Do you have an under-designed home office? That’s not surprising. Many people focus their design efforts on the higher priority rooms in their house. But there are plenty of good reasons to give your office some special treatment, especially if you run a business from home. Learn how to create a room that is practical, inspiring and relaxing by updating your decor, colors, lighting and furniture.
Hang Art and Decor
Hanging art can transform your walls by adding texture and depth. Adding bright hues to your space can help you feel more creative. Adding neutral tones accompanied by an accent color can help you feel more relaxed. It’s always a good idea to pick colorful pieces of art to help add some life and personality to your office space.
Adding a few throw pillows can deepen the texture of the room and highlight accent colors. A throw rug or simple window treatments can also help to pull the room together. Accessories that express your personality are a great way to connect with the space and make it your own.
If art and throw pillows are not your thing, consider using wallpaper to create an accent wall or adding a new coat of paint to your walls. A new coat of paint will not only look cleaner, but it can help provide a fresh take on a familiar (and possibly drab) room. The colors you use can have a large impact on the energy you feel when you’re in your office. Dark colors (maroon, navy, black, brown) can add a sense of sophistication and intimacy. Lighter colors can make rooms feel larger and brighter. They also usually add a sense of energy and excitement.
Change the Lighting
Lighting is an essential aspect in decorating your home office. Aside from making the room feel homier, it enhances the surrounding furnishings. Lighting can also enhance the mood or the character of your space. Dim lighting can create a relaxing setting. Bright lighting can encourage productivity. Here’s how to optimize the lighting in your home office.
Step 1. Create diffused ambient light. Use overhead light for the majority of your lighting. If you have overhead lighting installed in the ceiling, make sure that it is bright enough to light 80% of the room. You also want to make sure that it is diffused. Buy and install a frosted light fixture. This will reduce the overhead light’s glare on work surfaces. If you don’t have overhead lighting, buy standing lamps and place them in the corners of your office. Make sure that the lamps have shades so the lighting is diffused.
Step 2. Choose specific lighting for your tasks. Your home office will have at least one focal point for work. This may be a computer, drawing easel, sewing table, etc. Make sure that you have one designated light source for each focal point. Desk lamps with adjustable, articulate arms are recommended. This way, you can shift the light source as the sun and you change positions.
Step 3. Use natural light. The rays from the sun can provide an energizing light source that’s impossible to mimic with any lamp or lightbulb. Consider placing your workstation in front of North or South facing windows. This can provide natural, ambient light and the sun will never be in your face or glaring over your shoulder and onto your computer screen. If your windows face east or west, then you should definitely consider placing your workstation on a north or south wall. If you are right hand dominant, you may want to place the desk so that the sun is on your left side for most of your work day. This will help reduce the likelihood of your dominant, working hand casting shadows on your work.
Find New Furniture
It is important to feel comfortable in your new space. So if your office chair or desk causes you any pain or discomfort in your back, legs or wrists, look into ergonomic solutions. Ideally, the top of your computer monitor should be level with your eyebrows while you’re sitting down. This will help ensure that you are not tilting your head down or up and straining your neck.
Also, consider a chair with wheels on the bottom. This can help you move closer to and away from your desk and prevent hunching forward. Your feet should be able to rest flat on the floor, and your knees should be bent at 90° angles when you’re sitting in your chair. For safety purposes, make sure the flooring underneath the chair allows for easy movement, for example, a throw rug under your desk may become a bother when your chair keeps getting hung up on the corner every time you move.
Your chair should also have armrests. If you relax your shoulders, the armrests should be at a low level. This way, your forearms can lie flat on the armrests and your shoulders can relax. Your keyboard and desk should be roughly the same height from the ground as the tops of your armrests.
Revamping your office doesn’t have to break the bank. With a little effort, you can boost your home office’s functionality and take it from a tired space to a lively hub that reflects your style. Even if you only spend a few hours a month in your office, you should still consider it as important as any other room. Make sure it has all the furniture and equipment you need, and an anesthetic that suits its purpose.
Whether you have decided to hang a new piece of art or paint the walls a calming blue color, here are four quick guides—and a bunch of tips— to help you: 4 Weekend Home Makeover Project Guides