We never seem to get away from work these days! Because of this, home offices have become more and more popular and, as a designer, I'm asked more frequently to carve out areas to create home office spaces. These rooms can be tricky, and it is often a challenge to maintain the balance between business and beauty. It is important that the office feels and looks like the rest of your home, but that factor is equally as important as the functionality of the room. Here are my top five tips on how to create a your own residential work space.
As I always say, get rid of the clutter, especially in a space like this! Organization is a critical component. Shelving is incredibly important in a home office. Without shelves, books, folders and magazines will sit on your desk and clutter it up. For unconventional items, try mounting metal baskets to the wall. They come in all shapes and sizes and can hold outgoing mail, pens, or other supplies.
One of the reasons why designing homes offices is so challenging is their proximity to the comfort of the rest of the home. A quick snack, your favorite television show, the impending laundry in the hamper, or your kids calling you from the next room all have the potential to beckon you away from work.
To ease the distractions, draw a line and make sure that your office is set apart from the rest of your home or at least your family's main space. A physical door will do the trick; but if that isn't possible, try installing a regular curtain rod and curtain to separate the entryway. Even though sounds won't be completely blocked out, the curtain will define the space and provide a feeling of separation.
Work can be stressful, so try to lighten up your home office with touches that will make you feel comfortable. The more comfortable you are in your home office, the less distracted you will be. I like to place works of art right above the desk. Artwork anchors the desk as the centerpiece of the office, and placing artwork over a desk is also good Feng Shui practice, as it will keep you inspired while you work.
Don't minimize the impact of color when designing your home office! Plain white walls can often make the room seem cold and institutional. Paint the walls a relaxing color. Stay away from yellow, as it will irritate the eyes or red, which over stimulates your senses. Instead, opt for a soothing shade of blue, green, or lavender.
A home office needs more light than a bedroom. Install a center ceiling light if you don't already have one. But remember to choose something beautiful or interesting. This will help you love the space…just make sure the one that you choose produces enough light. Desk lamps or task lights are also important. You need to see what your working on, after all!
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