It's that time of year when we all have to peel off the couch, switch out of holiday mode and get back to work. But going back to the office doesn't have to be a drag - not if your office looks amazing and makes you feel great!
This week we've got some great ideas for how you can spice up your home office and make it feel like a fun and productive place. We've even got tips for setting up kid-friendly areas so that you both can work together without distractions.
As tempting as it is to direct kids to the kitchen table when it comes to homework time, this isn't always the most productive place in the house. And unless you have a child with a lot of motivation (I know I certainly don't!) a desk in the bedroom isn't always going to work out either.
A better approach is to set up a space in the house specifically as an office. If you already have an office that's great, but if not you might want to consider applying room dividers. Splitting up the lounge room into 'work' and 'play' areas can be very effective.
Just because it's an office doesn't mean it has to be boring. In fact a clean, consistent and interesting design approach can make your office that bit more inviting. Check out these great design ideas:
This home office featured in Better Homes & Gardens has a beautiful design along with some great features. There's comfy chairs, a nice long 'work' bench, room for the kids, plenty of tidy storage space and even a window seat where you can chill out and read for a bit. The nice bright, airy feel is still work focused but enables you to relax at the same time. See more photos.
Even if you have a lot of stuff, your home office doesn't have to look cluttered. Here light coloured shelves and a long, continuous desk go a far way towards making sense of what could otherwise be a very messy work area. Remember a big, open desk is far more useful and encouraging than a small hutch style that can become cramped and claustrophic. It's also great for when you have a few people working at the same time. See more ideas from home-designing.com.
Here the wall behind the desk doubles up as a feature (with that beautiful colour) and function (thanks to a bunch of handy clips and nails that let you attach stationary, notes and other odds and ends to it). Check out all the home office ideas from MarthaStewart.com.
Lighting is very important to consider when planning or redesigning a home office. A well lit space is an inviting one, and nowhere needs as much help as it can get being inviting as the office does!
Try and ensure you have natural light flowing through a window as well as lamps available. If you find the light coming in through the window a bit glarey (or what's happening outside a distraction!) consider fitting the window with white, light weight curtains that will help diffuse the light and provide some privacy.
These lightweight curtains can easily be pulled across if necessary or left open to enjoy a relaxing view of the garden.
Here's my quick list of what to avoid when considering your home office design.
Anything shiny. It sounds odd, but you'll find that shiny surfaces can quickly become the bane of your existance in a working space. They reflect light at you, show finger marks easily, distract you and can actually make you tense. So next time you're eyeing off that glass desktop with chrome legs, maybe have a harder think about how much you'd really want to sit at it every day.
Distracting patterns. Your office will (presumably) be full of stuff. So you need to think of it as a blank canvas that things will be added to. If you start with a busy canvas (eg distracting carpet, multi-coloured curtains, patterned drawers, etc) then once you've added your computer, files, notes, stationary and other odds and ends it will suddenly become a very busy (and untidy) space.
Being stuck in a closet. Actually I've seen some very cute closet home office design ideas... but this isn't what I'm talking about. I'm talking about falling into the 'fit an office in the smallest space possible' trap that seems to happen to so many of us. If your office is at the end of a hall or under the stairs, you'll rapidly find yourself working somewhere else. If you must work in a small space then try to keep your furnishings as simple, neutral and pale-coloured as possible and ensure you've got plenty of light available.
The dark. It even sounds ominous! When you're designing your office space make sure you've got plenty of light. A window, lamps - even think of using bright, matte colours that help diffuse light. Try and avoid having dark and shadowy areas.
You want a home office that is both welcoming and functional. If you're experiencing mental blocks, procrastination or just a general gloom then take a good look at where you're trying to work. Is it dark? Are there wires all over the place? Is it hard to keep tidy? Are you constantly running out of space to work?
Give your home office a makeover and you'll find your work life having a makeover as well. If you have an inspiring, relaxing and organised work place then I'm sure you'll find your work reflecting that.