Your home is your castle, but it can also be the central command post for your business, or a secondary workplace if you frequently bring work home. If the latter, you may not have much input regarding the appearance of your workplace office (or cubicle). However, as the king or queen of your castle, you can design and decorate your home office to your exact specifications. These are some tips to keep in mind as you create the perfect home office.
When selecting the location of your home office, consider noise and traffic factors. For example, if the office is close to the street, you may hear people walking and/or driving by. Also, consider the traffic in your home. If you plan to work in your office when the rest of the family is at home, placing it close to the kitchen, bathroom or family room means you could have a lot of visitors or you might be easily distracted by nearby sounds.
On the other hand, if you have small children, it might be best to place the office where you can turn around and keep an eye on them.
Consider a minimalist approach
Justin Klosky, CEO and co-founder of the O.C.D. Experience (Organize & Create Discipline), says, “Trends come and go – but no matter the Pantone Color of the Year, my forever favorite trend is a minimal aesthetic. Keeping your desk space clean with little, non-distracting touches of personality here or there makes a difference in productivity and helps keep your head clear.”
In fact, Mariko Baerg, a realtor at Bridgewell Real Estate Group in Vancouver, says she’s seeing a trend in this approach. “There’s a move to a minimalistic space with little clutter and a focus only on the essentials: laptop, wireless printers/scanners, a desk and cabinets.”
Cut the cords (or at least hide them)
Wireless printers and scanners are one way to keep those ugly wires out of view and reduce the chances of tripping over them. Klosky also recommends a two-in-one laptop paired with a wireless charging mat, wireless keyboard and thunderbolt docks if you need dual displays. However, if you don’t have wireless equipment, Klosky says you can hide 99 percent of your wires from being seen. “You can do this with a crafty combo of PVC piping, velcro and zip ties to mount power sources under desks and out of sight.”
Avoid paper clutter
Do you really need to keep all of those documents? Klosky advises readers to go paperless. “Goodbye rolodex and planner – by digitizing your address book and keeping your calendar online, your network is literally at your fingertips whether on the go or while you’re working from home,” he says. “Digitizing also allows you to scan and shred documents for recycling, preventing the further use of paper and saving the planet.”
This study off the kitchen acts as a control center for the family. Kids work on computers in open spaces, not in their rooms. Green linoleum covers the desk for a durable and cleanable surface. The cabinets were custom built for the space.
Working at home is better than being in a stuffy office building, but you’re still indoors. However, greenery can help you bring the outdoors inside. “A plant, for example, brings a low-key source of life and color to any room,” Klosky says.
Baerg agrees that this is a trend she’s seeing in home offices. “Plants or green wall accents are becoming popular because we are usually looking at computer screens or our cell phones, and having that green aspect is easy on the eyes and helps us feel more connected to nature,” she says.
Let the light in
Studies show that people who work in natural light are more productive, absorb more vitamin D, sleep better at night and have fewer eye problems. Light can also improve your mood. And if you need another reason to put your office in a location that allows you to take advantage of natural light, consider this: Using natural light can lower your electric bill.
If your office is visible from other rooms in the house, consider how it will blend in with adjacent areas. The style choice and colors should be complementary, not clashing. However, if you can close the door to your office, there’s more leeway in your design and decorating choices.
While Klosky recommends a minimalist approach, he says there should be a place for personal items. Sometimes, displaying your favorite things can provide inspiration and lead to your best work. For example, if you’re an artist, display some of your artwork. If you’re an accountant but you love traveling to exotic locales, keep souvenirs close by. They may inspire you to keep working hard so you can maintain your current lifestyle.
What are some of your favorite home office trends?