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We live in a virtual world where working from home is quite common. Whether you like to work remotely or not, just about everyone finds themselves doing so once in a while. It’s important to create an environment where you can get things done. One of the biggest challenges of working from home is cutting out surrounding noise and minimizing distractions.
One key factor for maximized productivity is making sure your office is fully stocked with all of the necessary workplace equipment. You don’t want to be scrambling around last minute trying to find an Internet cord, printer paper or a pen. See our eight tips for designing an attractive and productive home office so you can work in peace.
1. Location & Design
Location and design are two of the most important details to consider as you’re planning out your new home office. Think about where in the home your office is going to be easily accessible and quiet. Make sure there’s ample space for decent furniture, office equipment and room to spread out. Your goal should be to create an environment that’s both functional and attractive.
When you’re designing the layout and thinking about how you might furnish your workspace, be sure to avoid cramming too much into one space. Feeling crowded in your home office will definitely create stress and frustration. Feeling restless is the last thing you need when trying to get important work done.
If you have the option to add natural light, you should do it. I promise you won’t regret this decision. Seeing the sun once in a while will brighten your spirits. It might even make you work that much quicker so you can get outside and enjoy the weather. By adding natural light, you’ll find you won’t have to turn the lights on as often and in turn, save money and energy.
Working from home means you could be working all sorts of crazy hours. I suggest your artificial lighting has a dimmer switch so you can adjust the brightness according to the time of day. Some people also use lamps and candles to create lighting variations, and because they enjoy working in a calm and comfortable environment.
3. Windows & Doors
As I mentioned above, adding more windows gives you a chance to draw in natural light and brighten the room. Another viable option is to install a skylight (or move your office to a room that has one). If you aren't able to install a large window, or if privacy is a concern, skylights are often the best option.
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Interior doors serve many purposes. In a home office, you’re most likely wanting to install doors that cut down on noise, offer some privacy and are visually appealing. There are many styles out there to choose from including: panel doors, French doors, sliding doors and swinging doors. Think about if you want your door to have windows or be completely solid. Selecting doorknobs, handles and locks is the perfect opportunity to add a personal touch to your design.
You want something that looks professional, is easy to clean, keeps well and doesn’t create too much noise. Also, think about the color of the floors and how that will affect the brightness of the room and your other décor. Carpet tiles are a popular trend for office floors and will never go out of fashion. They are easy to clean and care for and the design options are endless. DIYers love carpet tiles because they don’t have to be professionally fitted. Other materials such as hardwood, cork and luxury vinyl tile will work nicely too. If you want the look of hardwood or stone but not the cost that comes with it, then go with the less expensive option of laminate.
Make sure when you’re designing your office you leave enough space to get comfortable and move around. Don’t limit yourself to a desk chair. Think about if there’s room to add a couch or futon. If you add a futon or pull-out couch, you can use the office as a guest bedroom too.
Will you be inviting clients into your space or will it mostly be used for personal matters? If you’re inviting clients, then you want to think about adding a few comfortable chairs and a small tabletop. Do you like working at a large desk or from a small table? Are you big into decorating and want to showcase some pieces on an open shelf? Or if you like to read, maybe you want to think about adding a large bookshelf so you can do some reading in your downtime. These are all things to consider as you pick out furniture for your home office. Make sure the style and colors flow with what’s already in your home and that you personalize the space so it suits you.
6. Colors & Paint
Productivity is key when it comes to color and paint. Studies say that blue aids in calming the nervous system and increases productivity so it would make sense that it’s a good color to use in an office setting. These days, we’re all super busy and short on time, so it’s critical that your home office helps you produce your best work. Amy Morin, Forbes contributor and college psychology instructor, says that “A fresh coat of paint is one of the simplest yet most effective changes you can make to a space. The color on the walls alone can play a role in your mood, productivity and job performance.” Pick a few accent colors that feel right to you, but don’t go overboard. The goal is to create balance, not a spectrum of colors that create chaos and cause anxiety.
7. Office Equipment
Start by making a list of the items you actually use on a daily basis when you’re in the office. Or if you work for yourself, the items you need to do your job. There’s no reason to waste space and spend money on objects that will just collect dust. Invest in nice pieces that will actually work and last a long time. It will save you time and money in the long run. You don’t want to be making multiple trips to the store and causing unnecessary stress on yourself because the cheap stuff you bought doesn’t work.
8. Organization & Storage
Lose the clutter. There are entire stores and people dedicated to organization and storage for a reason. We all need it. Start by cleaning off and organizing your actual workspace, the desk. When you’re trying to think and tackle work issues, the last thing you need to be staring at is a big mess. Label, sort, store and arrange until you’re blue in the face. You will thank yourself later. Make sure at the end of each day that you pick up and clean up so that in the morning you can start fresh and jump right into your work.
There’s a lot of thought and planning that goes into designing an attractive and productive home office. All of the details above are important elements to take into consideration as you map out what your next workspace will look like in your home. Be creative, but also be smart. Make sure that at the end of the day you build a space that is set up for success.
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