More and more of us work from home – whether full-time, part-time, or in the evenings after a day out at a professional office. Just as offices outside the home are designed with an eye to maximising productivity and creativity, so should a home office be installed with an eye to helping you get your work done as efficiently as possible. There is one key difference, however – a home office is in your home, and should balance its role as a place of work with its place as a space of beauty. Also, home offices often share space with other functions – in your living room or bedroom, particularly. Thought, then, should be given to how to balance work and life in those spaces.
There is no one-size-fits-all home office, of course, so we've selected a variety below to inspire you.
Get the most out of a box room, spare room or other small space by filling every corner. A corner desk with integrated shelving maximises the available workspace, as well as offering plenty of storage. Display books on open shelving; hide clutter away behind a closed door.
If your home office is a corner of your bedroom, why not build it in with your fitted wardrobes? The wardrobe will form a natural cubby, giving you peace and privacy. A floating built in desk like this one keeps the lines flowing uninterruptedly, meaning the desk space doesn't jar or intrude into the space you sleep in. It's important when integrating a home office space into a bedroom that sleeping and working space are kept separate – otherwise both sleep and productivity will suffer. It's a good idea to put your desk facing away from the bed, as here, so you're not tempted during work hours (!); making the desk relatively unobtrusive will also remove the temptation to sneak out of bed to finish that report in the small hours.
Tight on space? A classic secretary desk, like this one, is a brilliant choice if your home office is in your living room or bedroom. Create a wall between 'work time' and 'relax time' by shutting your 'office' at the end of the day and retreating to your bed or couch. Papers, computer, and all the other paraphernalia of the working day will be hidden away behind your desk-cum-office-door, with no chance of your eye falling on it, and your 'home time' being interrupted.
If you've dedicated a room to your home office, you might consider modelling it on the more classic idea of the gentleman's study – combining desk space with a comfortable chair for reading. Soft lights and rich wood will cultivate a calm, unhurried studiousness.
Another good idea for those tight on space is building your desk into any that you have available. Stack shelving above for storage, et voila, your very own cosy home office space.
The Zen calm of a pure white workspace is a delightful thing. A clean, clutter-free, white desk flowing into white walls allows you to focus on the task at hand, and will aid in keeping your stress levels to a minimum. White's light-reflecting qualities will ensure your office space is bright, and will help in making you feel alert and refreshed
If white isn't your thing, or you find an all-white space too glaring, a dark monochrome is a great alternative. Like white, blacks and greys are calming, but they're not so cosy that they'll tempt you to nod off over your keyboard. Old wine boxes or fruit boxes, sanded and finished, are, meanwhile, a cute idea for office shelving.
White and dark monochromes are a fantastic choice for a home office, or any kind of office, but colour has its place in a workspace, too, particularly if it's in your home. Your home is a place of comfort and beauty, and a place for the kinds of whimsical details that don't often find a place in a professional office. A colourful chair is a great way to add that kind of pretty, whimsical detail – when you're sitting down to work you won't see it, but viewed from the rest of the room it will add charm to the whole space. Cut flowers, or any kind of potted plant, meanwhile, are always a good idea for a work space.