The humble home office has become a staple feature of our homes. Whether you’ve got a designated room solely for study or are using a make-shift office space, ensure that you've got a home office that is as stylish as it is functional. We've put together some of our top tips to ensure that you're getting the most out of your office space - whatever the size - and finished up with some of the best home office ideas we're loving right now!
Choosing the Right Office Desk for You
The most important part of a home office is the desk. But before you decide on just any old desk, there are some key factors to think about. What style are you going for? Do you need extra storage? What exactly is it that you require in a desk? Does it need to be a multipurpose space? These are just a few of the questions to ask yourself when selecting your optimal office desk.
Plenty of Surface Space
This may seem like a simple thought, but it's very easy to forget about if you get too invested in style: your desk needs to be functional and you must have enough space to work effectively. Fortunately, office desks come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit your requirements. If it's only being used occasionally for filing or paperwork, a small writing desk like this one might be your preferred option. However, if you're using your office regularly for home working, you may need more space to spread out documents. Therefore, a larger desk like this one might work better for you.
Don't Eat Into Living Areas
While it's necessary to have an office desk that is big enough, it's equally as important to ensure that it doesn't intrude on living space. If your office is part of another room, make sure you don't choose a desk that is too big. The last thing you want to do is eat into your relaxing home space! If you don't have an empty nook or cloffice to set your desk in, measure up your available space to get the balance of size and setting just right.
Desks with drawers and tabletop filing systems are perfect for small home office spaces that don’t already have storage. Your desk-side storage is going to be extra essential if you don't have room for both a desk and a filing cabinet. You can also make things stylish by thinking outside of the box. Baskets are great for stowing away odd bits and bobs you need regularly.
Selecting the Best Position for Your Desk
The question of where to put a desk in your home is dependent on the size of the space available to you. For many, the office may be part of another living space and so movement will be limited. Meanwhile, others might have a dedicated room for study. Despite this, there are still factors to consider when choosing where to position a desk in a large room.
The Wonders of Natural Light
It’s well known that sunshine and daylight are natural boosters for wellbeing and productivity. Placing your office desk in front of a window will make the most of this natural light. If you don't quite have the space for this, somewhere near to or in the view of a window is the next best alternative. However, ensure you’ve thought about practical considerations like sun glare. You're never going to get anything done effectively if the light reflects onto your screen or into your eyes! So make sure to adjust your desk to a position that suits your space. During winter months and grey days, you may also find that natural light is limited, so don't forget about a desk lamp.
Find a Dedicated Space Away From Living Areas
If possible, place your desk in a dedicated, quiet space, away from your daily out-of-office living area. Not only will this help with productivity but it will also separate work time and leisure time. You'll be able to close the door on the day and fully relax.
Due to the demands of home working - such as sharing office space with other family members, home-schooling and interrupting the usual routine of the dog! - simply designating a quiet space for working is not possible for everyone. We'd recommend finding a quiet (or as quiet as can be) corner to work from. Set strict rules with other family members around the home on not to be disturbed.
Choosing the Right Desk Chair
When it comes to selecting an office chair, it is important to consider both comfort and style. After all, if we’re going to be sat in it for 8+ hours a day, it needs to be supportive, but we’ve also got to like it! However, don’t be fooled – not all desk chairs that are good for your back have to be as plain or as clinical as we’re led to believe.
Surrender to the Swivel!
If you're working from home and have been sitting on just any old chair for the past few months, 2021 is the year to invest in a proper office chair. Swivel seats are highly underrated. Not only does the ability to turn freely provide magnificent manoeuvrability (and some fun for the child in all of us!) but choosing a chair with a swivel mechanism allows a little bit of gentle movement. This means that we can periodically stretch and rotate those hip, back and leg muscles, without having a get up and walk around every few minutes.
A Note on Wheels
While wheels on a desk chair seem like a good idea, there are some cases where they aren't so helpful. For example, if you’ve got a hard floor – great! If you’re on a carpet – not so great. Especially if you've got a carpet with a deep pile. For this reason, it’s definitely worth thinking about whether wheels suit your home office space before you buy a chair. Fortunately, you can get stylish stationary office chairs like this one that won’t be an eyesore in your interior scheme.
Posture & Arm Support
A good office chair supports your posture. Make sure to do your research on how to set your desk chair properly to get the right support for your lower back, shoulders and neck. If it's not quite right - trust us, you'll know about it! A seat with an adjustable height will make sure that the seat slides perfectly beneath your desk, while also ensuring your feet sit flat against the floor. Meanwhile, arms will support your elbows and help you to achieve that comfortable straight-shouldered posture to minimise back pain and aches.
Selecting Your Style
With all the above factors in mind, make sure you don’t underestimate the power of style! Creating a dream office space you love and enjoy working in contributes to happiness and productivity. Plus, if your office desk is simply off to the side of another room of the home, you'll want to ensure that the desk, chair and any storage match and blend into your current interior scheme.
For inspiration, check out our list of best home office ideas below. We’ve put together some of the looks we're loving at the minute from our best-selling designer furniture brands.
The Best Home Office Ideas We're Loving Right Now...
Greige Not Beige
Rethink everything you know about neutrals. Greige has been emerging in the interiors world for some time. And we love the high-end contemporary feel it brings to home office spaces. Blending grey and beige tones, this shade brings a rich depth to modern interiors. Going greige in a complete study room creates a luxe look that's ever so chic. Meanwhile, focussing in on greige tones for an office that's part of a multipurpose space such as a kitchen or living room will provide a distinctive contrast against lighter, neutral colours, separating workspace from living space.
The roots of Pavilion Broadway are deep set in our Cotswold heritage. That's why we can't resist the captivating charm of Cotswold style. This home office look is perfect for contemporary and country interiors alike, blending light and neutral tones with organic woodgrain textures. It's styled here with a light grey fabric desk chair, but would look just as beautiful with a tan leather alternative.
If you're looking for a blend of retro style and contemporary flair then nothing could be more fitting than a mid-century modern home office set up. This style translates the softly curved forms of classic mid-century furniture into functional pieces for everyday living. The end result is an inviting and casual look.
For older properties or those looking for something more traditional, a home office with distinctive neoclassical style might be more appropriate. The delicate forms and sweeping lines of this era are reconstructed in a range of elegant French designs to suit modern day living. Jonathan Charles (pictured) demonstrates how this can be achieved beautifully. This particular set comes in a black shade to show off the intricacy of the floral detailing. It brings a striking contrast to light interiors. With the window shutters open and the sunshine spilling through, we can't imagine a more beautiful setting to work from!
If you're living in the capital or seeking a home office that is reminiscent of highbrow city living, look for office furniture with refined finishes and slender lines. A combination of warming tones and brushed metal finishes creates a cosy, high-end look. Style with white marble accents, beautifully grained veneers and neutral upholstery. You could also select a darker desk for a more impactful finish against other light decor.
For some, the humble bureau might be a thing of the past. However, if you've got space for a bureau then it can be a beautiful and practical addition to your home office. While you may associate a bureau with a tall, antique style furnishing from your Grandma's house, modern day bureaus come in lighter shades to suit contemporary styles of living. It also offers the perfect balance of storage and display, while the fold down surface may provide some essential extra surface space!