Whether you work from home full time or are checking email after the kids are in bed, you’re likely working from home. Forget the dinged file cabinet in the basement and the poorly lit corner where you juggle your laptop, files and cell phone – it’s time for an upgrade. Here are a few designer tips for creating a stylish and functional home office.
1. Choose a Dedicated Space
The type of work you do and frequency of use will determine where to place your home office. Checking email can easily be done in a smaller space. Try a built-in desk in the kitchen, under the stairs, or even hide a small station in a closet. For larger tasks utilize a spare room – this could be your guest bedroom or even the formal dining room that only gets used twice a year.
2. Determine if you’re a “Piler” or a “Filer”
People tend to fall into two categories – those who pile their items and those who file their items. Which category you fall within will determine the type of storage needed. If you pile, make sure you have lots of desk and shelf space. If you file, there are a variety of furniture-style cabinets available. Those with a modern aesthetic will appreciate the beautiful file options in the Cascadia Collection made by BDI Furniture. Traditionalists may be drawn to the Postobello Collection from Drexel Heritage.
3. Control Lighting
High contrast areas of light and dark are often the culprit of eye strain. For computer work, use well-distributed diffuse light to lessen the contrast between light and dark areas of the computer screen, horizontal work surface, and surround areas. Utilize supplemental task/desk lighting to adequately illuminate writing and reading tasks while limiting brightness around monitors. Lastly, if you’re going to place your computer monitor in front of a window, be sure to use window treatments to control the light. Bright light sources behind the display screen are tiring for the eyes and make it difficult to clearly see your work. I love the Mini Sigma Table Lamp (Vibia), the Leaf Personal Light (Herman Miller), and the Dioscuri Table Lamps (Artemide) – sculpture and lighting all in one.
4. Throw In Some Fun
Adding amusing office accessories, a piece of art that inspires you, or an organizer that makes your neat-freak-self feel ease is well worth the investment. You might even find yourself wanting to (gasp) work a little longer. The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) has a wonderful selection. James the Bookend, Floppy Disk Sticky Notes, or the Fun Time Wall Clock are all great options.