Renovation Rescue: How To Create A Stylish Home Office That Works For You

By Leanne Moore
Photo / Getty Images

Next in our renovation series is the home office, a space that can be as simple as a repurposed cupboard, or a purpose-designed room complete with a kitchenette. The key is great storage, good light and a thoughtful tech set-up.

One of the best things about working from home is

Photo / Cave Bureau
Photo / Cave Bureau

Savvy storage solutions

Your set-up may be as simple as a purpose-designed computer desk in a corner, or as complex as a studio with a computer network designed for several users and a separate external entrance. Whatever your situation, whether you are a solo operator or running a larger team, well-planned storage is the key to a successful enterprise from home. Consider the equipment that’s necessary for your job, as well as the inevitable paperwork that goes with all business operations (though less and less in the digital era). The next step is creating a home for everything — current projects might be on top of your desk but everything else should be tucked away on a bookshelf, in a drawer or filing cabinet.

Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty Images

Follow the light

You might be a creative who thrives in organised chaos, or a neat-freak that prefers an orderly backdrop — whatever vibe your home office has, well-considered lighting is fundamental to getting the job done. Ideally your room will have lots of natural light in the daytime, maybe with the added advantage of a view to the garden. For intricate work or reading, you’ll need ceiling lights, complemented with desk or floor lamps.

Make sure you have plenty of power points installed so there’s enough for both domestic and commercial use. Although wireless networks allow you to access the internet on your laptop anywhere in the house, you’ll still need a home base for all your computer equipment — somewhere to house chargers, a printer and other essentials.

Photo / Cave Bureau
Photo / Cave Bureau

A cupboard can be an office

Your home office may be as simple as an alcove off the living room or space on a landing. The key to its success is not the size, it’s the ability to create a space where you can escape the domestic side of homelife and focus on your creativity or work. By having a place for everything and keeping everything in its place you will not only have a more efficient workspace, but also a more attractive one. If your space is compact, maximise storage by having floating shelving above your workstation, and filing cabinets beneath. Label boxes, then stack them neatly for easy access to materials you use frequently.

Photo / Cave Bureau
Photo / Cave Bureau

Dedicated work room

If you have the luxury of a dedicated workspace, it’s worth putting some effort into the design and décor — after all, you’re more likely to want to spend time in a well-considered space than a sterile room that lacks personality. If you tend to do a lot of your work in the evening, you might want to style your room like a classic den or library, with masculine colours and dark furniture. If the room is more of a daytime space, you might find light and bright colours more uplifting. If you are in any doubt, play it safe with the simplicity of white or neutrals.

Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty Images

Add plants, pictures and a comfy chair

If you are likely to be spending long hours at your computer, it’s important to have your workstation set up ergonomically. But if you’re only at your desk occasionally, you can probably get away with a dining chair instead of an office chair. Whatever you go for, add personal touches with artwork, houseplants and some of your favourite decorative objects. Finally, if you find that playing music while you work is inspiring rather than distracting, hook up some sounds to your office space or studio.

5 tips for a workspace that works well

  1. If you have a dedicated workspace, consider installing a mini kitchen so you can make a cup of coffee without having to encounter domestic distractions.
  2. Position your computer screen about an arm’s length away from you. The top of the screen should be about the same height as your eyes. Check for more advice on setting up a healthy workstation when working from home.
  3. If your home office doubles as a spare room for guests, invest in a sofa that does double-duty as a fold-down bed.
  4. Consider planet-friendly practices in the day-to-day running of your workspace. Use both sides of each sheet of paper before recycling and turn off lights and computer equipment when not in use.
  5. A large pin-board on the wall will give you somewhere to display important events, reminders and inspirational images.

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Previously on Renovation Rescue: How to create a bedroom your child will love (and that can slowly transform from toddler-friendly to teenage bolthole).

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