Running a home-based business, moving to a work from home setup, or managing the household better while balancing work and home are just a few good reasons to have a well-designed home office.
It can be a room on its own, tucked under the stairs, or annexed to the kitchen. Regardless of the location, your home office must be comfortable and conducive to productivity.
Whether designing a home office is part of a larger project like designing your dream custom home, remodeling the basement, or expanding the west wing; whichever way you wish to execute your home office, the hours you eventually spend there will be fruitful when you design it well.
And no, it’s not only about adding a desk, chair, and table lamp to a free space.
6 Tips for Designing a Home Office
1. Pick Your Best Spot
Will you be setting up your workspace in the corner of your bedroom, by the breakfast bar, or in the often-empty guest room?
This really depends on the nature of your work, the household traffic flow, and your personal productivity meter.
Frequent online meetings require a private space where there’s no danger of family members getting accidentally caught on camera. This includes the cat. Background noise should also be at a minimum.
If you need to entertain clients, then it would be wise to locate your home office as near to the front door as possible so they don’t get to meander into off-limits zones. Erecting walls or dividers also delineates territories and ensures privacy on both sides.
When you have no choice but to place your workstation in a high traffic area like the kitchen, tuck it far away from entrances and convergent zones. This way, you won’t get caught within the family jam and vice versa.
And finally, consider your distraction threshold. It should take precedence over office size. Having a large space won’t help you get work done if it means your attention will be diverted.
2. Make Room for Comfort
Spending hours in a cramped space will likely affect your productivity. If you must save on precious square footage, let it be for your desk. You should be able to comfortably move from side to side, stretch your legs under the table, and stand up and sit back down.
Invest in an ergonomic chair as well. An adjustable swiveling office chair can help prevent neck and back pain at the end of the day.
Designing a Home Office: 3. Plan for Storage and Organization
Even if all you need for work is a laptop, you might want to commute all your household’s paperwork to your workstation. Think about personal and medical records, manuals, and warranties on appliances, mail, and bills.
You can choose a work table with drawers to organize these files. If you have space to spare on your desk, vertical file folders will do.
But shelves, filing cabinets, and baskets are essential if your job involves reference books, manuals, written contracts, and presentation folders. These storage items and organizers will allow you to maintain an uncluttered desk and even eliminate the need for a large one.
Space is always the biggest challenge while designing a home office. So, make sure you maximize usage of your walls by installing shelving and cabinetry. Reserve your desk for current, immediate, and urgent work. A multilevel inbox should take care of those.
4. Choose Natural Lighting and Ventilation
When you’re fortunate enough to include a home office in the floor plan of your future custom designed and built home, situate it where the sun shines the longest within the day. This is normally the direction facing south.
Studies show that sunlight increases productivity because it raises the “feel-good” dopamine hormone. Also, natural light won’t cause eye strain and headaches like artificial light does. Plus, using it cuts down on electricity consumption.
To boost your workplace’s energy efficiency further, have expansive operable windows installed. These will help diminish the use of cooling systems in hot weather.
Consider lighting and ventilation as well if you’re planning to remodel your existing residence to accommodate a home office. Or if you decide on a home addition instead.
If bay windows are not possible, have your ceiling and walls tinted white or any light color. This will reflect sunlight to the rest of the room.
Designing a Home Office: 5. A Room with a View
Staring at a blank wall when you look up from your computer isn’t an exciting thought. A good reason to have a window in your home office. It would be ideal if this view of the outer world offers a scenic landscape. If not, try hanging plants from the eaves of your roof.
Should it happen that the only available space in your home is windowless, face your desk to the door or a wall. Then hang framed pictures or pieces of artwork on the walls. The idea is to rest your eyes on something beautiful and inspiring as you glance up from your work.
6. Personalize Your Space and Complement Your Home
Who says you should replicate the standard corporate colors in your home office? In here, you’re the boss, and you have the freedom to dictate what drives you.
Do bright tints fuel your creativity? Or maybe calm hues encourage a laser focus. Either way, you should keep this in mind when the time for wall painting comes around.
Your workspace should also be in sync with the style of the rest of the house. And this isn’t limited to paint. Select furniture and accessories that blend seamlessly with the overall feel of your dwelling as well.
Build Your Home Office the Way You Envision It
Adding a home office to your dwelling is usually accompanied by a milestone. You either started a new business or found a way to quit your full-time job and work from home. Shouldn’t the design of your future workplace reflect the excitement?
To guarantee that it does, hire a design-build contractor with an impressive portfolio and previous clients who can vouch for their performance.
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