Home offices are essential in the age of kitchen table entrepreneurship, freelancing and working from home. Design of a home office shouldn’t be an afterthought; environment has a significant effect on your mood, sense of wellbeing, and productivity. Here are ten tips for designing a home office which is conducive to creating a successful working environment and reflects your personal style.
1. The smallest unused spaces – within closets, tucked into corners, under stairs, in entranceways and on half- landings can be ideal locations for a home office. These overlooked spaces are often set apart from the distractions of family living.
Image: John Lewis of Hungerford – making great use of an awkward corner.
2. Customised storage is the key to managing clutter. Plan carefully, taking your requirements into consideration, which may include designated shelving, cupboards, storage drawers, boxes and accessories.
Image: A neat home office alcove by Kelling Designs.
Image: Kate Forman – Pretty fabric-wrapped storage boxes are great tools for home office organisation.
3. Natural light is ideal and a view for pondering is a bonus.
Image: Martin Moore – a light-filled home office with a view.
Image: Plain English – glazed doors and a window ensure this home office benefits from natural light.
4. When natural light is inaccessible, focus on designing an effective ambient lighting scheme, which includes practical and distinctive task lighting to personalise desk space.
Image: Tanguy Rolin – the iconic #1013 desk light by Pierre Disderot.
5. If possible, add built-in bookcases and filing cabinetry for a workspace in which everything has its place.
Image: Ensoul – A well-planned, tucked away, home office.
Image: Roselind Wilson Design – Expertly designed bespoke joinery.
6. Create an ample work surface with sufficient electric points for the technology you require (computers, printers, phone chargers, sound systems, task lighting). Consider a desktop charger. Provide for a managed cabling system by adding discreet holes in joinery.
Image: The Dormy House – A generous workspace in one to contain your files, a computer, a keyboard and a noticeboard, with room for a printer, which can be customised to maximise your space.
Image: Jasper Morrison: a functional and stylish desktop charger.
7. To create a multi-functional space, design a combined sleep/work unit, ideal for children’s rooms or guest rooms.
Image: Go Modern – A bunk bed combining wardrobe, shelving and desk space.
8. A comfortable desk chair is an essential component of a home office.
Image: David Seyfried – A cosy upholstered chair adds character to this home office.
9. Constructing an extension to the main house, if possible, is an option for a home office, but also consider an independent garden building, with an electricity supply to provide heating, power points and lighting. You may need to lay a foundation for the garden building. Most garden buildings can be constructed under permitted development as long as they are not deemed independent dwellings, but it is important to contact your local authority to confirm whether planning consent is required.
Image: Garden Affairs – If your garden can accommodate a studio, it is an ideal location for a quiet and private home office.
10. Consider adding a desk space with shelving behind pantry doors for a hidden kitchen/home office.
Image: John Lewis of Hungerford – A compact and discreet home office enhanced by a playful splash of colour.