A home office has become one of the biggest priorities for people interested in buying a new home or redesigning their current one.
Whether you work for an employer or own a home-based business, the way you design this space will be an important part of building and growing your career or business over time. You need a space conducive to your career goals.
The following are some of the many things to consider as you’re designing a home office to suit your needs.
Choosing a Location and Space
When you’re designing a home office, the first thing and perhaps the most important one to decide on is where you’ll locate it within your home.
If you require complete solitude and quiet to work, then you want to make sure the location you choose reflects this need. You could convert a garage or build a separate space like a shed outside of your house.
If you work and like to at the same time be able to keep an eye on your children, you might want something closer to the common areas of your home. You might, for example, create a combined work and play area.
If you don’t have dedicated space for an office, you can use a guestroom. You can still keep the guestroom part of the design, with a small bed or even a space-saving murphy bed, but put your office in a corner.
As you decide on a location, you’ll want to consider how much desktop space you need and the level of storage you’ll need. You have to think about how often and how much quiet you need and whether or not your work will require you to have distance from the main parts of your home.
When deciding on an area for your office, think about your technology needs too. If your desk is going to be in the middle of the room, how will you run the cables?
Invest In Your Desk
Once you have a location selected, your desk is what’s going to anchor the rest of your office design. Your desk is arguably the most important thing you’re going to have in a home office, so if you splurge or invest anywhere, you might want to make it here.
You want ample space on your desktop surface, and you want to make sure you have room to accommodate your computer and any other technology or equipment you regularly use.
For some people, a corner desk is the best option for them in their home office because it allows them to split their workstation up. They can have one side for their technology and the other for their paperwork or files.
Choose an Ergonomic Desk Chair
Aside from the desk, the next primary piece of furniture in your workspace is going to be your desk chair.
You’re going to spend a lot of time sitting, so you want to choose a chair that doesn’t add any stress to your neck or spine or create new or worsening back issues.
When choosing an ergonomic desk chair, consider one with an adjustable height. An adjustment lever is easiest, and you want a chair with a range of anywhere from 16 to 21 inches off the floor. Then, you have your feet flat on the floor and your thighs horizontal. Your arms should be even with the height of your desk.
You’ll need a chair seat with the right amount of width and depth to support you comfortably, and lumbar support is always a good idea. Your lumbar spine curves inward, so sitting for a long period of time without support for the natural curve of your spine can lead to slouching, which strains your lower spine.
You don’t want a cluttered home office because, along with not being aesthetically pleasing, this can negatively affect your productivity.
Clutter is distracting.
When you design a home office, you want functional storage but also something that looks great. That will provide you with some encouragement to put everything away where it belongs.
You might also need to include room for things like scanners and shredders. You could want these items on your worktop, or you might want them hidden out of view.
The best type of lighting in any workspace is natural. When natural light can pour into your home office, it will keep you feeling more alert. Position your desk close to a window if you can to take advantage of daylight. Make sure if you use a computer or other screens that the angles of natural light don’t create a glare.
You also want to add artificial lighting that’s conducive to productivity. Avoid harsh light, which can feel stressful. Of course, you don’t want a light that’s too soft either, because that can make you feel tired.
Designing for Productivity
We’ve talked a bit above about how the design of your office space is going to affect your productivity and also your energy levels.
We often don’t realize how much our surroundings influence every part of how we’re feeling and our moods.
Neutral color palettes are good for productivity and energy, although that may seem counterintuitive. Walls and colors that are too bright can feel overwhelming, and they might make you feel anxious or distracted.
Adding certain types of décor, and especially houseplants can do a lot to improve your mood and productivity in your office. They clean the air, and they can brighten up your space.
Finally, do whatever you can to separate your workspace from the places where you spend time with your family or live the rest of your life outside of work or running your business. You want a space that feels like it offers you a real sense of separation no matter where it’s located. You don’t want your work life or business life to blend into your home life, which is one of the biggest challenges that come with designing a home office.