For those who know me, you’ll know that my husband, Lawrence, and I both work from home most of the time. My husband running his marketing consultancy, THiNK, and me SmartSpace.
Whilst we’re both out quite a lot with clients, we also need space a home. Luckily we’re perfectly set up for it with a second living area in our property, which has an open plan “loft” look and feel. Right now, that’s split into two areas, a smaller office, and a slightly larger movie area.
Until now hubby has been tucked into a back bedroom whilst he gets up and running but the time has come! We’re having a change around and he’s moving up which got me thinking about home offices. Here are the 5 tips that I’m applying to create a practical but beautiful home office.
It’s all about the space!
Whether you’re creating a study nook in a corner, making the most out of eves space, or turning that funny little room / return that you have no idea what to do with into a study…it’s all about the space.
For me that means flipping our space around, the larger movie area moves into the smaller study to make room to two desks and extra storage. And our floor to ceiling bookcase turns from light reading materials to business books, storage and filing.
If you’re not sure about space, try drawing a scales furniture plan, there are plenty of great apps to do this. Or measure up furniture in the space using newspaper. Stick or cut sheets of newspaper to size so you can see what’ll fit and what won’t. This also means you can easily move the sheets around and get a feel for layout and proportions.
Desks and chairs
Whatever you’re doing in your office, and of course your available space, having the right amount of desk space can make the difference between pleasure and pain! So, consider what you’re doing and how you work. Are you neat, like me, or a bit of a spreader, like my husband? Do you need desk draws to deal with mess or is complementary shelving to create a more organised and stylised look more your thing?
The right desk and chair combo can be like a work of art. But, remember the ergonomics of the situation and that you’ll need the right setup for your back, posture and to avoid any recurring injuries, stresses and or strains. Try and aim for the best-quality and setup you can, it’ll make your life much easier.
If you’re not sure try a local ergonomist as-well-as testing out desks and chairs. Sit there for a while and be honest with yourself, is that chair you love really working for you?
Having storage is imperative at home. For example, I have so many samples to manage I need to be on top of it or I’d never find anything… not to mention the mess. My hubby, on the other hand is a little messy (not terrible but he could be better).
So if you’re super organised, open shelving with neat rows of books and files will look like a designer-store display. Or if you’re happy with organised chaos, shelving behind closed doors is definitely the right choice for you. You can stick calendars and important reminders on the inside of the doors, and you don’t have to be so neat.
Cupboards or deep draws are also handy if a guest turns up unannounced. You can quickly hide clutter inside – no one will see the hidden mess – and when they’re gone you can just carry on.
Shed some light on the situation
Lighting can and should be both practical and beautiful, much like the desk and chair selections. Whatever you’re doing, the right lighting is important for your eyes.
You can go classic, funky, retro, oversized, mounted, colourful, brass, chrome, wood…and the list goes on and on!!! And it doesn’t just have to be desk mounted, if you have the space consider pendants hung low to the desk or a floor light to the side of your desk.
It’s still your home, and not a corporate office with coffee machines and foosball tables, so it needs to fit with your style…unless foosball tables are your style of course!
So, don’t forget to have some fun with it, after all the space can still be styled: furniture choice and colours, artwork, flowers, colourful stationery, rugs, chair accessories (throws, cushions, pinboards etc.).
A bit like a kitchen a study should be a balance of functional beauty and storage, fit to purpose and the needs of the user(s) as-well-as complementary to the overall household. Try not go to purely on price, consider your health and how you’ll use the space.
Once my study is finished I’ll post some pictures. In the meantime, if you have any study or design needs, please contact me here.