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Colin & Justin show how to smarten up the home office for less
How many of us have ‘work stations’ resting on the dining table, in a corner of the kitchen or lurking, uncomfortably, in the living room? With many homes built before the advent of the home computer, the task facing home users is to incorporate 21st century requirements whilst creating spaces that are organised and user friendly.
Dedicated spaces work best, so if you have an empty corner – perhaps part of your basement, attic or even a hallway – that could work well as a study, then go on: liberate that formerly overlooked nook and inject some (home office) life…
Problem Solving Storage
Rooms need storage: fact. And seldom was this mantra more relevant than when dealing with the home office. Work spaces, by their very nature, should be orderly and efficient, so provide enough storage to ensure paperwork is close to hand, archive older items and establish practices that deal with necessary clutter as and when required.
No one wants to sit facing home work all night, so keep your office hidden when not in use by either housing it in a purpose built cabinet with doors, or by masking it from view with a discreet floor screen or a large house plant. If you have the proportions, consider turning an entire spare room into your very own executive oasis – as we did with this previously unused loft space. Quite the transformation, huh?
Colour me happy
Offices don’t have to be grey – adding colour will make yours a happier space, and of course happier workers are way more productive. Right? We added splashes of green (not via paint or wallpaper as we might normally do) but via furniture, storage boxes and wall art. It’s best to avoid the anonymous ‘cubicle in an open plan office’ vibe, so layer in framed family photos, interesting artwork and cute accessories to give the space a personal, homey atmosphere.
Optimise floor space
Anything you can do to get paperwork off the floor can only be a good thing in terms of making your office feel larger and better organized. Wall mounted shelves are perfect for this as you decide where you want them and how many you need. And don’t think they have to be in line or at the same level – do as we did and stagger height to add interest.
Specifying a good desk lamp (either with a dimmer switch or plugged onto a dimmer attachment) proffers flexibility so that light can be controlled without flooding the room from above. Lighting desks independently of other zones creates a warm glow that feels homely rather than institutional. Try Canadian Lighting Experts (www.canadalightingexperts.com) for a fine mix of solutions.
How many ‘at home’ workers do so perched on a kitchen stool or fidgeting around on an uncomfortable chair? Adding a dedicated chair provides greater support – and looks more professional – so it’s well worth considering. Staples (www.staples.ca) have great options that skillfully blend form and function, so next time your in buying thumb tacks, pencils or an ink cartridge, check out their furniture department too: as a brand, they’ve come a long way as far as the style quotient is concerned.
Attic rooms can be a little dark, so brighten (from the floor up) by specifying light carpet, or painting floorboards. Having done this, we added board and batten wall paneling from Home Depot: painted white, the walls and floor blend to create a sense of infinity that further enhances the spacious feel. Always remember that the easiest – and most affordable – way to titillate is with a lick of paint: the Premier range at Canadian Tire assures easy application and coverage at an affordable price, so you wont break the bank.
It’s fair to say a well equipped office will be a game changer for anyone who wants to run a business from home, or for those who simply want to keep abreast of paperwork whilst keeping good domestic order.
As a final step, add plants to freshen the air, a sound system to chill out to (when you need a break) and a reliable coffee maker so you don’t have to dash to the kitchen whenever you fancy a cuppa. Master today’s counsel and your workspace will soon become a place to which you’ll happily gravitate. And here’s the best bit: no commute! Aye, if you work from home, you need never be late again!