The ‘soft office’ (i.e. the bed and sofa) is often seen as the natural home of freelancers and remote workers, but many have experienced for the first time during the pandemic that in reality: it’s not quite conducive to working at your best. Living and working in the same space (perhaps with little ones trundling around too) is something millions of people have been forced to become accustomed to due to COVID-19. It’s no mean feat – but we are here to help.
If you are looking for inspiration on how to create an optimal working from home setup – whether in a dedicated room or simply a spot in the corner, read our tips below to create a tranquil, productive space for working.
Designate a work-space
Source: Architectural Digest
We can’t emphasise enough the importance of setting up a designated space for your WFH setup. Ideally, this would be in a spare room dedicated solely to work, but even if you’re short on space, having an office ‘zone’ –whether it’s an unused spot in the living room, guest bedroom or the kitchen – is important for creating boundaries and remaining focused.
Be sure to also let others know that this is your working space, and that you shouldn’t be disturbed when you are present, as another way of enforcing a clear work-life balance whilst at home.
Natural light is key
Source: Good Housekeeping
Natural light has a considerable impact on wellbeing -, which makes sense: after all, who feels inspired in a dark, dimly lit room? This in turn can impact your productivity – a Harvard Business study showed that 42% reported feeling gloomy and almost 50% (47%) said they felt more tired without natural light in their office. This is why we recommend placing your desk by a window if possible.
If natural light in your WFH space is a struggle, fake it. Using mirrors will help to bounce light off the wall, helping your space to feel airier and brighter. Another key advantage of using mirrors is that having them can also be an excellent way of creating the illusion of more space in your room, which may be particularly beneficial if you need to set up a home office in a slightly cramped space such as your bedroom.
Create privacy with frosted window film
Perhaps the only workspace you have is to work on the ground floor of your house or apartment, in full view of onlookers outside. Or maybe you just find yourself constantly looking outside the window, and getting distracted. Remove the temptation for daydreaming (whilst also keeping your expensive WFH equipment out of full view from prying eyes) by using frosted window film.
Easy to apply, you can obscure valuables from view in just a matter of minutes, without needing to sacrifice the warm glow of natural light by using frosted window film. A sophisticated, elegant solution to your home office needs.
If you are looking for something a little more decorative in nature for your window film, then there is a wide range of patterned window films you can choose from to inject a little personality. Get a fresh new look with patterned frosted film or coloured vinyl, that come in a range of beautiful, intricate designs for you to choose from, that will make a stunning focal point for both new-builds and period properties alike.
Add a little personality
Source: Good Housekeeping
You may be at home, but do you feel ‘right at home’ at your WFH desk? Working in a space devoid of character – whether you’re at home or in an office, can be stultifying, but adding a few chic personal touches can send your creativity levels soaring (and your mood too).
It could be adding a pop of colour, a vibrant wall hanging, or perhaps one of the masterpieces your little one created at nursery last week. Even a vase with some freshly cut flowers blooming on your table, or a little succulent can help get your creative juices flowing. After all, if you like the space that you are working in, it makes sense that you’ll have more incentive to be there and that it will have a knock-on effect on your productivity levels.
Opt for plants
Source: Joy of Plants
A little leafy greenery is pleasing to the eye, but becoming a plant parent also has air-purifying and mood-boosting properties too: researchers from the University of Exeter found that plants could reduce stress and increase productivity by 15%. As if we didn’t need another reason to buy some delightful botanical beauties!
To keep plant maintenance as easy as it can possibly be, try to only opt for greenery that do not need too much upkeep, as you do not want it to end up being more hassle than it is worth. Even worse, the last thing you want is being surrounded by dying plants whilst working away at your desk. Opt for succulents that tend to only need watering every few weeks or so, spider plants, or a Chinese evergreen for the ultimate stylish yet low-key houseplant for your office.
Keep things uncluttered
Source: Ideal Home
We all know the saying a ‘clear space, clear mind’ and in a working from home setup this is no less important. In fact, in a situation where working from home is for many of us something we can’t control, this is something we can. Piles of paper and clutter around your desk has even been shown to impact our working memory: a leading study shows that clearing clutter from the work environment increases productivity, focus, and ability to process information. Simply put, our brain likes order, so creating a space that facilitates this will help you to be more productive in your home office.
Make use of home office storage
Source: Cassie Fairy
Many of us have had to carve out a makeshift office, but you can still keep organised and have things blend seamlessly with your decor. Put work papers and office accessories in boxes that can be put away at the end of the working day, so that they have little impact on the rest of your interiors. It also has the effect of telling your mind to ‘shut off’ from the working day, which can only be a good thing!
Invest in a comfortable chair
Source: Kartell Masters
Selecting the right chair is pivotal to making working from home a success. After all, you’ll be spending almost half of the day in it, so making sure you choose a chair that feels comfortable enough to work in is key and will help you with “switching on” into work mode when in your home office.
But be sure to spend some researching your options before deciding to get any seat. You need to find the best office chair that will suit your individual needs. Don’t forget that it is important to purchase a chair that offers ample back, thigh, and arm support, and also peruse reviews for potential chairs online to see what the feedback is like. No-one wants to end up experiencing neck or back pain due to picking an ill-fitting chair.
Buy a monitor
Source: Cult Furniture
Buying a computer monitor for your home office is well worth thinking about if you believe you’ll be working at home regularly for the foreseeable future. Leaning over your laptop all the time to see the screen is not a great setup to have, ergonomically speaking. Investing in a computer monitor and positioning it at eye-level can help to considerably reduce neck and back pain, which is often associated with poor posture due to a poor working setup.
