Help My Home OfficeWritten by Laura Oakes / June, 2012
Whether your idea of the perfect home office is a large loft with a great view or a cozy cubby under the stairs, a well-designed, clutter-free space can make all the difference in the world.
Impeccable, supremely organized home offices like you see in magazines are often just that—staged to be seen in magazines. In reality, most probably have their share of strewn papers, unorganized files, dusty desktop knick-knacks and maybe even a dysfunctional printer. Whatever your situation, a few simple changes will have you looking forward to your office time in no time.
Determine Function and Size
Is your office space dedicated strictly to your job or is it a shared family space that may also see some gaming or shopping? If you work from home, make sure your space reflects your needs. Are you most productive in a hub of activity or do you need your surroundings to be quiet? Will you be seeing clients or hosting visitors? These factors will ultimately affect your design decisions when it comes to privacy, layout and furniture.
Arc Desk Lamp from claytongrayhome.com
Light it Up
Ward off eyestrain and headaches by making sure your office space is well-lit, utilizing both overhead and task lighting. Position your computer so there’s no glare from a light or window, and add an interesting desk lamp for some character.
Abundant square footage is typically not the case when it comes to home offices, so clutter control should top your list of priorities. “Use baskets, file drawers or boxes to organize your things,” says Krista Schwartz of St. Paul interior design firm, Indicia. “And don’t be afraid to personalize your space through art, photos and items to spur your creativity. I created a large board for collecting and organizing things that inspire me.” Remember those unsightly cords in your clutter control plan too—invest in a few nifty cord concealers that make hiding them a snap. Finally, make sure you’re using your space efficiently, both vertically and horizontally. Stash printers and other office equipment on wall shelves, and vertical file folders on a tidy corner of the desk to keep important papers within reach.
Herman Miller SAYL chair; smartfurniture.com
Invest in a Good Chair
If you’re working at your desk for long hours, a comfortable, ergonomic chair is worth every penny. There are loads of stylish options on the market these days---test drive a few and choose a color and style that complements the rest of your office décor.
Maple Leaf Red from Benjamin Moore/Pottery Barn; photo courtesy: Pottery Barn
Enliven the Walls
Bright and cheery or calm and subdued, choosing a wall color you love will ensure you’ll enjoy being in your new office even more. Try several shades on the wall, keeping in mind colors are often more intense than what you see on a paint chip. If you’re having trouble choosing a shade, consider hiring a designer for a color consultation.