The role of the home office has increased significantly in recent years. We chat to Darren James on what to consider when designing one?
What should you consider when choosing a spot for your home office?
The location of your home office ultimately comes down to what you want to use the office for. If you have it located in a spare room the general rule of thumb is to locate an office at the front of the home. You will see this in most new home designs and there is a reason for it. If you are working from home and have either clients or colleagues coming from time to time it’s important to consider having an office with either its own private access or at least easy access as well as ensuring it’s professionally presented. At the end of the day do you really want your clients to potentially be walking through the kitchen or kids playroom? Another reason the front of the house is popular is that it’s generally away from the hustle and bustle of the households day to day activities. Even if you don’t have clients coming to visit, having a quiet and private space with little or no interruption will be important when it comes to making phone calls and just general high productivity.
If your home office activities are not as formal and you are looking more for a convenient and casual space to just surf the net, pay bills, knock out a to do list, or even supervise homework etc, then consider a location that is more central to the main living area. Office/Study nooks in the kitchen or living room are defiantly growing in popularity.
You will need to consider access of phone lines and data etc, but in this day and age wireless technology will pretty much allow your home office to work just about anywhere in the home.
Any clever ideas for where to squeeze in an office when space is tight?
You can pretty much squeeze in a home office anywhere, in most cases it can take advantage of what may have been an unused space. Literally any corner in the home or even a built in wardrobe can be converted into a office/desk area.
Do you have any suggestions for someone choosing between built-in or freestanding desks? Is there any optimum size, height or position?
If you have a difficult space to work with or looking to maximise and customise storage then built in custom cabinetry is the better option. Your height of your desk should be anywhere between 700 – 750 depending on the persons using it. I would suggest a 1200mm minimum if you require your printer to be on the bench. You will need another 700 – 800mm per person just for bench use. Consider what you will be working on and ensure you have enough space to spread out your potential project.
What tips would you suggest when choosing a chair? Ergonomics versus aesthetics?
Determine whether the chair will be used by you or will it need to be able to be adjusted to suit a variety of people using the space. Determine if it will be used for long or short periods of time. When it comes to ergonomics you want to ensure that your feet a flat on the ground and arms are horizontal with the height of the desk. Ensuring the chair has good posture and lumbar support is also important. A good case of try before you buy.
Any tips for assessing your storage needs?
It’s all about adopting smart storage solutions. A filing cabinet and some sort of shelving system is essential. Make sure you measure the size of the binders / books you want to display to ensure they are going to fit. Baskets, boxes, magazine/document holders are all functional storage solutions and are a great way to inject colour and texture into a space.
Don’t forget to consider storage of your computer and printing equipment. If you are building custom storage for any electronic equipment ensure you consider it’s ventilation requirements in the design.
Any ideas on incorporating lighting?
Good task lighting is a must. Concealed under shelf or cabinet lighting will illuminate your working area completely. Desk lamps are great for more directional light. Try not to have ceiling lights place behind you to avoid the casting of shadows.
Natural light is important but remember to consider the placement of your computer in a room with windows. Placing a computer screen next to a window will create quite a lot of glare
Light and cheery is the key. Consider some greenery in your office to brighten your day and bring the outside in! 🙂
Now all is left is to put your head down and bum up and… get some work done!