I recently sat down and had lunch with Catherine Avery of Avery Design Interiors. Catherine specializes in office design. I told her I wanted to write a piece about creating the perfect home office. Over a most fabulous Bloody Mary that seemed more like a spiked gazpacho and the most wonderful tuna tartare taquitos ever, we brainstormed and came up with the following ideas to share with you.
Every productive girl needs a good office space.
So you've thought about working from home. You've done your research, put your resources into place and now you're ready to start working for yourself. This space should preferably be someplace that can be closed off. If you have a room that can become a dedicated office, or even an office shared with a bedroom, this is perhaps the most ideal situation as you should be able to close up shop and walk away. Least preferable would be office space in a bedroom, however, in some cases, especially for those just starting out and those living in large and expensive cities, a bedroom office might be the only viable option.
Office in a Bedroom:
If you do have to share a work-space with your sleeping-space it would be best to create an area that can be closed off. You don't want paperwork and your computer staring at you all hours of the day and night. Perhaps you can locate a desk that can be closed off. Or use a laptop that can be placed somewhere out of view. Perhaps make room for a printer and other electronics in a closet, in an armoir, even in a dresser. Pretty up your work-space. With work-space you'll have clutter, and you'll want to organize and safely hide that work-related clutter, especially if it's in the bedroom. If you don't have a proper desk or yours can be fitted with a long (to the floor) table cloth or skirt, then you can create extra storage beneath. I'm a huge fan of wicker and rattan - whether baskets or boxes, and they make for some lovely storage spaces.
Guest Room and Office:
If you live in a home with a little more space you may want to consider sharing an office with a guest bedroom, unless you tend to have guests over regularly. If you don't this is a great use of an extra room in your house. (And homes with guest bedrooms/offices are great for resale!) For those homes where the guest room is also the home office, you'll want to divide the room in to two separate areas. You will want a separate, relaxing sleep area for your guests and an area dedicated as a work-space. You may want to separate the two with the use of a curtain or elegant screen. As you would with any guest room prior to your guest's arrival, clear off your desk and place all paperwork away safely. You may want to cover, remove or hide large monitors or fax machines and printers. Perhaps your guests will be grateful to have a space that they can use for their own work during their stay. I had a guest room that was a shared office and I loved it. The only time that room ever looked nice was when we had guests come and visit!
The Dining Room-Office:
We are starting to see people get creative with their dining rooms. Most of us do not use our dining rooms on a daily basis (if at all) so why not turn it in to a room that gets used on a much more regular basis? A dining room table can be used for both work space and for eating. I love working at my dining room table as I can really spread out when I need to. You can line your walls with handsome bookcases and elegant books. Buffets can make for beautiful office storage - and are a great way to conceal electronics, papers and anything else you'd want hidden from view. A home office need not be "office-like" - in fact, you're better off if it's not. You should design your office to fit your needs and your space. Make it user friendly, inviting and most importantly, make it comfortable.
|via Pinterest - Original source unknown|
The Basement Office:
Basements can make great home offices as well. When setting up your office in the basement you will want to take extra care to make it not seem like you are in a basement. Carpeting, colorful walls and cheerful accessories and office supplies can go a long way. If you have the space you may want to add a small, inexpensive couch or sofa to give your space a more comforting feel. I have a couch near my desk and I work from my couch a good bit. My house is quite small and I have neither a dedicated guest room, office room, basement or dining room at the moment. I do have a very large family/living room and I created a space for myself in a corner by the back of the room next to a large bay window that overlooks an expansive back yard.
Your home office space should reflect your work, style and personality as well as your brand. You should cultivate an area where you can conduct meetings with clients, both prospective and present. Your office should be a calming space. No one can work well or focus in clutter and disarray. One great idea is to clean up your desk at the end of every day. I would also suggest to back up your computer at the end of the day on to a cloud system if you can. There are a number out there from which to choose, many are very affordable.
Home office furniture can be anything you want it to be. Here's your chance to get creative. Perhaps you have your grandfather's old mahogany desk, or perhaps you have nothing and are on a tight budget. You can turn anything into a desk, from an old drafting table to a re-purposed farm table. Visit antique stores or your local Goodwill store and see if there's something there that you can repaint or refinish. Ikea's always a good bet for those pinching their pennies. Inexpensive book cases can be repainted to look rich and elaborate. Dressers, bureaus, carts, sideboards, buffets and hutches all make for wonderful storage and will help your office space blend in seamlessly with your home space. Now's the time to get creative and have fun!
Office Supplies and phone lines:
This is important to note. Because my office is in the house, the children often think, even though the desk is mine, and off limits, that they can help themselves to freshly sharpened pencils with perfect erasers, ballpoint pens, gel pens and my beloved Sharpie collection. I must state that you must always keep at least some office supplies hidden from view. There's nothing more frustrating than looking for a pen or a notebook only to find they've been absconded! I have many wicker baskets/filing cabinets that serve as perfect storage for various supplies and projects.
In regards to the telephone, be sure to keep you home line separate from your work line. You don't want children answering your work line. Ever. I use my cell phone as a work line for this purpose.
Have a seat:
Another important thing to consider is your seating. You want a chair that is both comfortable and offers you good support. Here, it pays to splurge a little on a good ergo dynamic office chair. If the looks of a traditional (or even non traditional office chair) is not your thing, consider a good dining room chair. You can repaint or reupholster it to fit in with your decor. I use one of the chairs from my dining room table and I have another one next to my work space for someone else to use. If needed these chairs can be easily brought back to the other room!
Light up my life!
Proper lighting is important and instrumental. If you can pick a room or a spot in a room that has a lot of natural light. This is kinder on the eyes. Ample lighting during the darker hours is key as well. If the overhead lighting seems inadequate you can add additional lighting and decor with pretty, purposeful lamps.
Decorating your home office:
To complete the look of your room you can ad artwork and plants. Cork boards and chalkboard walls ad character and functionality. Decorate your space with color. A coat of paint can transform any room. While you want to add color to help inspire creativity and productivity, you have to be careful of the colors that you choose. You don't want your space too dark or too bright - Your choice of color should not be distracting or jarring. If you prefer a more muted wall, you can always add color with your accessories.
|via Martha Stewart|
Get out of the office space:
When working from home be sure to get up and walk away from the computer from time to time. Stretch your legs, focus your eyes on some objects that are far away as opposed to up close. If you can find a "get out of the office" space such as a back yard, deck or patio where you can retreat for a cup of coffee or tea, or lunch. On a bright, sunny day it's nice to have an outdoor office!
I hope you've found this useful. If you have a home office I would love to hear of any ideas that you have that have worked for you.
Be sure to check out the piece I wrote last week, Working from home :: Is it for you?