How to Create a Home Office That Works

Apr 4, 2022

One of the fundamental impacts of the pandemic has been reminding us of the comforts of home. And, within that home, of the necessity to create a comfortable place to manage personal projects, work, and perhaps even hide – ideally, in circumstances that combine to provide a sanctuary for thought, relaxation and solitude.

Many of us dream about creating our own study, which many of the people we know also consider to be the ultimate relationship-saver. It doesn’t matter what your age – from student to retiree – a study is a headspace zone. And the good news is that with the advent of the laptop, a simple console with a stool can suffice as a work area – though something a little more elaborate is ideal.

Recognizing that no two living spaces are identical – certainly in terms of available space – we decided to supplement the utilitarian study basics with a wide range of visual examples of studies drawn from the pages of the celebrated British interior design source House & Garden (UK).

What we’re sharing with you are thought-starters and sources of inspiration; ideas from the severely simple to the downright dreamy. But first, the basics.

6 Essentials for Creating a Comfortable, Effective Home Office

1. Location

The location of your study space is extremely important. Even the most well-designed and highly functional study area will have many of its benefits diminished if the location isn’t right. Naturally, not everybody has the luxury of having a spare room at their disposal to set up a workspace. Consider foot traffic and noise levels. Remember, a quiet study space will be a more productive study space.

2. Desk

A well-designed desk will require less effort for you to keep your study area organized and clutter-free. You’ll be able to keep more frequently used supplies close at hand while storing less frequently used supplies out of sight, but easily accessible. Less clutter in any workspace will facilitate a more productive workflow with fewer distractions.

3. Storage

The functionality of a home study space is increased exponentially through the intelligent use of storage solutions to eliminate clutter. Consider dedicated storage cabinetry, shelving, and file drawers. A study space doesn’t have to be a dull, style-free environment. You can choose from a wide variety of finishes and features to add some character to the space.

4. Chair

Source an ergonomic chair that makes it easy to maintain a healthy posture. You will appreciate having a chair that provides excellent lower back support. Having a proper desk chair set up at the proper height can also alleviate problems that can affect other parts of the body, like the neck, wrists, shoulders and hands. It’s a toss-up as to whether your chair or your storage solution should take precedence.

5. Lighting

Just as a good chair can minimize back discomfort, so too can good lighting minimize the problem of eye strain in a workspace or study. Choose ambient lighting that’s complemented with smartly located task lighting and a small desk lamp.

6. Personalize

While your home study area is meant to be a dedicated learning space, it can’t hurt to inject a few personal touches into it to help define the space as your own.

Looking is Free & Inspiration is Priceless

We looked to an authority on study design to help add dimension and flair to the personalization of any study space. Her name is Nicola Harding and, among her many interior design talents, she writes regularly for House & Garden (UK). While her treatments of interior workspaces may strike many of you as out of your price range, remember that looking is free and inspiration is priceless. You can create the same effect for much less!

Observes Ms. Harding: “Personally, I prefer an office that does not really look like an office, which means using baskets to stash away any paperwork and having a cupboard with wired-in sockets for your printer and chargers to be hidden from view. As a general rule, I try to position the table or desk facing a window; anchoring it to a wall can help with hiding cabling.”

Ms. Harding is an Ikea fan too, and states: “In my own study, I have a large, white Ikea table that is smooth and reflects the light. And, of course, this saving let me invest in a gorgeous chair and desk lamp instead. An oversized table has the advantage of doubling as a quiet place to help my children with their homework, and a great spot for wrapping presents.”

And she adds: “I love creating a library feel with floor-to-ceiling shelves. Books help with acoustics, as well as making you feel as if you are not on your own. Textiles add warmth: a rug is a must and, if you are working late at night, keep a soft blanket nearby. You want to achieve a balance between task lighting and atmospheric lighting, so make sure that you have two circuits and try to have everything on dimmer switches.”

And finally: “Now that it looks as though working from home in some form is here to stay, whether full time or flexible, investing in a proper desk and office chair is well worth your time. Our surroundings have a profound effect on our state of mind, which makes planning a home office or workspace especially important. From the desk lamps to the desk accessories, wallpaper to paint, there are so many elements that can influence the space. The decor of a study is of utmost importance – a carefully designed space could even improve creativity and work productivity.”

Get Inspired

Discover 62 workspace and home office design ideas from House & Garden (UK). We hope this inspires you to set up a home office you’ll never want to leave.

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