If, like us, you are working from home right now, you need your home office to be a productive yet comfortable space. So, whether your home office has a room of its own, an elegant space on a landing or it doubles up as the guest bedroom, we’re here to help you make the most of it. And after you’ve read our advice, take the time to browse our fabulous range of luxury office furniture; desks, chairs, shelves, cabinets, sofas, armchairs, side tables and coffee tables. Now, grab yourself a cup of coffee and see what our design team have to say…
A Dedicated Workspace
If your home office or study is in its own separate room, where you can close the door to all distractions, you are already half way there. If not, make sure you have a dedicated working space – not sitting on a bed and definitely not in front of the TV (we are not teenagers). And we know it’s called a laptop – but you work far more efficiently sitting at a desk. We would always advise you to invest in a proper desk. This is not just a practical way to keep all your work together, it is also psychological. It signals to your brain that this particular space is work, not home.
If you are having to work temporarily in a multi-functional space, such as the end of a table or in the guest bedroom, always clear the space before you start work (nobody functions at their best when surrounded by piles of laundry or the remains of breakfast). Then make sure that you have enough storage – shelves, cupboards or even a large box – so that you can put your work away afterwards and return the space to its original use. The self-discipline of re-instating your dedicated work space at the beginning of each day will make your home office a much more productive environment.
Have Everything To Hand
This applies even if you are in a separate study. Every home office needs everything to hand. Before you start working, make sure you have everything you need, right down to the last paper clip. If you have to wander off round the house searching for things, the temptation to procrastinate can be overwhelming. We would always recommend having a coffee station with a stylish coffee machine, kettle and all supplies. Again, wandering off to the kitchen to make a cup of tea can easily waste half an hour as you suddenly find other things to do (or eat).
Make Your Home Office Comfortable
The Right Desk and Chair
First things first. If at all possible, invest in a desk that is the right height (around 75 cm) and the right size for the work that you do. If your working surface is too high, you run the risk of neck, back and shoulder pain as you scrunch up your shoulders. Too low and you risk lower back pain from constantly leaning forward. Make sure you have enough space for everything you need to work with at any one time. Your office chair needs to be comfortable. Ideally, you should have a swivel chair on castors, that is height adjustable so you can sit with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. We know this isn’t always possible so make sure that your chosen chair is the right height for the desk or table you are working at.
- London Collection Designer Small Modern Writing Desk£3,251.00 – £9,123.00
- Luxury Italian Mother Of Pearl Writing Desk£9,786.00
Storage and Shelving
Every office needs storage space of some sort. If working from home is to be a regular thing, or you have a separate home office, you may decide to incorporate bespoke, fitted shelving to make the most of every inch of space. However, there are plenty of fabulous bookshelves, display cabinets and cupboards out there to fit every space and style. If you want your files, paperwork or reference books to be easily accessible, an open bookcase is ideal. If you prefer everything to be tucked away, go for something with doors or drawers. Whatever you choose, keep your work space tidy.
- London Collection Modern Veneered Glass Display Cabinet£9,661.00
- Tall Italian Designer Quilted Nubuck Leather Cabinet£15,235.00 – £16,313.00
A Seating Area
This is somewhere to sit and think, to be creative, to be inspired. It is a place to read, to sketch, to make notes. It could be somewhere to welcome visitors and hold meetings (when we are allowed visitors again). Or it could just be a place to take 5 and have a coffee away from your desk. We want to avoid procrastination so it’s best to have a chill out zone as part of your home office. This way, you will be less tempted to go and sit in the living room. If you have the space, you could include a stylish, luxury sofa, a side table and a coffee table. If space is more limited, a comfortable armchair and side table will still do the job. Choose things in subtle tones to match your décor, or use chairs and sofas as a splash of accent colour.
Only you know how many electrical items and gadgets you need. However many that is, your home office needs enough sockets and chargers, in the right places. If you are designing from scratch, think very carefully before you start. If you are using an existing space, there are many solutions to avoid trailing cables. You just need to choose the one that is right for you.
Home Office Lighting
Use lighting to your advantage. It can increase your productivity, prevent fatigue and influence your sleep. Always make the most of every bit of daylight. So, have your desk close to a window, preferably side-on so that the light doesn’t shine directly onto your screen. Of course, we can’t rely simply on daylight so your home office should also include a well-thought-out lighting scheme. You need ceiling lights and lamps that will reflect light off wall and ceilings to create soft, indirect, ambient light around the room. Under-shelf lighting creates a warm, welcoming glow – but it also illuminates whatever is on your shelves so be careful.
Think about the specific work you do and where you need the most light. Task lighting is essential if you need to concentrate on fine detail. You also need to think about the ‘temperature’ of your task lighting. Cool light mimics daylight, boosting energy and concentration. Warm light signals that it is time to relax and switch off. You may think that you should opt for the coolest light possible but this can be very stark. We work using flexible, LED bar lights that allow you to direct the light and change both brightness and warmth to suit the task in hand. If you don’t need anything quite so specific, choose a good floor or table lamp that will provide enough light just where you need it.
- Italian Designer Trio Ring Suspension Chandelier£7,080.00
- Large Rectangular Modern Crystal Ceiling Chandelier£3,125.00 – £19,980.00
Colour in Your Home Office
Your use of colour is not just a matter of personal taste – although when you are working from home, this is an important consideration. Colour has a dramatic effect on your mood and your concentration levels. If your home office is part of an open plan space, colour can be used to define your working space. You could choose colours that harmonise with your existing décor but maybe go several shades richer or darker. Alternatively, make a statement and make your space stand out with splashes of bright or complementary colours. Remember, high saturation colours are more stimulating, whereas paler, pastel colours are more calming. So, which colours are best for home offices?
- Red : Boosts brain activity, boosts heart rate, inspiring but can be enervating
- Blue : Calming, lowers heart rate and blood pressure, good for detail
- Yellow : Stimulating, good for high energy, creative spaces
- Green : Boosts creativity, inspires innovation, reduces eye strain, good for spaces with computers
- Grey : Can zap confidence so use with caution, good for offsetting other colours
- White : Gives a feel of freshness, space and light, promotes creativity
- Neutrals : Calm and comforting but try to include deeper shades
- Accents : Splashes of bright colours can be inspiring and creative but use them carefully – you want to inspire, not distract
This is a very simplified explanation of using colour in your home office. If you want a more in-depth look at colour and productivity, check out this interview with colour psychologist Angela Wright. It’s an old interview but the principles are still perfectly valid.
Make a Home Office Moodboard
You may have seen our blog post towards the end of last year, showing you how to make a moodboard. With the current lockdown, you won’t be able to go and browse as we suggested but this doesn’t mean you can’t follow the ideas we gave. You can order samples to be sent to you or your may prefer to find images online and create a Home Office Pinterest board. If you’re feeling inspired, you could use a programme such as Canva, which allows you to re-size and move your images around, just like a physical board. If you need professional advice on any aspect of your home office, our Interior Design team are still hard at work and would be delighted to hear from you. We are only a phone call or email away.
Make the Most of Working from Home
These are very different and challenging times. We would like to encourage you to make the most of working from home. For many of us, it will mean no commute, no tedious drive into work, no scraping ice off the windscreen, and more quality, family time. Sort out your home office so that your workspace is productive, efficient and comfortable. And if you can, be positive and enjoy spending this time at home.