It may not be a given, but typically home offices are not the most spacious rooms in your home. Often it is a small room near the front door, or a shared space with a guest bedroom, living room and even the kitchen. With proper planning, any of the spaces can work to accommodate your home office.
First, we need to think about the role the office plays in our world. Are you working from home? Running a business? Or is the purpose to provide a place where you can conduct your household business, personal communications, and research?
The more complex the operations conducted in the space, the more space and planning is needed. An example for purposes of this article can be someone who spends up to two hours a day in the home office at a minimum. The office location depends on the level of distraction a person is willing to put up with and/or privacy, if needed. Let’s look at some of the things to consider when planning your home office.
Furniture selection is high on the list. If you have a large, private room your desk, credenza, filing cabinets and possibly a small library might be the items to choose. If the room is large, then the big desk and credenza might be the way to go.
If your space is like mine, small, then you might consider a more minimalist approach. A simple desktop with small side cabinet may work.
Other considerations should be natural light. Of course artificial and task lighting will be needed, but natural light not only warms the space, but it is more conducive to your productivity by making the space comfortable to be in. There is no question that a sunny day can brighten your mood.
The natural light coming through the windows also affords you with a view outside. Whether a long view, (mountains in the distance), or a short view, (a small garden space), the connection we as humans have with the outdoors can lift our spirits and help us focus.
Decorating the office or office space shared with another space is important. The paint color you choose for the walls and ceiling needs to be one you personally enjoy. Don’t settle here. Spend time looking at a color swatch big enough for you to visualize the color’s impact on you and the space. Artwork can be as important as a view. I have a painting depicting a sunrise behind an old tree on the plains of Africa. This works for me in both mornings, the promise of a new day, and the evening. Did I own the day and if not, the promise of a new day again. Your task light not only provides illumination on your work surface, its style should say something about you. Other decorations can vary from family pictures, to collected items that depict a great memory. Don’t skimp here. Really go to town.
One aspect of the home office that I recently read about is smells. Yes, kind of like aroma therapy but less for curing what ails you, more for increasing your comfort level in the space. I personally like the smell of pine trees. To that end I keep a couple of pinecones on my desk. Occasionally, between thoughts or on a quick break for the task I am focused on, I will take in their fragrance, smile, and refocus.
So there are some of the considerations you may want to ponder for your home office. However you approach this, give it some thought and make it yours.