According to Entrepreneur.com, the residence is the primary workplace for 2.8 million Americans. With flexible schedules, telecommuting, virtual teams and freelancing, more people are joining the work-at-home crowd every day. Just about every home needs an office these days, whether a separate room, a dual-purpose guestroom, or at minimum, a niche in the kitchen or off the living room.
If nothing else, you need a spot for the home computer or laptop, to pay bills, and keep track of kids’ school and sports papers and schedules.
A home office can and should be as stylish, efficient and functional as the rest of your house. So get ready to clear off the foyer table or kitchen counter and get organized once and for all!
As with any design/build project, first things first: what do you need a home office space to do? That is, how does it need to function? Will it be a solo spot, or a shared or collaborative workspace? Do you need quiet for conference calls?
Get strategic and be specific!
To be more work focused, consider these choices:
- Drawers or file cabinets (or deep drawers for files)
- Built-in or floating shelves, or cabinets
- Open shelving or closed, or open with bins or baskets
- Counter space to spread out blueprints or textiles
- Desktop for computer, laptop
- Couch or sleep sofa for guests or inspirational naps
- Flooring: will you roll around on a chair? Do you need carpet to soak up sound?
- Natural light, task lighting or a combination?
Be flexible but keep your style.
Will you see clients or co-workers? Or does the office double as a guest room?
An office in its own room gives you the opportunity for mixed-use flexibility and furniture. A loveseat can turn into a bed, a Murphy bed can pull down from the wall. A file cabinet on wheels can roll away into a closet when not needed, or you can tuck files (or linens for the day bed) into a storage ottoman.
If you opt for cabinetry and a built-in look, coordinate with the rest of your home. If traditional, your designer will help you select pieces that look like fine furniture. For a contemporary vibe, look at sleek modular designs with chrome, metal or acrylic hardware or shelving.
The library look, with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, is classic. Old Victorian homes with high ceilings lend themselves to this; sliding ladders are an authentic touch. Or, you could even go full-on faux using wallpaper for the same effect.
How much time will you spend there? If you’re self-employed and/or this is basically a full-time office, you need to consider ergonomics, that is, human engineering, how to move efficiently, comfortably and safely within the space.
If you sit at a desk, your chair is important. Can you see a screen or monitor without squinting or craning your neck? Adjustable stand-up desks give you an option. In terms of idea generation and organization, what’s helpful: a bulletin board, white board? You could go really big by covering a wall in chalkboard paint.
Not everything is worthy of display. If you run a messy office in a nook or off a living space, or are in the midst of a big project and don’t have a door to close, a panelled screen or simple curtain can work. Baskets or bins on open shelves can hide a multitude of sins (and papers and office supplies). Little things matter: corral that cord clutter with a sleeve or wrap for a sleeker, organized appearance.
When you work full-time at home, it’s good to have some separation for that all-important transition from office hours to at-home downtime. If you don’t have a door to close, leaving your computer or spreadsheets behind, how about a curtain, or a pull-down desk surface that goes back up.
Beyond the practical, how do you want your office to feel? Design can play a big part in creating the home workspace of your dreams, from color that inspires, calms or invigorates, to focal points or window treatments framing a view that gives you joy.
Whether your work surface is an old farm table, a parsons table, classic roll-top desk or a write-on wall, with 3W design, inc. as a partner, you can have a stylish, efficient workspace with all the comforts of home—including a dog or cat bed for your best friend and co-worker.
Ready to get down to business? We can help you design your world headquarters – with the easiest possible commute! Feel free to call us for assistance at (603) 226-3399.