10 things to consider when designing a home office, to make the space useful, inspiring and beautiful too
- Function – is this a dedicated home office, a household admin centre, maybe somewhere children can play on a computer or do homework, is it somewhere to keep the games console to manage screen time. Maybe it’s just a peaceful place to escape and read a book. Maybe visitors will sleep here too.
- Space – Not everyone has a whole room free but a home office does not need to take up much space, is there an area in the spare room, or corner of a reception room that can be used. Many people include a space in a run of kitchen units. Could you build in something clever under the stairs. If you have the space and need to be closeted away think about converting or using loft space or have a freestanding unit in the garden (think about insulation, heating, electrical, IT connections and security issues).
- Furniture – obviously a desk and chair, these need to be functional and ergonomically comfortable, perhaps you need extra chairs and a table for meetings or include a lovely relaxing armchair or chaise longue. Storage is key – think about the type and quantity you need for filing, books, photo albums, stationery, etc. Maximise the space – shelving can go right up to the ceiling, use space under the desk, cupboards and drawers can be built into alcoves. Other furniture needed – notice/pin boards, a safe? If this space is shared – how easy is it to hide everything away when others use the area too.
- Layout – Desks do not have to be situated under a window, this may be too much of a distraction, and sun may cause glare or make the room too hot, if south facing. You may want to face a wall to maximise concentration, or have the desk in the centre of the room, what do you need within easy reach – whatever works best for the way you work, and the flexibility you need.
- IT – equipment; computer monitor and keyboard or laptop, a phone, printer (scanner and copier), separate hard drives, paper shredder, wifi routers and boosters. Make sure you have enough electrical sockets and they are positioned in convenient places. Keep the cables untangled, managed and separately labelled.
- Lighting – natural lighting is preferable, although a good lighting scheme will involve overhead lighting and task lighting, but don’t forget to consider glare and reflections on computer screens. If you want a calm ambient mood think about lamps and zoning your lighting.
- Décor – choose colours that calm or inspire you, depending on the requirements for the room. Greens and blues calm and soothe, bright orange, reds and yellows inspire and uplift. Intensity and hue of colour is more important than the colour itself. The space does not need to be boring – make it personal, have photos, paintings or decorative accessories to give personality and warmth.
- Manage distractions – try a “do not disturb” sign on the door, or accommodate small children with a little table and chairs, colouring pens and books, squishy bean bag and a small toy box. Some people want to work with music or radio in the background, others need complete silence.
- Extras – a coffee machine and fridge would be essential if you are locking yourself away for long periods of time, and now air conditioning is becoming popular. How about a film projector and seating to adapt the space to a media room, the possibilities are truly endless.
- Where to start – IKEA has a large range of home office furniture and storage solutions, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer furniture catalogues cover home offices extensively. Search out ideas on Pinterest or Houzz. You may want an individual space created with bespoke carpentry solutions, in which case consider consulting an interior designer, a good one will have all the contacts to help you create and implement your perfect and beautiful home office.
As with any interior design project – have a good think upfront and establish a clear idea about what you are trying to achieve, how the space will be used now and into the future and set a realistic budget. Most of all have fun and enjoy creating a useable and adaptable space in your home, and one that adds value to your property.
This is a beautiful home office that we created for clients who had an absolute passion for Morocco, click here to view the project.