Whether the space is dedicated to domestic admin, hobbies or your job, setting up a comfortable, practical working area is one of the best investments you can make whatever the size of your home
Painted in on-trend grey, a simple desk with an armchair in rich gold velvet looks elegant in the corner of a living room. Source a vintage desk from a junk shop or car-boot fair – nicks and coffee-cup rings won’t matter – then give it a coat of furniture paint. Annie Sloan’s decorative Chalk Paint comes in lovely country colours, and she also stocks a clear wax to protect the finish. Or source an upcycled, ready-painted desk from a specialist company such as Ruby Rhino.
Under the stairs
With careful planning, the angular space under a staircase can become a tidy, flexible home-office area,’ says Julia Kendell, Interior Designer and Brand Ambassador for Hammonds. Ensure adequate head room above the chair, and maximise storage by fitting full-height cupboards in the taller space. Good lighting from angled spots, or wall lights makes all the difference.
Instead of trying to hide a desk in a corner, make it an important feature of the space. In contrast to the smooth grey-painted paneling here, a solid pine desk with distressed finish is ideal for creating a rustic effect. As well as deep drawers, open shelves beneath the desk top mean books and files are within easy reach and not an inch of corner space is wasted.
When planning furniture for a sewing room or similar craft area, think outside the box, as a desk is only one solution.
‘It is really important to take a step back, feel the space and its size and think practically about what you need in the room,’ says Josephine Bennett, Head of Design, Home, Laura Ashley. ‘Decide how you want to use the piece – a console table that doubles up as a desk could be just right for you’.
Extend your workspace by placing a desk in front of built-in shelving for both extra storage and clear surface space.
Sitting comfortably is also a must. ‘A good chair should be supportive of your body, allowing for easy movement,’ says Janet Hinton, Assistant Buyer, Home Office, John Lewis. ‘The longer you’re using the chair daily, the more features you should consider, such as lumbar support, seat height and tilt adjustments.
If more than one person will be using the chair, look for one that has dynamic adjustment and integrated lumbar support.’
Leaning lightly against the wall and secured by fixings through a pigeonhole section, a mango wood ladder-style desk saves space and looks great. ‘It instantly creates an unfussy home office,’ says Jamie Graham, Creative Director, Graham and Green. ‘The simple styling and natural materials are ideal for creating a casual country look that’s both functional and beautiful.’
Your home-working environment should offer the same level of elegance, comfort and practicality as the rest of the house,’
says John Sims-Hilditch, Founder, Neptune. ‘A great way to ensure functionality and style is to team a sleek, contemporary glass-topped desk with a cupboard-style workstation. That way you can tidy your computer and paperwork behind closed doors – perfect if your home office is part of another room.’
To ‘own’ your workspace in the true sense, ensure all the items you need are stored within arm’s reach. ‘This desk has traditional good looks and generous space to work,’ says Anna Trinder, Director, The Dormy House. ‘There’s plenty of storage in pedestals either side, which offer space for hanging files behind disguised double-depth drawers. To personalise your office, hang a noticeboard above the desk, made up in a fabric from our collection or one you’ve supplied.’