With remote work more popular than ever, most people have a home office or workspace where they can go to have some quiet and get some work done. Thanks to the covid-19 pandemic, you may have created this space at your dining room table or on your couch out of necessity. Expanding into a real office is a great way to make yourself feel more productive and stop your work life from creeping into your home life and personal time.
Here are some classic home office design ideas you can incorporate into your office space to make it more pleasant to use and help yourself stay productive, even when you work from home.
Use Ergonomics in Your Design
Ergonomics is the basis of many classic home office design ideas, and a necessary consideration if you struggle with back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, or another physical condition caused by your work environment. It is a philosophy of design that centers around the body and promoting health and comfort in the work environment, created in response to the overwhelming discomfort many office workers in past decades felt. The science of ergonomics seeks to make the body as comfortable as possible in the work environment. This can include everything from having your desk at the right height so you don’t have to slump and purchasing an ergonomic chair to placing your computer monitor at the right distance from your seat, so you don’t have to strain your eyes. Over the years, multiple furniture manufacturers have started to create office furnishings that are ergonomically designed and help people feel healthy. Almost every furniture store has ergonomic chairs, desks, and other office furnishings that are ergonomic and take your comfort and health into account. There are also many furniture manufacturers that allow you to customize any item you like, making it the right height or size for you to use comfortably on a daily basis.
Make It Energy Efficient
If you’re going to add on to your home to make a home office or use a shed or outbuilding for the office space, it may not hold the temperature as well as the original parts of the home do, leaving you feeling uncomfortably hot or cold as you try to work. There are a few classic home office design ideas you can use to combat the temperature changing inside because of outdoor weather conditions, including using energy efficient windows that can seal the temperature inside. You can put black-out shades on the windows to stop the heat from the sunlight coming in, which will also help keep the temperature stable. This helps reduce heating and cooling costs and stops your utility bills from growing higher as you work from home. If you find the temperature still doesn’t stay stable in the office, you can have an ac installation company come in and see if it is possible to make the home ac system extend to this new construction, if custom av systems can be used, or if a small window unit should be installed instead.
Set The Mood With Color
Classic home office design ideas center around neutral, soothing tones for the wall surface and furnishings, like beige, off-white, buttercup yellow, and sage green, but that doesn’t mean you have to stick with those tones in your home office. The great part about setting up a home office is that the design choices are all yours to make. Any color that inspires you to feel energized and creative can be the right color for your office walls, even if it is bright and bold. If you’re worried that the color you want is too intense for the entire place, you can just apply it to one wall to make an accent wall that catches the eye and brightens the whole room. Then you can use this color for inspiration in the artwork and textiles you choose to put around the room, making it feel cohesive and planned rather than chaotic. If you are able to hire a professional painter, all you have to do is select the right shade of paint and have them apply it for you instead of doing it yourself.
Reduce The Dust Level
When you’re thinking of classic home office design ideas, you may not think about efforts to reduce the amount of dust in your office, but it’s a great way to keep your office cleaner in the long run. The last thing you need is to create another space that requires lots of cleaning in your home, so preventing mess, dust, and clutter in your home office space is worth the effort it takes. Keeping the dust down in your office helps it stay cleaner for longer and reduces the need for you to clean constantly, plus it helps you make a better impression on visitors. You don’t want to invite potential clients or business partners over and have them see a layer of dust on your desk or bookshelves. Allergens are another concern as they can get trapped on the fabrics in your office and make their way into the air. Things like dust, dirt, pet dander, and germs are all easily infused into the air you breathe, so you need to clean the air regularly in order to keep it as healthy as possible. Instead, you can reduce the presence of dust and allergens by switching from carpet to hardwood flooring or having regular rug cleaning done to cut down on the presence of allergens.
