There are many advantages to working at home. You save on the time, cost and stress of commuting. You sure save on clothing. You can work the hours that suit you. And, not the least of the advantages, you can create a work space that represents you and not some corporation’s image, encourages your creativity and productivity, and exists solely for your convenience, your comfort and your aesthetic sensibilities.
We have here ideas on how you can have that office. You don’t have to dive into a major renovation. You can do a little here, a little there. Each step will make you feel better and work better.
Proper lighting is an absolute necessity. Daylight is the most evenly balanced source of white light available, so if you have a window, take advantage of it. Arrange your office around it. Not only will you have ideal lighting, you will also have a view. A great improvement over bland cubicle walls, right?
If you have no window, or when you are working at night or on a cloudy day, daylight-replicating light sources provide energy-efficient, full-spectrum lighting. Dimmer switches control the brightness and intensity of that light.
As important as lighting is an ergonomic chair. Chair manufacturers have gone to great lengths to understand the anatomy of the body and, based on their research, have increased the ability to adjust the chair for individual comfort and for the benefit of your back and spine. Some high-end chairs feature a pelvis balance point and free shoulder technology. Invest as much as you can into the chair, and you will reap the rewards for many years. In addition to being comfortable and ergonomically correct, you can also select an upholstery that adds to the aesthetics of your office.
Having enough storage space contributes to your efficiency and, therefore, your productivity. It also can keep that clutter from overrunning your office. And it doesn’t need to be boring (yes, we mean you, filing cabinets). Look around your house (or an antique mall or used goods store) for some real interesting options. Trunks, dressers, consoles and nightstands can all be repurposed for file storage and become charming additions to your office décor.
Floating shelves expand your storage space and decorate your walls. There are shelves of every size and shape for every taste imaginable. Find what pleases you and will be the most serviceable. Just one suggestion: Choose a light-colored wood so that the shelves will provide an attractive background rather than be “in your face.”
Cables, Cords and Wires
Speaking of clutter, that unsightly tangle of cords under your desk is not at all necessary. There are easy fixes:
• A rotating-plug power strip
• An under-desk cord rack with easy-slide slots and can be affixed to any surface either horizontally or vertically.
• A desk grommet that hides the cords underneath the desk
• Cord winders, tubing and wire organizers that lift the cords off of the floor.
When possible, set your equipment close to the outlets so that those long, long cords won’t be an issue.
Color affects our moods, energy levels and, therefore, our creativity and productivity. Give the greens a chance. Many shades are neutrals and give an organic, fresh vibe to your office. Botanical green and sea foam green are calming. A new trend is lime green—don’t cringe without seeing it. It is energetic without being “loud” and pairs well with contrasting colors. Violet, gray and blue are all sophisticated and professional colors. Watch the shade of blue. You don’t want it so relaxing that you’ll be dozing off. There’s a reason blue is among the favorite bedroom colors.
Accent colors are the finishing touch. An accent color stands out against the major color scheme, perhaps in throw pillows, decorative objects, a small wall. Multiple accent colors create a more colorful look. It’s your choice. Red is eye-catching, energetic and exciting. It gives that note of surprise that makes a décor more engaging. Purple and all its variations, both warm and cool shades, are beautiful additions to almost any color scheme.
Accessories add “home” to the home office. You probably have most of these things. You’ve kept them around because they are meaningful.
• China teacups and eggcups, vintage vases, myriad souvenirs from faraway places can hold your paper clips, pens, Post-its, scissors, etc.
• Baskets in interesting shapes and colors can be catch-alls for larger items, e.g., printer ink and copy paper.
• Hang wall art that sparks a lovely memory or brings a smile to your face. We are used to hanging art at eye level. Not in the office where you are sitting most of the time. Six to nine inches higher than your desk works best.
• Scents are effective for boosting energy, encouraging productivity and de-stressing. And even if they didn’t, they make your office a more pleasant place to be. Candles, oil diffusers, any kind of fragrance accessory will add to the ambiance as well as to the décor.
No matter if you have an entire room or merely a corner, you can use these ideas to create “a room of your own” where you enjoy working and where you do your best work.