Source: Architectural Digest
Unsurprisingly, staring at a completely blank wall for most of the working day at home may not help you produce the very best work. A stylish way to add a pop of color and interest to your office work space, is by investing in a wallpaper and using it as the basis for your design scheme in the room. Try to select a wallpaper print that is a visually appealing yet subtle pattern, but be sure to pick nothing too distracting. Otherwise, it may well end up having the opposing effect you intended it to have. In fact, you could end up spending all your time admiring your lovely walls! Not exactly what you want for a home office.
Keep it simple
Source: Interior God
When it comes to keeping your home office clutter-free, this also applies to the items you choose to incorporate into this pace. Keeping things as minimal as possible, and having only the fundamentals (such as a lamp, desk, chair, and necessary storage) will help you to feel more focused and less likely to be distracted or feel hemmed in by the space you work in. Don’t forget: a cluttered space can have a similar impact on you mentally too.
Pick a mood-boosting colour
Source: Furniture Choice
Different colours can impact your mood in a variety of ways, so making savvy decisions about the hues you choose for your space is important for your overall productivity when working from home. If you do decide to paint the walls for your home office, select colours that are known to be calming, and more conducive to working in an anxiety-free environment, such as soothing greys and greens.
Use eye-catching rugs
Source: The Remarkable Interior
Don’t underestimate the impact a beautiful rug can have on the rest of your room! We understand that not everyone will have the ability to add colour by painting their walls, or doing a spot of DIY and adding storage to the walls to infuse personality due to renting. But an excellent, non-permanent way to make the space feel more inviting is to get an eye-catching rug, that can be the focal point of your home office.
Consider a standing desk
Source: Huffington Post
We know by now that a sedentary lifestyle often facilitated by spending long periods of time sitting at the computer whilst working is bad for your health. This includes the aches and pains that come from sitting down all day. Well, when you have your own home office, why not consider getting a standing desk? These are height-adjustable and can help with posture and circulation, and even better: you can do all this without having to move or completely rearrange your working space.
What about a noticeboard?
Source: Expert Home Tips
Having a noticeboard in your home office can be an excellent way to keep track of upcoming deadlines and to-do lists. But it can also be a wonderful way to visualize your goals for the future, helping you to remain focused in your home environment, even if a few distractions here and there get thrown your way!
Turn a corner of your room into a home office
Source: Architectural Digest
As we have mentioned earlier, not everyone is fortunate enough to have enough space to have a separate room for their home office. However, having some space that is designated as your working area is key to productivity. So why not look at making a corner of your living room your office, or perhaps divide up an open plan kitchen so you have room for working? Both of these options can be an excellent alternative if your space is small.
But these aren’t the only choices you have. Even hallways and landings that you might have otherwise thought could not be used as a working space could be perfect, providing you use the right furniture. This can be especially the case if you have a small nook under the stairs: there are a number of under-the-stairs storage solutions that could work brilliantly for you. There is also the opportunity for using an alcove space for your WFH setup.
In terms of designing your workspace under these circumstances, try to opt for a colour palette that is in keeping with the existing space, so that it fits in neatly with the rest of your interiors.
Experiment with metallic paint
Have you ever thought about using metallic paint for your home office? Whilst it isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to creating a productive working environment at home, it can be a creative way to put up an inspiration board, or keep important memos in front of your desk.
Pick carefully your working desk
Source: House Beautiful
It might be tempting to just simply pick an existing unused desk you have lying somewhere in your house, but it would be wise to carefully consider if this would actually be a good choice for you in terms of productivity. For example, think about the amount of space that you will need for storage, and various tech you may need to have to do your job well, and whether your desk can accommodate this. Always make sure you have designed your office with tech needs in mind.
Maximise vertical space
Source: Ideal Home
If you are creating a working from home space for the very first time, (perhaps unexpectedly) then the issue of storage may well be a bit of a problem. A lack of space to store important documents, files, books, and other important work items can cause you stress, and ultimately lead to a lack of productivity.
Whilst you can’t magically create new floor space, you can add shelving units on your walls for more storage opportunities. Not only is this practical, it can also be a chic, elegant way to add interest to your decor, without needing to compromise on style. By making the most of your vertical space, this also gives you a greater opportunity to rearrange furniture in a way that’s more conducive to a better working environment.
Buy a floor lamp
Source: Home Interior Furniture
Of course, whilst natural light is always the most preferable option when it comes to crafting a productive working space, we realise this isn’t always something you can rely exclusively on. Perhaps you need to work late a few evenings a week, or winter is coming and you are lacking the regular bright light you received during the summer. Whatever the reason may be, investing in a floor lamp is an excellent way to brighten up your home workspace. There are a number of styles to choose from: we love those that have a sleek, Scandinavian style finish that works harmoniously with almost any interior. If possible, avoid using harsh, fluorescent lighting and opt for a more natural, warm-hued light bulb instead, to provide a more peaceful ambiance.
Create a gallery wall
Adding a gallery wall to your home office can be an eye-catching way to enhance the aesthetics of your space, but also provide some inspiration too. By satisfying both needs, you’ll not only benefit from the mood-boosting effect of liking the space you work in, but this will also have an effect on your productivity levels too. What’s more, you can marvel at art or photos around you, without these cluttering the actual space you are working in.
Use a space-saving desk
Source: House Beautiful
Depending on the amount of room you are able to work with, a space-saving desk for your home office may be a better alternative for you. Installing a floating desk that does not take up valuable workspace, and can be easily folded up and put away at the end of the day, may also help to delineate a clear work-life balance in your WFH setup.