I’m currently in the process of giving my home office a little makeover, and to say I’m excited is a pretty big understatement. I’ve had this space for over a year now, but I very rarely actually use it, preferring to sit at the dining room table when doing my work.
Well, my little home office is just not that inviting. The lighting is awful, my “desk” chair is uncomfortable, and it’s just not a space that I’m excited to go into.
This month, as we head into a new year, I realized more than anything I wanted to have a dedicated work space that makes me excited to… well, work.
And so, with that in mind, I spent the majority of my day deciding what I would like to do with the space, and let me tell ‘ya, it’s not easy. There’s so much to consider, and as someone who really lets her space dictate her mood and productivity, it’s very important to me that I get the details right on this space.
All that being said, if you’re someone who is also hoping to give their home office a makeover, I figured I’d share some of the information I found today during my research.
The top 5 things to consider when designing a home office:
1) The floor plan
I think this is the part I’m finding to be the most difficult, but I also think it’s probably the most important.
Put your desk in a weird spot that doesn’t get much lighting, or makes you feel claustrophobic, and you probably won’t be getting much done.
Here are the top 3 things I’m trying to consider when placing my desk:
1. Relation to the window: I want to make sure I’m not getting any weird glare on my computer screen, but I also don’t want to be so far from the window that I’m not getting any natural light. In an ideal world, I’d want the window to my left since I’m right handed. This will allow for less distracting shadows and glare.
2. Relation to the door: Again, in an ideal world, my desk would be facing the door, so that when I’m working I’m looking right at the door. In addition, I don’t want to be right in the line with the door, and would prefer that I’d be on a diagonal from it. This is helpful so you don’t have an ominous feeling of someone just being able to walk into your office, and your back is to them. You want to be facing them, so you can simply look up instead of having to turn around.
3. Not up against a wall: For some people sitting right up against the wall works, because it feels like you’re minimizing distractions, but the more I read into this, the more it seems that design experts say to be facing out from a wall. When you’re just staring at a wall it can seem restrictive and doesn’t inspire a lot of creativity. Facing out feels less claustrophobic.
2) The Lighting
Another component that is proving to be tricky is the lighting.
In the particular room I’m dealing with, there’s no overhead lighting.
Having said that, as I was researching, most design blogs said that overhead lighting is actually not ideal for a home office.
Instead, you want to have a lot of soft, ambient lighting that throws the light around the room, and doesn’t create a lot of shadows. In addition, a task light (a.k.a. a desk light) is good for when you need more lighting for a specific task. If you’re right handed, put the light on left, and if you’re left handed, you’ll want the light on the right.
All that being said, in a perfect world, natural light is what you should be aiming for, so when possible, make sure you’re considering your desk placement in relation to a window source, as mentioned above.
3) The colors
Sitting in a dark, grey office doesn’t sound very appealing, does it?
Definitely not in my world.
Picking soft, bright colors is probably your best bet when picking colors for your office space.
You can certainly go for moody shades if you have a lot of natural light, or you’re dealing with a large room that you think can handle it, but in general, because this is a place that you’re going to work in, you’ want to be able to see. Not to mention, if the room is dark and moody, you’ll likely want to fall asleep.
Your room should inspire creativity. Think bright white, soft grey, muted pink, sage green, lilac, lemony yellow, etc.
You can also choose to punch up the colors with shades like coral or electric blue, but again, just be sure that the room can handle such a bold color. Most home office spaces tend to be on the smaller side, and you don’t want to paint the room a bold shade, and then feel overwhelmed by the color.
When in doubt, keep it light, soft, and distraction free.
4) Your personal style
It’s easy enough to hop on Pinterest, and let the vast number of pins inspire you. However, be careful. I know from personal experience that it’s easy enough to love a design idea on paper, but in your actual everyday life, it might not be for you.
You want your home office to reflect your personal style.
When in doubt, think about what clothing items you’re attracted to.
Are you all about bold, flashy colors, or are you more minimalist? Do you tend to gravitate towards feminine design, or are you more attracted to edgy styles?
Whatever the case, the clothing you like to wear will probably help guide you with what home decor elements you’ll like.
Consider your own personal style when designing your home office, and don’t let the flashy Pinterest images distract you, or make you think you need to change your taste.
And lastly, I probably don’t even have to mention this, but when you’re designing a home office, it is absolutely key that you consider organization.
If there’s one thing that’s going to make you not want to work in your offie, it’s a mess.
Not only is this distracting and not helpful when you’re trying to be productive, I know I also tend to get cranky and irritable when I’m stuck in a mess.
Consider things like file cabinets (or just simple boxes if you’re on a budget), drawer organizers (because there’s nothing more counter-productive than simply hiding your mess, only to see it every time you open a drawer), and even stylish shelving units if you don’t have a lot of floor space to work with.
Bottom line: don’t skip over organization. It might not seem like the most glamorous component of the design process, but it’s one that will definitely make or break the effectiveness of your home office
And there you have it: As I design my new home office, these are the top design considerations that I’m taking into account.
Did I miss anything?
If you’ve designed a home office before, or even if you just have thoughts about what you think should be considered, drop them in the comment section below. When it comes to designing this home office, I need all the help that I can get!