More than 1.52 million Brits now work full-time from their kitchen tables, bedroom desks and garden sheds, up 19% from a decade ago. Yet it is a tricky balance: how do you create an office space that is functional, relaxed and yet homely?
Create a lifestyle board
Before you start moving furniture and buying pen-holders, take a moment to think about your ideal work environment. What are your requirements and personal habits? What size desk would be most useful? Will the space be used by other members of the family? How much storage do you really need? What small changes would make your working life easier and better? Get those ideas down on paper (or on a pinboard) so that they are at the heart of your design decision-making.
Maximise your space
Any nook or cranny can become a great home office: under the stairs, a bay window, a landing, a garden shed… Building shelves above your desk will provide storage and help keep your desk tidy. You could also consider adding a curtain or a sliding door to close off the space at the end of the day – out of sight and out of mind.
Find a good joiner
A good designer will help you visualise the potential of a space, while a good joiner will turn your design into a reality. Bespoke joinery is not only tailored to your individual needs, but can also be designed to fit perfectly with existing interiors and finishes. Off the shelf furniture can rarely achieve both objectives.
Good lighting is the key to a comfortable environment. Natural light is of course ideal but be mindful both of screen glare and of having a good source of artificial light when you are working after dark. Install LEDs into shelves over the desk area or fit swing-arm wall lamps to create task lighting without using up precious desk space. Also remember to think about the colour of the light: golden light is great for relaxing but you may find a cooler, bluer light helps you concentrate and stay alert.
Think carefully about the position of power points and audio/visual connections. Having untidy bundles of cables under your desk may distract you and become a dust trap. Don’t feel that your office should be corporate or bland in any way. It is your home after all, so surround yourself with art or photos; use colours; buy a statement pendant light. Lastly, bring some natural life to your desk with flowers and plant – research shows that plants increase productivity and happiness!