When it comes down to it, we all work from home. Whether it is the place where you earn a living or where you keep your life in order, you need space for the computer, paperwork and a few paper clips. Otherwise it is a constant game of Where did that bill go? Egypt Please do not play with my computer! A clearly defined workspace not only creates an area for all the stuff, but it also creates a private space that gains respect from those around you. From closets, to guest rooms, to an entered dedicated room, here is a simple plan to help you create a beautiful, comfortable and productive atmosphere.
Here you go:
1. Know your needs – Assess what currently works and what does not. Clean out the space and make sure your storage is adequate. Beyond file cabinets, consider baskets, bins and shelving.
2. Develop a floor plan – Do not try to crowd too much furniture in the room and consider pieces that can pull double-duty. Ballard Designs has a cool little Home Office Kit to help you plan your space. Or just get out some graph paper, pencil and ruler and design the space yourself
3. Create the Right Environment – Make it a comfortable and supportive environment for your creativity and concentration. Although I encourage you to go with your gut on color, here are some basic color / mood associations that might give you a boost:
- Blue – calm, orderly, water
- Green – nature, health, renewal
- Orange – balance enthusiasm
- Purple – spirituality, wisdom
- Red – energy, strength
- White – pureness, simplicity
- Yellow – joy, optimism
4. Architectural Elements – If your budget and time allow, then go for the gold with new flooring, molding and lighting. My friend and trusty web developer, Andrew, is redoing his office so I put together these tips with him in mind.
- Flooring: I recommend hard surfaces with wood topping the list. Carpeting can get dusty and I like to keep the area around the computer equipment super clean.
- Molding: Be bold with base and crown moldings. Do not look to the original molding for size. Often they are wimpy and small. If you have 9 foot ceilings then anything up to 9? Each for the crown and the base is fair game. I usually make the base a couple of inches less than the crown. Mixing traditional moldings with modern furniture gives the space a designer touch.
- Lighting: The best lighting for a workspace is a combination of good general lighting (such as recessed lighting) highlighted with some task lighting (lamps).
5. Personalize – Working from home allows you to personalize your space and really make it your own. There are no rules! Highlight the room with your favorite painting or a lamp with a cool shade. Use a cork-board for special mementos or family photos. Just make sure your office ports an air of professionalism if you meet with clients in your home.
It does not take much to turn a simple space into a home office. And the boost to your efficiency and peace of mind will be priceless.