9 Questions to Ask Yourself When Planning a Home Office
Plan the perfect home office with these tips for ensuring your space is comfortable, practical and inspiring
This article is from our Most Popular stories file
Your first consideration when planning an office space will, of course, be where to put it. If your home is spacious, you might have one or two rooms to choose from, so pick a space that’s comfortable and has plenty of natural light.
Not everyone wants a dedicated room for their desk space, though, even if there’s one available. If you have young children, for example, it’s often helpful to locate your home office within the living area, where you can keep an eye on them while working.
In a home where space is limited, look around for places where you might be able to squeeze in a desk. Here, the owners have constructed a practical workstation on a landing.
Before you set up your desk space, make sure you have easy access to a power supply. If possible, choose a spot with plug sockets nearby, ensuring there’s enough for all your equipment, including computer, chargers, desk light and printer.
If you can’t find a space near a power point, an extension lead should do the trick, but invest in a cable tidy to avoid a mass of leads cluttering up the room.
Even if you’ve gone mainly paper-free, chances are you still have plenty of things you need to keep to hand. Make sure there’s enough storage, and that it’s easy to access.
A mix of shelves and cupboards is ideal, as it will enable you to quickly pull frequently used items off a shelf and keep other, less needed – and less attractive – things hidden away.
Shelves can also be used to display ornaments, plants and pictures – all of which are important for creating a space that feels homely and inspiring, rather than just practical.
Read reviews of home storage designers and organisers near you.
An area of wall space is handy in a home office, as it will allow you to hang a calendar or noticeboard. By keeping key dates, to-do lists and any ideas and photos in full view, you’ll find it easier to stay focused and organised.
Here, the homeowner has gone for a combination of a wire noticeboard and a wall-hung calendar. Consider, also, painting a section of the wall with magnetic paint, which will provide a larger expanse for hanging up anything you need to see frequently.
Good lighting is key in an office space, for practical reasons and for your own wellbeing. Along with natural daylight, you’ll need some overhead lighting to ensure the room feels bright enough to work in, and to boost your mood and productivity.
Task lighting is also crucial, so invest in a high-quality desk lamp that will help you see without straining your eyes.
Avoid a distracting glare on your computer screen by placing your desk away from direct sunlight. Also, invest in a window treatment that will allow you to control light levels easily throughout the day.
A Venetian blind like this one is ideal, as you can simply pull the slats to the optimum position to let in just the right amount of light.
The type of work you do will influence the amount of space you need. If you have a lot of drawings or paperwork to pore over, a large desktop is ideal.
You could even design two surfaces, as in this home office, so you can keep the computer zone separate from your paper-based work area.
Let Houzz find the best pros for you
Bear in mind, though, that spending long periods of time in front of a small screen is not great for your eyes. If you plan to use your desk for a good proportion of the day, ensure there’s room for a larger screen.
Don’t forget to accommodate all those secondary gadgets you need for your work. In particular, think about providing space for a printer and scanner. Here, the designers have purpose-built a neat low ledge.
If your desk area is too compact for any bulky equipment, you can always locate a printer in another room. As long as there’s a WiFi connection, this shouldn’t affect your ability to send things through to be printed.
If you’re going to be using your office space for long periods of time, a practical desk chair is essential. Choose a design that supports your back to avoid any long-term problems with your spine.
Not a fan of classic office models? Desk chairs have actually come a long way, and there are now some attractive models on the market, so hunt around and you should be able to find a seat that’s both comfortable and attractive.
What other things do you think are essential for setting up a home office? Share your ideas in the Comments.