By Syntha Harris Interiors
In the last few years, the modern office design has gone through many transformations. Remember cubicles? When they started disappearing, we watched the rise of open floorplans, followed by unconventional and informal spaces filled with bean bag chairs and pool tables, designed to make the workplace more fun.
Given today’s events and the increased need to work remotely, in 2020 we’re seeing the onset of a new trend – the home office. While the idea of a home office is not new, by any means, we’re going through some strange times where a home office is temporarily, or perhaps more permanently, our full-time legitimate office.
As we transition into spending considerably more time at home, many of us want a perfect home office that’ll inspire, energize and motivate us to do the work. For some, your home office is the space for running your business or holding an occasional video-conference call, and for others it’s a designated nook for planning and scheduling kids’ activities or getting your creative juices flowing.
Whatever the purpose is, you deserve a home office that’s sophisticated, beautiful and equally practical, but also the one that reflects your unique style and personality. So, here are a few design tips to consider when setting up your home office that’ll bring you joy and inspiration.
Layer Different Sources of Lighting
Good lighting is key. Common sense? Perhaps. However, our mood and concentration are heavily influenced by light, both natural and artificial.
Great—if your home office is filled with natural light, as it dramatically decreases the risk of eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision. If it’s not, enhance your workspace with enough overhead, ambient and task lighting. Did you know that “cool” light (white bulbs) are actually better than “warm” light (yellow bulbs)? Cool light can help maintain your concentration and clarity of mind, which are so needed at the moment. So, glam up your home office with an eye-catching chandelier, a beautiful task light, or a sleek floor lamp for a sophisticated touch.
Invest in a Great Chair
Don’t underestimate the power of a great, ergonomically-correct and comfortable office chair. We spend hours parked sitting down, adding a lot of strain to our spines. Four out of five adults experience back pain, and one of the most common reasons is bad posture while seated.
If you’re worried about compromising looks for comfort level, don’t. Today’s brands have many attractive options that incorporate function and design, both in terms of materials and finishes. When selecting an office chair, consider seat height adjustment, sufficient width and depth, the forward and backward tilt, lumbar support, adjustable armrests and the swivel.
Decorate to Motivate and Energize
Your home office is all about you. It should inspire and motivate you in order to fuel your productivity. Transform your home office into a place where you actually want to hang out and spend a lot of time.
Feel free to fill it with things that you love, like art and photos, to unleash your own creativity. Enhance your workspace with stimulating colors, as they can have a significant impact on your mood. Blue, for instance, is known to have a calming effect on people, whereas yellow promotes optimism and creativity.
“Your home office should be reflective of you, as well as coordinate with the rest of the home design. Each piece selected for the office should work together in unison to create a space that’s beautiful, personal and stimulating.”
De-clutter Your Workspace
Let’s face it – clutter is distracting, stressful, and hinders creativity more than we care to admit. Interestingly, paper clutter is the number one problem for most businesses. In fact, studies show, that the average person wastes 4.3 hours per week searching for paper. That alone is stressful.
So, when designing your home office, try to incorporate smart storage solutions, floating or built-in shelving, file cabinets and bookcases. And don’t just think horizontally, consider maximizing vertical space and utilizing your walls all the way up to the ceiling.
Consider Practicality and Aesthetic
From a practical standpoint, consider your workflow: what should be within your reach, how much workspace you actually need in order to be creative and productive, and what should be tucked away in drawers and cabinets.
From the aesthetic point of view, don’t give in to temptation to buy a matching set of office furniture to avoid the look of the local commercial retail store. Like the rest of your home’s design, your home office should be a collected look with pieces that coordinate and complement each other, rather than match.
Decorate Your Floors
As any other piece of furniture in your home office, your floors should be as functional as they are beautiful. Area rugs, like wallpaper or wall colors, can have a transformational effect on the look and feel of your workspace. A beautiful rug can anchor a room, define its character and add warmth and texture to your home office.
When choosing a rug, opt for low pile so the chair legs or casters can easily move over it. With hardwood or luxury vinyl, make sure you put something over the wood where your chair will sit to avoid damage to the floors due to constant chair movement. While chair mats are a great option, faux animal hide are more visually pleasing and environmentally friendly.
Add Natural Greenery
Bringing just one plant into your home office can make a difference. In fact, research shows, plants in the workspace increase work productivity, cognitive function and memory retention by as much as 15%. So why not bring a sense of the outside inside?
Dracaenas, for instance, is a great choice of a planter for your desktop, as it’s easy to care for and great for eliminating pollutants.
While design trends come and go, one thing that does not change is the impact that your workspace environment, at home and elsewhere, has on your level of productivity, creativity and overall wellbeing. At the end of the day, your home office is an extension of your home. Aim for continuity in terms of the look and feel with the rest of the house to achieve a truly purposeful, intentional and unified design that is so authentically you.
The visionary and the creative force behind her boutique interior design firm in Northern Virginia, Syntha Harris has been the principal designer at Syntha Harris Interiors since 1996. Before founding her company, Syntha was a runway and print model for European and American fashion houses for over two decades. Surrounded by style icons, Syntha has had the privilege to be a part of the creative process and behind-the-scenes in making fashion. With a trained eye for all things style and meticulous attention to detail, Syntha’s vision sees no boundaries when creating a living space that’s equally beautiful, functional and inviting. For the past 20 years, she’s earned a reputation for her transformational designs informed and inspired by her clients’ needs, desires and aspirations.