How to design your home office
Working from home? Get your home office looking it’s best with these tips
Over the last 10 years the number of people working from home in the UK has risen to 4.2 million people, a
figure which now equates to 13.7% of the workforce. If you are one of these, or if you aspire to be, a good home working environment is crucial and so plenty of consideration should be given to the design of your workspace.
Firstly, decide where you want your home office to be. Perhaps your work needs peace and quiet for you to concentrate and make phone calls, in which case a room where you can close the door on the rest of your house might work best. Even better, if you’re lucky enough to have the space (and the budget!) a purpose-built garden office would ensure you are not disturbed and has the added bonus of being ideal if you need to be able to have clients visit you.
Be certain though that you’ve thought of heating, insulation, electricity supply and Wi-Fi: when wintery weather hits you’ll want to be snug and connected to the outside world.On the other hand, if working from home works for you because you need to keep an eye on young children or referee older kids, then a work station in the heart of the home may be best. Perhaps a corner of the kitchen could be repurposed with a computer desk so that you can continue to be involved in family life while getting your work done.
Image from Ligne Roset
Once you’ve allocated the space then think about how you want it to look. Should it complement the rest of your home and fit in with your existing scheme or should it be a stand-alone space contrasting work with home? Some people find it easier to switch into work mode when their office space clearly says “work”; others like to feel that their work area is part of their home. You can’t escape the fact that computers are a necessity of working life and that documents will need to be stored, but
whether you’re happy to have monitors, towers and metal filing cabinets on display or whether you’d rather have an easily stored laptop and an oak drawer unit with hidden filing is a personal choice.
Unless you’re like Roald Dahl who famously did his writing in his garden shed sitting in an armchair with a lap tray, you will need a desk and what sort of desk depends on the type of work you do. If you need space for several computers, filing trays and somewhere to write then you’ll need a large one, so spend some time looking around to find one big enough for your needs that will fit the space you’ve allocated to it. If you only need somewhere to rest your laptop then a simple computer desk might fit the bill.
Do you need storage in your desk? Will it need to have drawers and somewhere to store computer paraphernalia or will a simple
A good office chair is the next most important piece of furniture. It needs to be comfortable enough for you to be able to spend hours at a time sitting working without discomfort.
Do get a chair that swivels and is height adjustable, there are some great ones available and you should be able to find one that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
The Yuma Swivel Office Chair from Cult Furniture for example comes in a wide range of colours and fabrics to fit many different schemes.
Consider now whether you need some dedicated shelving for your office space. This can be valuable storage and from a design point of view can mark the delineation of your office. Think about the spacing of the shelves – will you be storing file boxes or reference books that will need a deeper shelf? Fitting adjustable shelving means that you can alter the spacing to fit whatever you need to store.
Lastly, think about lighting. If your work involves paper-based creativity, then you will benefit from making sure your workspace has natural light so position your desk near a window. A good desk lamp is essential and careful choice can set the mood of your office;
a banker’s lamp looks great in a more traditional set up while a simple
Anglepoise type is more contemporary. Bear in mind that desk lighting does not always need to be on the desk – a wall mounted light will save space on the work surface.