Wouldn’t it be great to create a home office that inspires you and helps you be more productive? It’s possible with a little planning and imagination.
Whether you’re reviving an existing home office or setting one up from scratch, how you should design the space depends on several factors, including whether you’ll have clients on-site and what your day-to-day job entails.
Comfort is essential, but you don’t want an office that’s so casual it impedes productivity. When designing the space, one of your priorities should be creating a physical boundary between your office and the rest of your home. When you walk through your office door, you want to instantly feel like it’s a working space.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of privacy and quiet—just ask the dad whose rambunctious kids crashed his cable news interview. If you have young kids at home, constant noise and interruptions can kill productivity. Your office needs to be an “off limits” space. Keeping standard office hours not only helps you get into a routine; it also helps your clients know when you’re available.
Before You Dive In, Answer These Questions
Jotting down answers to the following questions can help you or your designer create a productive office space:
- What type of work will you be doing in the space?
- Will clients visit?
- Will colleagues visit for collaborative work?
- What type of equipment will be required?
- How much storage space do you need?
- Will you be making conference/video calls?
The answers to these questions should guide you in designing a space that fully meets your needs. Your next step is mapping out the room. If the area is small, you’ll need to get creative with your blueprint. Use every square inch to your advantage, including vertical space.
One of your main goals should be creating a self-contained space. If at all possible, avoid putting office equipment (such as a printer) outside the office. Doing so almost guarantees you’ll get distracted or sidetracked during the workday.
Also, consider creating a refreshments area and even keeping a small refrigerator in your office for cold drinks and snacks. An electric hot water kettle is ideal for making tea or pour-over coffee quickly.
5 Steps to a Functional Home Office
These steps will help you create a home office where you can get your best work done.
1: Carefully plan the layout.
Odds are whatever room or area you’ve decided will become your office is relatively small. That means you need to get strategic about furniture layout, so your office doesn’t feel cramped or cluttered.
Thankfully, there are plenty of modular furniture options today that help you make the most of every square inch, like this compact corner desk with hutch. If you need easy access to paper files, a desk with built-in storage is a must.
Envision yourself working when choosing furniture and storage. If your work requires assembling packages or dealing with files, do you normally work from left to right? Does your paperwork flow in any particular direction?
If you’ll be meeting with clients frequently, make sure the space can comfortably accommodate two or three people and that you have the right equipment to make presentations (a laptop will usually suffice, but also consider investing in an interactive whiteboard).
2: Invest in quality equipment.
Decide which equipment is going to benefit you the most. Will a dual monitor setup help you work more efficiently? Do you really need that 4-in-1 printer, or are you better off making the occasional run to your local print shop?
If you’ll be working full-time in your home office, invest in furniture and equipment that gives you maximum flexibility. Adjustable standing desks are more affordable these days, and they have proven health benefits. Also, glass that allows natural light in has been proven to improve focus, uplift mood and live better.
A wireless hub can help you eliminate pesky wires and give you the flexibility to move around your office easily. If setting up tech devices isn’t your forte, hire a professional.
It might be tempting to slap together a home office using random pieces of furniture you find around your home or to buy pieces online that are stylish but not really designed to provide the support you need at work. Don’t overlook ergonomics, which matter just as much in a home office as an office off-site. Invest in a quality chair, keyboard, mouse, phone with speakerphone function or headset, and a footrest.
3: Install good lighting.
Good lighting isn’t just essential to protect eye health and for general safety; it also has a profound effect on mood and energy levels. If your office has plenty of natural light, take advantage of it—daylight is your best source of white light, providing an equal proportion of each color from the light spectrum. Out interior glass door solutions include many options to optimize the use of natural light during the day!
If your office has very little or no natural light, you’ll need a good combination of general light and task lighting. Today, there’s an almost overwhelming selection of lighting types and color temperatures.
Experts agree that mimicking natural daylight helps boost mood and productivity in work environments. The color temperature of daylight is usually between 5,000K and 7,000K (K stands for Kelvins), depending on the time of day and the weather conditions.
Overly dim lighting can have negative effects on mood and productivity, but super-bright white or blue light can be jarring. A yellow-cast light that’s about midway from cool to warm is a good choice. Aim for color temperature between 3,000K-5,000K and brightness levels of 3,000-6,000 lumens. LED bulbs are a good choice and last for years.
Use a combination of floor lamps and desk lamps that evenly distribute light throughout the room. Use task lighting to help light the space immediately around you.
4: Make the space your own.
One major advantage of a home office is you get to design it to your taste and preferences. You want it to reflect your personality, but it should still be tasteful, especially if you see clients in the office. Here are some suggestions:
- Choose neutral colors for walls and flooring.
- Incorporate (real) plants into the space, which help to clean the air and lift the mood.
- Add pops of color with pillows and other accent pieces.
- Soften the space with an area rug, especially if you have wood or tile flooring.
- Create a photo gallery wall with your favorite landscape, wildlife, or street scenes.
- If space allows, create a seating area away from your desk—a couple of comfy chairs and a small table will do—for breaks and visitors.
5: Make privacy and quiet priorities.
It’s difficult to work with noise and distractions. Noise-canceling headphones can help drown out the sound of screaming kids and leaf blowers but wearing them all the time isn’t practical or even possible. Air filters and fans on a low setting create white noise that can aid concentration.
If you don’t have a designated room for your office, consider sectioning off part of the room with sliding interior doors. If that’s not possible, use a glass divider wall to reduce noise and for extra privacy. As a last resort, use a “quiet time” or “work in progress” sign to let others in the house know you need quiet.
Space Plus: Helping You Create a Comfortable, Functional Home Office
The modern workplace is evolving. Space Plus, a division of The Sliding Door Company, provides state-of-the-art interior door solutions to improve the aesthetics and functionality of home offices.
Our office room dividers, glass partitions, and interior sliding doors can help give you the privacy you need in your home office. Our doors and partitions are sleek and modern, constructed of the highest quality tempered or laminated glass. Our talented team will help you choose from a variety of designs, glass types, and frame finishes to suit your space.
View our gallery for inspiration and learn more about our home office solutions here.