Create a space to work at home

For many people a home workspace is no longer a luxury, it's a must. Yet all too often, this hard-working area of the family real estate doesn't benefit from the same thought and attention to detail as other areas. Here are six simple steps to help you create a home workspace you'll adore.

funky work space with a range of accessories from Kikki K
ARTICLE Persephone Nicholas PHOTOGRAPHY Father Rabbit, Gray Puksand, Bless this mess, Kikki.K

For many people a home workspace is no longer a luxury, it’s a must. Yet all too often, this hard-working area of the family real estate doesn’t benefit from the same thought and attention to detail as other areas. If that sounds familiar, here are six simple steps to help you create a home workspace you’ll adore.

Step 1: Write yourself a brief

No matter how modest your intentions, taking the time to prepare a brief saves time in the long run. “This is what designers and architects do. It serves as a guide and template; there are so many ideas out there, a brief will help keep you on track,” advises Jacqueline Port, interior designer with Gray Puksand.
The first stage of your brief is thinking about your needs. For example, how many people will be working in the space? Do you need peace and quiet? How much storage is required? Are you creating a high-tech or low-tech space; which technology will you use and does it need to be housed? Do you need more power or phone points? Do you need room to meet with other people such as clients?
You might also want to think about the mood or atmosphere you’re trying to create. If you’re after a little oasis of calm, choose a neutral palette or perhaps soft blues. For a more energetic or creative vibe, pops of vibrant color will do the job. Stick to one or two color accents to ensure the effect is colorful, not chaotic.

Step 2: Select your spot

Thinking about your needs will help you determine the best place to site your workspace. For example, do you need to be away from the noise of family life or are you hoping to catch up on a bit of paperwork while you watch the kids play? If you just need somewhere to park your laptop and pay a few bills you may find a peaceful nook or suitable corner of your home quite easily, but if your needs are more complex, planning is even more important. For example, would you prefer clients to walk directly in to your office rather than entering via the family home? If so, think about creating a dedicated entrance.
desk with laptop placed in front of window with a view of garden

Step 3: Define your space

If you cannot allocate a whole room to your workspace, consider how to demarcate the area you will use. Walls, desk, shelves, lighting and perhaps a rug can help define the work zone. Chalkboards and pin boards are another great way to identify casual workspaces and keep things off your desk. They can be decorative and a source of inspiration too.
If you’ll be working for more than an occasional hour or two at a time, consider positioning your desk near a window.
study organiser with shelves and desk built into one

Step 4: Create a place for everything

Planning storage space at the outset is important. You may have files, reference books, magazines, office supplies and more to house. Store the things you use most often closest to you. Technology can gobble up space. So plan where your printer will go. Think whether you’re working wirelessly or if you have lots of cables that need to be concealed. Professional organiser, Robyn Arnott of Bless This Mess says wireless technology can be a wise investment: “Consider Wi-Fi compatible technology including printers. This allows you to action your work requirements from any media platform or device. I also recommend housing printers and other equipment away from your desk to ensure you have a clear work space.”
Finally, think vertically. Getting things off your desk and on to walls or shelves, can help create a feeling of calm and order.

Step 5: Determine your budget and stick to it

Defining your budget at the start of any project is a must. It’s also worth estimating how much you can afford to spend on the key elements of the room. For a home office, comfortable, ideally ergonomic, seating is a must and good task lighting, such as an Anglepoise-style lamp, is essential.
Desks can be expensive but there are plenty of cost-effective options too. Consider restoring or recycling from a junkshop or eBay or customizing a basic flat-pack piece from a budget store like Ikea.
Arnott counsels clients to think about sustainability when creating workspaces. She says cabinetmakers may be able to offer bespoke office fittings at reasonable prices: “Compare prices and consider longevity and strength of the items you purchase. Ask yourself if these furniture pieces provide the functionality and ability to grow with your needs. Don’t underestimate the value of a cabinetmaker compared with flat pack items.”
chique home office with white floors and retro floor lamp

Step 6: Make it your own

One of the joys of a home workspace is that you can tailor it to suit your own needs and tastes and include pieces that reflect your personality. Jacqueline Port agrees such spaces should reflect the passions of their inhabitants: “Place items that inspire you in your workspace, whether it’s art, photography, quotes hung on the wall or a book case of your favourite books.”

You might be interested in reading: Design tips for a home office.

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This article featured on page 90 of Issue 008 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page.

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