Until recently, the home office was seen by most as a luxurious and elegant space, with grand bookcases full of important literature and the occasional decorative item to inject some personality. The thought of a home office inspired mental images of lavish leather armchairs, expansive uncluttered desks and bespoke high-end stationary.
The home office was considered a luxury; a setting for overflow work not carried out in the regular office, during regular office hours. These days, more than 40 per cent of Australia’s workforce works from home. The home office isn’t a luxury anymore – it’s a necessity, whether you have the space for it or not.
If you’re lucky enough to have the space available for a dedicated office room, then you might be looking for ways to make it as comfortable and ergonomically friendly as possible. If you’re short on space, however, then you’re probably considering how to create a multi-functional zone where you can work from during the day and repurpose for recreational living of an evening, for example.
Either way, the FURNISHD. team has some tips and hacks for you, so you can fashion a home office workspace that’s practical, comfortable, organised and productive (as well as expressive of your unique personality, of course!).
1. Figure out your needs, preferences, budget and space constraints upfront
Before getting started on the design side of things, it’s a good idea to sit down and put pen to paper regarding what your budget is, how much space you have to work with (and be specific with your measurements) and anything that is a “must” vs. a “nice-to-have”.
FYI, most professional designers tend to work with a minimum of 150cm x 210cm when it comes to designing home workspaces, so keep this in mind when considering layout and floor plan design.
You’ll need to decide on a location within your home that will comfortably fit your office space and all the amenities that come along with it. Will your office have its own dedicated room, or will you be putting up a partition in the corner of the living room? Is there space under the stairs for you to build shelving and a desk into the space, with a chair that fits underneath the desk for easy packing away when not in use?
And last but not least, your home office should be as free of distractions as possible. For example, many people set up “temporary”, “makeshift” home offices at the kitchen table, which inevitably end up being permanent fixtures of the home. The kitchen, dining and living areas are arguably the most distraction-heavy zones of any house, so avoid falling into this trap.
2. Create a mood board for inspiration
Creative design doesn’t come naturally to all of us. Thankfully, we live in an era where you can draw endless inspiration from the internet. Consider setting up a mood board on a platform like Pinterest, where you can browse for home office design ideas and pin any that you like. This will help you form an idea of what your perfect home office space looks like, and this is immensely helpful when working with interior decorators who are trying to hone in on your specific needs and preferences.
Your mood board can include everything from specific images of completed home offices, to simple stuff like a colour blend that you like, a minimalist drawer design that resonates with you, bouclé style seating that jumps out at you or a desk configuration that you think is super efficient and convenient.
3. Settle on a clear and precise layout for your home office space
To be clear here, we’re talking about the layout itself – not the entire home office setup. You don’t need to have all the specifics down just yet; purely the layout of where things will go and how things will be arranged, with some consideration towards Feng Shui. This step of the process is a good time to put some thought into logistics like power outlets, overhead lighting and other tech needs or limitations.
Ask yourself whether you’ll have access to enough power outlets, or if they’ll be concealed behind furniture – in which case, do you need power boards and whereabouts?
4. Time to get into nitty gritty details
This is where your mood board becomes an invaluable tool for injecting some personality into the space. At FURNISHD, we recommend anchoring your home office design around one key component, like a glamorous light fixture or sleek Scandi-style desk, for example. All other furnishings and décor items revolve around this key focal point.
Consider things like whether you’d prefer a monochrome colour scheme or soft pastel colours for your home work environment. Oranges and reds can boost energy levels, while yellow is known to stimulate creativity, for example.
As for furniture, consider which items to invest a bit more money on (i.e. an ergonomic chair, or an expansive desk if you have the space) and which accessories can be picked up for relatively low cost – storage boxes, organisation baskets and pot-plants, for example.
Don’t forget one of the most important components of any productive workspace – the lighting. Do you sometimes work after the sun has gone down (keeping in mind it gets dark much earlier in winter!), or pop back into the office for an hour or so after dinner for ad-hoc tasks? Make sure your home office caters for this.
5. Consider innovative solutions to problems like storage
Here are some nifty tips and hacks:
- Don’t underestimate or underutilise the magic of vertical space (floating shelves, hanging baskets and so on)
- Explore the options available with multifunctional furniture (Ottoman with a removable seat/lid for additional storage space, for example)
- If you’re really struggling, designate closet space from elsewhere in the home for additional storage, or invest in a cabinet that can be placed in the garage, for example
6. Final tip for home office design ideas – never consider it “complete”
You may find that you’re never quite 100% satisfied with your home office, but guess what – that’s because we’re humans, and we’re never finished changing our minds about things. Our needs and preferences evolve and adapt over time, so rather than be frustrated that you never seem to have your home office laid out just how you like it, consider it a fun and exciting opportunity to constantly make tweaks and adjustments as you see fit.
At FURNISHD., our expert interior designers will work closely alongside you to produce a fantastic home office that incorporates your individual style with 2022 design trends and innovative spatial solutions that make the most of the space available. Sign up to the FURNISHD. online interior design platform today.