Home offices are becoming something of a luxury these days, given that space is often at a premium. If we’re lucky enough to have an office, chances are it doubles as a guest room or workout area. For many of us, the dining table is our work desk.
Furniture manufacturers are responding to our changing home work environments, with more multi-purpose designs on the market — desks that extend to become dining tables, for example, and ottomans that work as side tables and seats, often with built-in storage. Here’s a look at some key elements in designing a stylish and functional home office.
First and foremost, your home office needs to be comfortable and functional, so invest in a good quality chair, say designers; one that offers good back support and is adjustable to your desk height.
A good filing system is really important in a home office because it helps you keep on top of paper clutter, and chances are, if you’re more organized, you’ll also be more productive. A lot of people are now opting for standing or raised desks and choosing smaller filing cabinets on casters so they can roll them underneath their desks and free up floor space. Given that they’re portable, they can also be moved to other areas of the home during the day.
If you are going to be working at your dining table, it’s a good idea to invest in one that is multi-functional, such as a desk with drawers that folds into a dining table.
Designers point out that a key element in designing a home office is lighting, so in addition to ceiling lights, it’s a good idea to bring in a couple of lamps, (desk and standing) to create a warmer, brighter and more welcoming space.
Painting your home office a light, neutral colour, like Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White, can make the room feel brighter and more spacious. It’s also a great backdrop for any art on the walls and greenery, with pot plants adding both visual interest and being good for our health. Choosing a nice rug for your office floor will personalize and warm up this space without creating any clutter.
Be selective about the furniture and decor you add to your home office, say designers, because it’s hard enough to get through everything you need to in a working day without having to constantly tidy and rearrange this space. Less stuff means it’s easier to keep tidy.
For home offices that double as guest rooms, some interior designers sing the praises of Ikea’s Hemnes daybed. The bed has three drawers for storage — perfect for bedding — and folds into a king-sized bed, while working as a stylish sofa during the day.
Along the same lines, Ikea came out with the Friheten sofa bed not long ago It folds into a queen-sized bed, but is a clean, professional looking sofa, making it great for home offices.
Foyers and hallways are also now being utilized as office spaces, says Zoe Gerrad, director of product for modern furniture manufacturer Article.
“Console tables can be used as small desks,” she says.
The key to avoiding clutter in your home office and home, in general, is to look for storage solutions in everything, Gerrad says. It’s wise to invest in extra filing cabinets, baskets, and desks that have storage compartments and cable management systems, she says.