Over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic and a majority of us are still working from home. The memories of driving to the office, switching on our computers, and chatting with co-workers near the water cooler are long gone.
And, chances are, you didn’t put much thought into your home office. Sure, having an alternative office was a nice idea, but it would always play second fiddle to your corporate cubicle or co-working space. Whether you have an entire room dedicated to work or a tiny nook wedged in between your living room and kitchen, a home office is now essential.
The work-from-home trend isn’t going away anytime soon, so you might want to make “redecorating your office” part of your 2021 resolutions. To help, design experts have shared their recommendations for the home office trends you need to know.
1/ Peace and quiet
It’s important to create a distinction between where you live and where you work. Unless you can separate your workspace with a partition, avoid working in your bed or in your bedroom at all costs! This is a sanctuary for sleep and relaxation. You don’t want to taint it with work emails and to-do lists.
Instead, find a quiet space in your house, maybe the dining, living room, or that nook under the stair case, and set up your desk here.
2/ Keep your space clean…and remember what’s behind you!
A clean space means a focused mind. If you don’t have a lot of floor space or just want to keep your desktop clean, put the walls to work. Take advantage of vertical space with floor-to-ceiling built-ins and a pegboard, magnetic board or corkboard. If you like to “think big” when you brainstorm, you can turn part of a wall into a whiteboard or a chalkboard with special chalkboard paint. Take a snapshot of your work with your smartphone, then wipe it clean and start over!
When you work remotely, chances are you do some video conferencing. Remember that what’s behind you is what the other person will be looking at. It doesn’t need to be a bare wall but keep the view as simple and neat as possible.
3/ Multi-level lighting
I would imagine no one misses the horrible overhead fluorescent lights! To place the best light on your space, put your desk near the window for natural light. Then you can supplement with a desk lamp, pendant lighting and task lamps that add illumination right where you need it. Make sure that it’s all arranged to avoid putting annoying glare on your monitor. Likewise, look out for unintended shadows cast by lamps set up for task lighting. For instance, if you write with your right hand, your hand and arm may cast shadows if the task light is also set off on the right.
4/ Cut out the bulk
Big desks with giant leather chairs are for big formal offices. A smaller scale writing desk, a standing desk, or an adjustable-height work surface might be better suited to your work-at-home style. Mesh chairs or an ergonomically correct desk chair in white or a bright color add a fresh and airy ambiance. Adding built-in cabinets, shelves and bookcases can be a great way to maintain a clean look and provide a place to get papers out of sight when you have a meeting or video conference.
5/ Enjoy the view and color me inspired!
An efficient office doesn’t have to mean a bare, sterile office. Add a large window for a view of the backyard. Surround yourself with things you love to look at, whether its art prints, photos, or plants (which also improve the indoor air quality) and you might even increase your productivity.
And if 2021 is anything, it’s an invitation to bring more joy and cheer into your home office with a more playful and vibrant palette. Much like the rest of home design, we expect to see a rise in colorful home office accents, from bold rugs to statement chairs.
6/ Working “at” home but not “in” the home.
If you don’t want a commute, but still need a quiet place to think away from the comings and goings of family life, consider a detached home office. Depending on codes and covenants in effect where you live, an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) can be a room over the garage or a small out-building similar to a guest house or a shed that’s your own private work space just steps from your door. It combines the convenience of a home office with the physical (and psychological) separation between “working” and “relaxing” that is often missing when you work from home.
Still need help?
Whether you run a home-based business, bring work home regularly, telecommute a few days a week or simply need a place to put your laptop to pay household bills, I can help you create a home office space that suits your style and works for you while you’re working.