Let There Be Light
The way light comes in and the way you incorporate light fixtures will make a big difference in how you feel in the space. Light levels are vital in any classic home office design ideas not only to set the mood but also to help you stay productive and highlight the décor of your office. If you have plenty of natural light during the daytime, you’ll still need to increase the light level for working in the evening or nighttime. Soft light instead of fluorescent can prevent eye strain and keep you from getting headaches or straining your eyes. If you have a built-in light fixture, supplement it with lamps at different heights that you can turn on when needed to add to the ambiance of the room. Or if you prefer a more modern look, use a strip of LED lights under your desk or cabinet. This adds ambiance and extra light without taking up space on your desk or another surface in the office.
Keep it Organized and Clean
One of the biggest problems that homeowners have when setting up an office at home is the lack of overall space, which is why many classic home office design ideas address this issue. You might have to get creative with the room you have available in order to make it work. If your office space is small, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose track of where things are or have clutter take over the space. The best way to combat this is to start organized and keep things that way by choosing a place where everything can be stored. Put ample drawers and cabinets to store paperwork, equipment, and other necessities so piles don’t form on the surfaces around the office. Then, when you use things, you simply put them back where they belong so that the space stays organized. Another way to keep paperwork from piling up is to scan everything you need to keep a record of and file it away digitally. Once you have a copy of everything uploaded to the cloud, you can shred the paper copies or have them recycled to cut down on paper waste. If you do this once every few days or weekly, the sheer amount of paperwork and filing you have on hand will go down drastically over time.
Use Your Vertical Space
If you have limited space available to make your office, take advantage of every inch of it and consider creative ways to make otherwise useless space serve a function for you. Take inspiration from big-city dwellers and urban remote workers, who find ways to create a workspace in even the smallest space by looking for unique ways to use wall space. You can use your wall surface to put up shelves for storage, add a cabinet or two where things you only use occasionally can go, or paint the walls with chalkboard paint so you can write on them and erase those notes when you are done with them. You can even use a pull-down desk that folds up into the wall surface when you don’t need to use it or attach your computer monitor to the wall like a television, so it doesn’t take up the limited surface space on your small desk. These different ways of structuring key parts of the office make it easier to have a workspace within a limited space.
Incorporate Ways to Keep Moving
If you’re going to be logging hours at your desk working, keep in mind how important physical activity is for the body and mind. Experts recommend that you get up and move around at least once an hour for ten minutes to stop health problems that come up when you sit all day. Instead of using a chair every day, try swapping it out for an exercise ball one day a week. This will help build the muscles in your back and torso and keep you from having posture problems. You can also incorporate small sitting exercises into your day, so that even when you sit in an office chair all day you are combatting the physical pains that accumulate over eight hours. Try using a resistance band to do arm and shoulder exercises while sitting, or simple calf raises to keep your legs nimble. There are small pedaling devices, similar to a stationary bike, that can be placed right under your desk and you can use them at intervals while you work.
Make Visitors Feel Welcome
Once your office is up and running, you may want to meet with others to expand your business and discuss new opportunities. Instead of having to go to a coffee shop or pay to use a meeting space every time you want to hold a meeting, or holding yet another gathering over Zoom, it might be worthwhile to make space for visitors in your home office. If you have clients or potential partners coming in to meet with you, create a small seating area where they can feel comfortable as they visit. This should include a table where they can put presentation materials or personal items, light to help them present, and enough space to sit. If you can’t fit a couch or armchairs into the office space, consider smaller seating options like stools, ottomans, or beanbag chairs. While they may be unconventional and fall outside the realm of classic home office design ideas, they can lend a comfortable, casual, and hip feeling to the space.
Mix Up Your Working Habits
Once you’ve created your home office space, you may feel obligated to use it every day. But everyone needs a change of pace sometimes to stay productive and keep their creative energy flowing. Even once you have a comfortable home office set up that is based in classic home office design ideas, you still may want to spend the occasional work day at your office, in the local library, outside at a park, or in a coworking space. These occasional changes of environment will help keep you feeling excited about working from home and save you from getting bored as you work in your home office.
These classic home office design ideas are just a starting point for you to take inspiration from as you make this space your own. Taking from these ideas as well as your own creative vision, you can make something that is traditional without being stuffy or boring. With your office space finished to your specifications, you can feel comfortable and be productive.