When I was researching the various mediums for inspiration for my home office, I was drawn to the very minimalist designs. You know the one’s I’m talking about. The ones that look like they are never used – so perfectly organized and clutter-free. Like the images below. They look beautiful – simple, light-filled spaces that look so inspirational for designing or writing. I was sold.
I found a plan online for my desk, and had my husband build it. It was more the fact that I was about to spend a good amount of money going back to school to complete my Interior Design diploma, so I was “nickel and dime-ing” everything. I found some awesome shelf brackets and had him make the shelves as well. Everything was set up perfectly – my space looked like it belonged in a magazine (note that this is not shown as well here).
But wait? Where was I going to put all my stuff? I needed to have space to take notes, hold my samples, different sketch pad, pencils, markers, camera, etc. So then I bought a cute shelf unit from IKEA – which helped – but the storage was open – so it quickly became an eye-sore. It was hard to look at on a good day. Then I also needed a place for my large printer – I found a small console table around the house for that. With open storage again. I even use the window sill as storage (even though I cringe every time I pull up in the driveway).
This was just the beginning of what I would learn, not only in my classes, but also in real life, on functionality of spaces. And I want to share some of those learning with you, especially if you are planning a new home office. I just did a quick Instagram search of #homeoffice and what I saw was consistent with what I had seen before – very minimalist designs. Again, they are beautiful, and tempting to replicate. But I must stress that these designs should be used as inspiration – take the materials and colours from these spaces but apply them to your functional needs. Which likely include the following…
- An actual office chair! This one is SUPER important. I learned the hard way what improper seating can do. During my 3rd semester, I was spending a lot of time on my computer using AutoCAD and 3DS Max. I loved the look of a chic side chair for my home office, which was nice in pictures. But with spending so much time on my computer, I was using the mouse and keyboard at the wrong angle. I completely messed up my shoulder! In fact, I still don’t have full range of motion each day and it tires very easily. That being said, over the Christmas period I went out and purchased a trendy but affordable, and ADJUSTABLE office chair.
- Closed Storage. You need drawers and doors people. Unless the space is not intended to be used for anything other than writing and researching on a laptop (and even then its a stretch), you will need office supplies like papers, notebooks, pens, post-its, etc. If your a designer you will have even more materials. And if you have kids using the space you will definitely need hidden storage as a lot of their tools are not that nice to display as your Swarsovski pen.
- Desk protector. You have invested in a gorgeous desk – keep it protected! If not, you will see the effects of pen marks, coffee (or wine) rings and spills and more general wear.
- Proper lighting. If you have glare coming off your screen or to bright of lights, or not enough light, you can be forced away from your space with headaches and eye strain. Don’t let this happen. Ensure your screen does not face a light source (i.e. window or lamp), keep the light as diffuse as possible and from over head or from the side.
To give you some more visual guidelines, take a look at these examples below. They have most if not all of the elements mentioned above.
Again, nothing against those minimalist designs. They are definitely beautiful and on trend. Just don’t give up on your actual needs for a good looking space from a magazine. Any chosen photo can be integrated into the appropriate functionality required by a homeowner in any space – not just a home office.
This is where an Interior Designer can come in handy to help you with that. We are also trained in office design and know the principles of ergonomics and how to properly place lighting for maximum efficiency. A designer can help you make the most out of the space you have and ensure you don’t hurt yourself using the space.
I hope this post has been helpful. If you ever need any help planning your home office space, head on over to my contact page to get in touch with me.
Thanks again for reading!