Working from home has become the norm for many of us this year. Regardless of whether you’ve been dreaming of a home office for years, or if working from home is your idea of hell, it looks like this change is going to be here for the long haul. Even once cities start fully opening up, and people begin moving more freely, lots of companies are embracing the remote workforce as a permanent fixture. Many people formerly employed by big companies are also taking the opportunity to branch on out their own-but from the comfort of home!
So if that includes you, it’s probably time to start thinking seriously about the design of your home office. Here’s my advice, from a designer who’s been there:
SIZE VERSUS LOCATION
When you’re choosing a room to make into your home office, you’ll want to consider two main things (and they’re the same things you’d consider when picking your house): Is the location right and is it the right size?
You want to pick a room that’s:
- Away from distractions
- Has plenty of power outlets
- Has good WiFi and phone signal
As well as being big enough to suit your needs:
- Do you have to fit a printer?
- Do you have lots of files to store?
- Are there any industry-specific tools you need?
- Is your work done at a desk or do you need more space?
Just like when you’re picking a house, you’ll almost certainly have to compromise on something, so prioritize.
IF YOU ARE SHORT ON SPACE
Make it multi functional. I LOVE a multitasking item. If you’ll be taking over a guest bedroom, how about switching out the bed for a sofa bed? Even better, what about a Murphy bed? These work brilliantly as part of a built-in. Storage solutions in your home office mean the space can work for your lifestyle and not feel like a dead space or dumping ground.
If your home is a bit more open plan and you’re totally lacking a tucked away room of any sort, you can still create an office ‘zone’. Use a rug to mark out the ‘office’ and set your furniture on there. Desk, chair, waste paper basket, cabinet, be sure that at least two legs of each item is placed on the rug. The effect will be everything feeling “anchored” together.
IF YOUR OFFICE IS REALLY OUT OF THE WAY
Maybe the best space you found is in the attic, in an annex in the garden or in an otherwise out of the way spot. Great-no distractions! But let me tell you what’s going to be your downfall:
Each time you go to the rest of the house for a coffee or to use the bathroom, you’re going to want to stay. You might also find that the area isn’t insulated, heated, or cooled like the rest of the house, making it uncomfortable at certain times of the year.
Make it comfy! Could you install a coffee machine and a small refrigerator?
What can you do about climate control? Adding a bit of insulation with rugs and curtains can help curb the extremes of both hot and cold weather while you figure out a more long- term solution.
If you’re really out of the way, maybe consider if you’d like to add plumbing in your office in the future. Is there space for a small bathroom and an existing water supply?
CHOOSE YOUR DESK
You might not want a traditional desk, especially if you’re going for a multitasking home office. A dressing table with plenty of storage is an ideal desk which won’t stick out like a sore thumb in a spare bedroom. You can also take inspiration from the past. Bureau desks were designed as a compact office that can fold neatly away, and they do a great job of it. Closing the lid on your desk is a physical cue that can solve the problem of truly mentally being able to clock in and out of work.
Remember: this is your home first and your office second, so choose something that fits your style. If it’s beautiful and suits your personality then you’ll be much more inspired to sit and work at it!