Sep 5th, 2014
So you’re self-employed and working from home. Just like the 2.67 million people in Canada who now work from their homes, you probably don’t have a large budget or a team of designers at your disposal to set up a research-backed, state-of-the-art, no-expense-spared office that implements all of the latest advancements in the science of workplace design. You may not have access to a lot of space, expensive furnishings, or high-end décor either, but that doesn’t mean you should let your home office slide to the bottom of your decorating to-do list, thinking that a standard desk, a swivel chair, and a filing cabinet will allow you to work best.
The good news is, you don’t have to make structural modifications in your home or spend a lot of money to set up a comfortable, functional, and happy workspace at home. With a little ingenuity, you can fit comfortable furniture, personal objects, and a rich blend of textures into a seldom-used space in your house that will actually make you excited about going to work (in your own home), even on a Monday morning!
Here are five ideas to set up a fresh, upbeat office that will limit distractions and encourage productivity.
The space under the stairs often goes to waste. Set up a perfectly functional office under the staircase by adding convenient open shelving, a custom built-in desk or small table, and cabinetry to store books, binders, and hide paper clutter. If you get inspired by images and personal trinkets, consider putting up a corkboard where you can pin a variety of colorful content – the more you surround yourself by inspiring objects, the more you’ll love your new workstation.
Is your closet space a landfill that holds a bunch of old stuff you’ll probably never use again? Give it a major makeover and turn it into an amazing workspace by adding a small desk and an ergonomic chair with casters and adjustable seat that can easily scoot under the desk when not in use. Maximize wall space by adding floor-to-ceiling shelves that provide ample storage and display space and add a decorative curtain for extra privacy.
Got a corner? Use it. Even the most unlikely corners can be transformed into functional work areas with the addition of a few floating shelves, a corner desk, and a comfortable desk chair. If you want to make the office blend effortlessly into the room, make sure to not let the work space stand out – physically or aesthetically. Choose a corner desk – triangular, L-shaped, or wall-mounted – that matches the room color and style schemes and, most importantly, doesn’t encumber traffic flow.
Don’t let space constraints dampen your creativity and work performance. In an effort to make use of every spare inch of their homes, many people have adopted a double-duty mind-set. Just like couches that double as bunk beds or shelves that also function as drawers, your formal dining room table can be converted into a fully-functioning office. Integrate office space into living areas with multipurpose decorating: kitchen or laundry room on one side, workspace on the other. Divide the space to match its purpose, but remember to keep colors and styles consistent.
If you’re one of those people who gets easily bored by a certain setting, or you simply don’t want to commit to a design, you are free to go mobile. Roll out a beautifully functional workspace with a glass-and-steel desk and task chair on casters that can be easily moved around or rolled into another room for a change of décor. Add a small storage console for additional work supplies.
Working from home has its perks – one of the most important is being able to design your own workstation in order to suit your needs and habits. You are free to play with materials, fabrics, and patterns to shape the space and make it your own. Consider your needs in terms of comfort, functionality, and style, and contact a pro to help you define your home office as a professional workspace.
About the Author
Lynne Lemieux, Founder and President of Alliance Interiors, has devoted more than 20 years of experience developing and implementing growth opportunities for some of Canada’s leading office furniture dealers. Her ability to provide clients with inspiring and versatile interior solutions for both business and home office environments has garnered her title of Aboriginal Business Woman of the Year in the city of Toronto for 2012. In her spare time, Lynne takes an active interest in politics, public speaking, and philanthropy, but also enjoys gardening, interior decorating, cooking, yoga, and traveling.