More people are working from home, at least part time, than ever before. Having a functional and stylish work from home space has become a high priority consideration for at-home entrepreneurs and serial workaholics but also top-gun vacation rental hosts catering to 'bleisure' and staycation travelers. Whether you live in a single family home or apartment condominium, creating a functional, comfortable and inspiring workspace can be challenging. And even more challenging in small urban floor plans. This is a very basic strategy with some tips for manifesting a Zoom-worthy, professional, and productive WFH masterpiece.
1. The Location
Wherever it's designated, location matters. Ideally, you want to choose a space with plenty of natural light and minimal distractions. First, if possible, choose a room or area with a window that lets in plenty of natural light. More on the importance of lighting in next section. If you don't have a dedicated room, designate an area with adequate space for the essential furnishings you'll require which could blend with the scenery already in place. That would likely be basically a work surface, some storage and a desk chair for starters. For flex spaces, these pieces may need to perform double duty.
2. The Lighting
Lighting is crucial when it comes to designing a home office. Ideally, you want to have a mix of natural and artificial light sources. Natural light is the best source of healthy light. Semi-transparent window coverings provide privacy in the evening and filtered light on sunny days. However, you also need to invest in good task lighting for reading such as my favorite TIZIO table lamp and dimmable ambient lighting which might be ceiling mounted or other floor or table lamps. Appropriate lighting helps prevent eye strain and headaches, especially if you work long hours. Cool spectrum light bulbs are preferable but I always mix cool with warm sources for flexible settings depending on weather conditions, season, time of day, mood or tasks at hand.
3. The Colors
Colors can affect your mood and productivity, so it's important to choose the right colors for your home office. Lighter, neutral colors like warm shades of white, cool shades of beige or taupe, or warmer shades of light grey paint are often my picks but I've designed many darker offices that, with appropriate lighting and other decor considerations, turned out really well. Contrasting wood finishes and added decor will give the space character and depth. I like to add living green or blooming plants which not only add freshness and color but also biophilic benefits. And maybe even companionship.
4. The Furniture
When it comes to designing a WFH space, investing in quality furniture is smart. Your desk and chair should be ergonomic or at least comfortable for all the obvious reasons. For top of the line desk chairs, you cannot go wrong with my go-to models from Herman Miller which would be the iconic Aeron Chairs, and Soft Pad Series Chairs which can be purchased directly from their website in multiple finishes with fabric or leather coverings. These chairs are offered in multiple sizes to fit any person's shape or build and are guaranteed to bring a sophisticated detail to the space.
5. The Personalization
There should be room for personalization and style, so here's where we insert the decor. If the space is light and neutral colored as prescribed above, an accent wall, contrasting wood furnishings and colored decor will give the space dimension and visual interest. If you're lucky, you have space enough for extra or alternative seating choices. I usually add at least a chair with side table for coffee or drink and if possible a sofa for lounging with a coffee table for staging interesting decorative objects, books or mementoes.
Designing a stylish and functional WFH space just like any other room can be a bit challenging, but it's definitely doable with some professional guidance and an open mind. By choosing the right location, investing in good lighting and quality furniture, choosing the right color schemes, and adding personal touches, you can have a light-filled, professional, and inspiring workspace that will set you up to do great things.