is an ever changing experience.

This space, as with the whole house, has design classic furniture such as the Panton chairs dotted throughout – along with some fabulous art; some of it the designer’s own, and many inherited family pieces. It’s actually filled with many objects numerically, but doesn’t look cluttered in any way. That requires real skill and an eye for detail… but Teresa doesn’t consider it an interior design project – more an ever-evolving life project!

You can see further photographs of the rest of her lovely home here.

  1. Glo-Ball floor lamp by Jasper Morrison for Flos
  2. Vondom Adan planter – white, small
  3. Clear acrylic book stand by Taschen
  4. Fornasetti Buongiorno/Buonanotte vase
  5. Vitra Panton chairs
  6. Superstudio Abs Ballon Abs armchair, black
  7. Superstudio Sillón Ballon Abs armchair, white
  8. Charles & Ray Eames La Chaise

Click here for more of our ‘Get their look‘ features.

Get their look: Design-led monochrome work room | H is for Home

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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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Want a home office but have no space? No problem!

bedroom home officecredit

Whether you work from home full time or you’re simply trying to get some extra work done after-hours, a home office can be a perfect solution to balancing your laptop in your knees in front of the TV. But with a severe lack of space in many of our homes, just where can you put one?

Minimalist home office with bookshelvescredit

Maximise the space

If you can’t stretch to occupying one room in your home to transform into your office then keep an eye out for any nooks and crannies that can be the perfect place to get your work done.

Simplicity is key so look for a spot where you can fit a table, your laptop and a couple of drawers. Consider the natural light in a room too – you want to have plenty of natural light whilst you’re at work so look for a space where this is possible.

Eclectic home office with painted grey wallscredit

Build up

Once you’ve identified a spot, build up starting from the walls. Hanging shelves to keep files and folders can help to keep your room from getting cluttered whilst also drawing the eye’s attention towards the walls. Mix it up and hang some decorative objects too, to create a pretty and inviting atmosphere.

To try and use the space effectively think about what you’ll need. If you need a printer and scanner – consider buying a two-in-one to save on space. If you need a filing cabinet – consider wall storage such as magazine racks or display shelving. Do you need a bookcase? Again, consider an attractive bookshelf and only keep the books that you’ve used in the last few months. Any others should be placed in storage, sold or donated to a charity shop. Do you need a table and drawers? Why not consider getting a desk with built in drawer space?

Boho styled home officecredit

Get comfy

Every home office needs a comfy spot – no matter how small. If space allows, try and invest in a super-comfortable, statement armchair to step away from your workload. Having a small space where you can take yourself to is great for concentration and productivity levels.

Plus, it gives you an excuse to take 10 minutes to kick back with a coffee, a book or even a light snooze!

Home office alcove decorated with artworkcredit

Personalise it

Whether you’ve found a space under the stairs, a spot in your bedroom or even an underused corner of the kitchen add some personalisation to your office by hanging a noticeboard on the wall surrounding it to keep any important clippings, events or even your favourite drawing done by your little ones.

If this is your permanent spot, paint the wall in front of your home office with a bright colour. Shades of green, for example, are good for people who work long hours as the colour does not cause fatigue and can help you to remain calm whilst yellow can help to stimulate creativity and encourages optimism.

Don’t forget to add a plant or two. Plants help to increase the air quality around you and can even help to boost your productivity levels. Choose a low maintenance plant such as a spider plant or philodendron as they require less care and attention than others (perfect if you’re too busy!).

How have you incorporated an office into your home? Be sure to let us know and get in touch!

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Design ideas for a stylish home office

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Courtney Adamo's home officecredit

Working from home is living the dream for many people. You can crawl out of bed, put the coffee machine on, and be at your desk in less than five minutes. It really is perfect for anyone who would rather not suffer the daily commute or office politics. It’s also great if you like to work flexible hours because you can pop out to the supermarket or walk the dog whenever you feel like it.

The only disadvantage of working from home, apart from the fact that home and work boundaries can sometimes become rather blurred, is that you do need to have a space set aside where you can work in peace. If you’re lucky enough to live in a spacious dwelling, all is good, but if space is at a premium in your abode, you’re going to have to get a little bit creative. So what are your home office options?

Minimalist under-stairs officecredit

Workspace nooks

When you can’t afford to lose a room, your only option is to create a workspace in a corner of an existing room. This isn’t ideal as there’ll be a lot of distractions if you have other family members at home when you’re trying to work, but it’s better than working on the kitchen table.

Workspace nooks can be slotted in anywhere, but if you have some extra space under the stairs, this is the ideal place to fit a desk and chair. Build shelves and add a small desk lamp so you have a cosy little corner where you can work in peace. Alternatively, install a desk in the corner of a room and build a partition using bookshelves to screen it from view.

Attic office with Velux windowscredit

Attic offices

Attics make great home office spaces as long as they’re well insulated and you install windows for ventilation and light. Velux windows are perfectly designed for sloping roofs, but if installed at height, they can be difficult to open. One solution is to fit an electric window opener from Teal Products – that way you can continue working instead of looking for a chair to stand on to open the window.

Spare room being used as a home officecredit

Turn the spare room into an office space

Spare rooms make useful offices as long as you swap the traditional bed for a futon or sofa bed. You’ll also need to vacate the room if you have guests come to stay.

Garden officecredit

Build an office in the garden

If you’re the type of person who wants complete peace and quiet, building an office in the garden is the ideal solution. Wooden sheds can easily be converted into home offices with the right insulation and heating. If it isn’t too far from the main house it should be easy to install a telephone line. You might not need planning permission if the structure isn’t very large, but do check before you build.

Working from home is good for the environment and your sanity, but you’ll need to be disciplined as it is very easy to waste time watching TV or tackling household chores instead of working!

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