Working from home with style
Most people don’t have the luxury of a totally redundant room in their home which can be pressed into service as a home office. Common contenders for the role are usually spare bedrooms and dining rooms which are not always in constant use. Shared living spaces like lounges and living rooms present more of a challenge. So how can you set up an effective small home office where you can work productively without spoiling your interior design and interfering with family life?
Working from home for most people is simply a matter of good home organisation. Rather than parking yourself in a corner with a laptop, take time to plan and set up a dedicated work area. This doesn’t have to be an entire room - depending on your requirements, it could be a space within a room. Good organisation means you will have all the tools to work effectively and it will minimise interference with family life.
Tips and tricks
Here are some practical, styling tips to inspire your small home office ideas and which will make working from home a breeze.
- Work out how much space you need – it is better to have a table and ergonomic chair rather than slouching on lounge furniture. Most people already have a home printer so take the opportunity to tidy up other office equipment from around the house into one compact work station
- Office furniture doesn’t have to be functional and ugly – choose a large wooden trestle table which can double up for mealtimes – the styling of the legs means you can also store small items of office equipment and supplies underneath it. A large table can accommodate laptops, a printer, paperwork and stationery with often more than one person working at the same time
- Good lighting is really important, placing a work station near a window or by French windows overlooking a terrace or patio where there is plenty of natural light and an attractive vista. Remember, you will also need spotlighting or lamps but these can be a real decorative feature
- Small items of office equipment like home paper shredders, compact file cabinets and space-saving storage and filing units will fit under a large table or you can create a work corner in a room where they are tucked out of the way allowing you to tidy up at the end of each day
- Give some thought to your technological requirements, you need to maximise digital capacity and also disguise unsightly wires. You will need to make sure you have enough digital resource – don’t forget to consider equipment like a surge protector and how to securely store and dispose of confidential data
- If you have a whole room to style, think about creating a study along the lines of early 20th-century homes where there is shelving for books. On-trend, functional design from the 1960s and 1970s offers numerous statement pieces with crisp lines which are both modern yet retro. Or why not opt for a contemporary studio vibe which will create a space which can be used for other activities such as design, painting or arts and crafts. It can even double up as a kids’ play area. Clever storage solutions mean a small space can constantly reinvent itself
No-one has endless capacity in their homes. It is important that a designed home office can fulfil other roles within the family and quickly convert into another useable space or be restored to family life with clever office furniture. This could even be an opportunity to rationalise other clutter like kids toys and find innovative storage solutions for all sorts of items around the house.
Nearly 1.5 million people work from home in the UK and as their main job. Working from home is something of an art and a science. Shutting the psychological door on the office is crucial in our 24/7 digital culture. If you can’t isolate your small home office in a spare room, then make sure you are equipped with enough home office essentials to be able to tidy away items at the end of each day and get on with the business of family life.