Many people dream about having a bespoke home office — your own personalised space to tick off your tasks while enjoying home comforts. No matter how often you plan to use it or how large your home is, a private working space is achievable for everyone. Here are six easy steps to create the ultimate work-from-home office.
1. Make a List
Before you drive full-steam ahead with setting up your home office, it’s important to plan what you need so you know exactly how much space to dedicate to your new working space.
If your work is computer-based, do you work from a desktop or laptop? Do you need to connect this to one screen or two? Do you need a printer? The answers to these questions dictate how large your desk needs to be. Do you prefer to sit down all day or would you like a standing desk, too? Perhaps you’re a graphic designer and you need an extra table for your artwork or space for a graphics tablet. You also need to consider how much paperwork you use and where you will store it — are the desk drawers suitable or will you need a separate filing cabinet?
Whatever you need, write it down because it may surprise you that everything won’t fit into the little nook of the living room you had planned. On the other hand, you may realise that the massive second bedroom is far too large for your home office and, instead, that empty corner of the kitchen will do nicely.
2. Find the Perfect Space
Now that you have all the information, it’s time to pick the perfect spot to set up base. At this point, it’s a good idea to think realistically about what will work best for you long term. Your first thought may be to dedicate an entire room so you can shut the door and enter the work zone. However, if you’re used to working in an open-plan office or you prefer to have your family’s chatter in the background, it’s completely okay to integrate your working space into living areas.
Using this honest analysis of your natural working style along with the knowledge of how much space you will need, you’ll find the ideal home office space. You may also want to think about natural lighting — is there a window nearby? If you get cold easily, are you close to a radiator? If you make a lot of phone calls, you might need to be able to shut the door on the rest of the house to minimise distraction. There’s a lot to think about, but it’s worth putting in the extra thought now so you don’t have to move everything around three months down the line.
3. Choose Your Equipment
With the layout arrangements out of the way, it’s time to get practical. Most people require a desk and chair, along with a desktop computer or laptop, and a keyboard, mouse and stationery.
Many of these can be picked based on personal preference, but it’s a good idea to take particular care with your office chair. If you’re spending hours a day sitting on it, it’s essential to pick one that supports your back and encourages you to sit correctly. Get a chair that is easily adjustable so you can change the height, back position and tilt so that your knees are slightly lower than your hips. To help prevent repetitive strain injury, keep your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor when using your mouse and keyboard. Although working from home comes with a host of benefits, it’s important to consider proper office ergonomics, no matter where you’re working.
- Decide on Storage Solutions
We touched on storage solutions earlier when making a list of what you will need, so you may already have an idea of the right solution for you. But what are the most popular options?
For paperwork and files that you constantly need to hand, look for desks that come with drawers or add a desk document tidy or noticeboard to your setup. The latter is a useful tool to prop above the desk so you can pin those all-important details. A bookshelf next to your desk in the same finish will also provide the space you need while creating a cohesive look. For larger storage, add a stylish filing cabinet or, if you want to think big, consider turning an existing alcove into a little library.
5. Choose Your Lighting
If your chosen home office spot is near a window, you’ll benefit from gorgeous light during the daylight hours, but if you’re working with a computer, make sure to consider the sunlight angles throughout the day to avoid glare. If you’re up for some home improvements, a roof window is an excellent option, as it will provide lovely, clear light all day.
Otherwise, a desk lamp is a simple but wonderful way to create a home-office ambience, as it lets you view your work clearly yet doesn’t cast shadows as a ceiling light may do. Soften any harsh light with a lampshade.
6. Add Some Character
This is the fun part! The beauty of creating your own home office is that you can style it exactly how you like. If you’re working in a space that you love, your pride will motivate you to keep it clean, tidy and presentable, which in turn will keep you coming back to tackle that to-do list.
Pick a theme to base the styling on. This could be industrial, architectural, elegant or pretty. Put all of your planning together and you can head to the shops knowing exactly what you need and with a design in mind. Keep it cohesive and don’t go for too many wild and wacky colours — you want your workspace to amp up your productivity, not distract you. Don’t forget those finishing touches, such as a rug, a beautiful plant or a framed inspirational quote or artwork.