How to plan the ultimate home office

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  • Back to school? Starting a course? You'll need a decent desk space for gathering your thoughts and storing your assignments. Here's what to think about...

    Whether you’re back to school, returning to work after the holidays, moving to at-home working or simply signing up for a life-changing evening class, the room in the house that demands attention right now is the home office. Sadly, not everyone has a back bedroom they give over to a desk and built-in library shelving. But the good news for those short on space is the advent of WiFi and tablets mean it’s now possible to connect to the outside world from anywhere in the house. If you run your own business, are freelance or simply need somewhere to keep on top of personal admin, a dedicated office space will make any work-related task that little bit more bearable.


    1. Space can be found anywhere

    A redundant space on a landing, under the stairs or in a chimney alcove can be configured to accommodate a desk if you only use it for short periods at a time. Alternatively, stash office essentials in a purpose built area, complete with a desk and integrated task lighting. Then at the end of the day it can be shut away out of sight.

    If you work from home, however, devoting an entire space to the cause is a sensible plan as a cramped work area can be counter-productive. Consider converting a spare bedroom or even the attic, both of which are far enough from the hub of the house to be a peaceful working environment.


    Good lighting is essential
    Poor lighting can cause eye-strain, and if the ambience in the room is flat, it can make you less productive. Lots of natural light is your holy grail, preferably from windows rather than skylights.

    A task light such as an Anglepoise is invaluable, too, particularly if you’re putting in an evening shift.


    Invest in a good chair

    Tempting as it sounds, dragging something from the dining room, or a stool in from the kitchen is a false economy. If you’re working for any length of time, you need an office chair that’s been designed specifically to support your back properly. Try
    Vitra for a design classic or if you’re on a budget, Ikea has a good range of affordable options.

    4. Rethink furniture options
    While an office chair is essential, you don’t have to only use filing cabinets and office supplies.

    Salvage shelving units and industrial cabinetry give a more homely atmosphere, while being just as practical for storing all your home office essentials.


    Shelves are your friends
    Think about the things that you need to store and choose shelves that can be moved and reconfigured if need be. Wall-mounted shelves are ideal, as they increase the feeling of space and are less obtrusive than floor standing bookcases.

    6. Add some colour
    A shot of colour energises and also helps personalise your space (given most regular offices tend to be one-size-fits-all white). If you’re creative, strong blues help to get the juices running.

    If on the other hand, you need somewhere more relaxing for craft projects, choose a more subdued palette.

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