Whether you’re looking for a space to pay your bills, a place for the kids to do their homework, or a full-time, dedicated environment that will allow you to work from home, the home office is becoming a necessity for many families today. It isn’t unusual for potential buyers to look for a home that has an extra room that can be converted into the perfect office.
Whether you’re outfitting a room solely as an office or creating a dedicated desk space in another room, the Design Center team at Ernest Signature Custom Homes has some great tips for putting together the ideal space.
Invest in the Right Furniture
Many people make the mistake of pulling together a home office from bits and pieces they’ve collected here and there. A table inherited from Aunt Gracie, a spare kitchen chair that no-one sits in, and a plastic bin stuffed with file folders doesn’t make the grade when it comes to creating a fully functional office. You need adequate desk space with enough room for a computer, printer, monitor and incidental equipment. You also require handy space for files, research materials and your stash of office supplies.
Ergonomics are important! For someone who will be working full time in the office, or for students who will spend hours deep in concentration, it’s essential that the chair is comfortable and adjustable, and that everything necessary is within easy reach. If more than one person will be using the space on a regular basis, make sure that everyone tests the furnishings before buying it. Sure, you can order it online, but only after visiting a physical location first to try it out.
Natural daylight is best…if you can locate your home office in a room with adequate windows, you’re miles ahead of home workers that have to settle for electric lights. However, you’ll need to make sure that you have adequate lighting for all hours of the day, or for cloudy days. General overhead lighting and targeted task lighting are both important. To avoid glare, make sure your overhead lighting isn’t directly above your computer screen. Reduce eyestrain; don’t put a computer screen directly in front of a light source. Make sure your targeted task lighting sources have adjustable levels of light, from either dimmer switches or three way bulbs. Choose yellow-toned lighting, as it is one of the brightest alternatives, and has a middle place on the color spectrum between cool and warm, making it ideal for both your mood and the comfort of your eyes.
The Proper Equipment
Look carefully at your office needs to determine which pieces of equipment you’ll really need. Don’t buy things you won’t use every day. While it may be nice to have a fancy high-speed color copier with heavy volume capability for the three times a year you’ll need it, most of the time it will just be wasting space that can otherwise be put to better use. Do you need a high-speed internet hub and wireless capability? Or a dedicated telephone line with its own number? A phone with conference and speaker functions? And most importantly, make sure you invest in the fastest, best-rated equipment you can afford – and don’t forget to pick up the offered extended warranties!
Separation is the Key
Your home office needs to be away from high traffic areas of the home to be successful. You can’t expect the kids to focus on their homework in the living room, or make business phone calls from your family room. If you don’t have a dedicated room with a closing door, look carefully at the available areas of your home to give it optimum placement. You may want to repurpose a sunroom, set up shop in a seldom-used guest room, tuck a compact desk in the corner of a dining room or even partition off an area of your garage! Avoid sightline views of TV’s at all costs. Better yet, don’t even have one in the room you choose. You can also use creative solutions to separate your “office” area from other parts of the room. Tall bookcases will not only wall off the area, they will provide additional storage options. Remove the doors from a little used closet and tuck a small office setup inside.
Add Some Personal Touches
While your office is a place for work, don’t fall into the trap of business-only blandness. Add a green plant or two, a couple of family photos, some intriguing wall art. One of the main advantages of having an office in your home is the freedom to decorate it as you please. Just make sure the details you add aren’t distracting you from your mission.
With a little ingenuity and some planning, you can create an area for work that not only increases your productivity, but provides comfort and enjoyment to your day. It’s easier to work efficiently when you love the space you’re in!