Choose the right space
The answer may not be as obvious as you might think. While, geographically, that corner in the living room may seem to make the most sense, its important to consider the level of distraction you may be facing in the future. Televisions, children, telephones, and pets can all come as unexpected distractions to your productivity. Choose a space with minimal traffic, minimal use, and minimal access to distractions.
Also, its important to be able to separate work life from home life- the ability to shut a door and “leave work” is absolutely crucial for reducing stress levels and reducing the risk of “burn out”. Perhaps an unused dining room, or formal living room could be a better option than using a spare bedroom.
Compliment, not Contradict
Your home office should compliment the rest of your home. If your home has a traditional design with lots of warm tones- then stick with that. Your home office space should seamlessly blend into the design of your home, not scream “cold, soul-less cubicle”. You also want to avoid clashing design themes- you may have that great desk your mother-in-law gave you- but if it clashes with the flow of the room, it may be worth the additional cost to avoid those architectural hiccups. After all, you want your home office to give you a sense of comfort and ease- not be a stark shock to the senses.
It may seem like a superfluous or excessive expense to incorporate built- in organization or storage into a home-office when the option to run to a local store and purchase a desk or shelf (with assembly required) is always there, but adding furniture to a home can cause clutter- and when it comes to home office, clutter is the enemy. Talk with your designer about incorporating built-in shelving, cabinets, and drawers into your space. This will not only increase how seamlessly your home office space blends into your home, but will also avoid potential issues with purchasing organizational tools which inevitably add to the problem rather than solve it.
If you invest in nothing else, invest in a good chair
Likely one of the most crucial elements of any home office- the perfect office chair should be of utmost priority. When it comes to picking the perfect office chair- spare no expense. You’ll be spending a huge portion of your time sitting in that chair, so make sure it is as comfortable and functional as possible.
Disregard the Norm
Make your space uniquely “you”. Forget the muted, office beige (unless that’s what works for you) and paint or accent your space a color you love. We’ve already had some discussion about how color can affect your mood, and when it comes to productivity in the office place- we all know how much mood can affect productivity. Set your space up to be relaxing, permanent, functional, comfortable, and is tailored to your needs and wants. Don’t be afraid to be daring- as long as the space is functional,then who’s to say you can’t design your desk to have a built-in snack bowl, perch for your kitty to sleep next to you, or even something as radical as a place to put a patch of grass underneath so while you’re working you can take off your shoes and feel the grass under your feet? If you’re working from home, you have the distinct freedom to toss aside convention when it comes to design- use it!
Don’t underestimate a good view
In an ideal situation- we could all build our home offices to overlook the skyline of our city, or overlook a white sand beach, but the reality is that we have to use what we can. Giving yourself something more interesting to look at during those brief moments when looking away from a computer will make you more comfortable. A window is ideal- but even a picture or painting you really enjoy can provide those mental breaks that are so important to a productive work environment. No one likes staring at a blank wall, so while most of us can’t be afforded the perfect view, treat yourself to the best of what you can.
Give yourself plenty of light. Of course natural light is preferred, but the daylight hours are limited- so make sure that your office space provides ample, bright light with a good hue. You will likely need more light than you’d anticipate- so adding additional light fixtures is an important consideration. Increased light will reduce eye strain and prevent those pesky headaches. Don’t forget to choose a bulb that offers light in a spectrum that works for you! Pale, crisp light sitting nearer the blue side of the spectrum often offers added energy and produces ample light. Stick around 900 Lumens minimum (depending on space) and make sure that your light source is in easy access from a seated position.