The key elements of an organised and efficient home office, workspace or study nook. Thanks to technology like cloud-based software, higher speed internet, video conferencing, laptops and mobiles, many people can now be at the office without being at the office. Around two in three Australians spend part of their working week at home, getting the job done remotely and avoiding the trials of a daily commute to the office. According to government figures, Australia also has many home-based businesses, with nearly a million people operating from their houses or apartments.
Now, with the coronavirus pandemic seeing more Aussies working from home, having a space you want to work from is more important than ever. So whether you’ve got a dedicated office or you’re setting up at the kitchen bench, here are our top tips for creating a home office that works for you.
Essentials Of An Efficient Home Office
Find The Right Space.
If you can, set up your office in a dedicated room – not in the corner of your lounge or bedroom. Organise a space that you associate with work to switch into work mode when you enter that room and avoid distractions. Then you can also shut the door and leave work behind at the end of the day. If you can’t have a separate room, look for a nook or corner of your home that isn’t too busy once everyone arrives home from work or school. No spare room? No problem!
When planning your workspace, keep in mind that you don’t have to have an entire room in your home dedicated to being a home office. If your work requires a desk and a computer, there may be many other spots in your house that will work just fine. You can create the same beautiful home office design you choose in any nook and cranny of your home, such as a corner of the living room, a nook under the stairs, an unused hallway space or even at a specific corner of the dining table.
FAQs About The Ideal Home Office Design
- If you don’t have an actual desk, make one.
- Use a monitor stand on your desk.
- Make use of small shelves.
- Use mugs, cups, vases and even tin cans.
- Use pegs to hang things up.
- Have good lighting.
- Get creative with storage.
- Add a natural element.
The best office design layouts create a sense of collaboration and creativity by designing in large, open-plan spaces. No one likes to be left out in the cold, and this kind of space encourages cosy interaction. In addition, desks placed side by side creates no physical barriers for workplace communication.
An ideal work environment should train and motivate employees to live a balanced life. For example, employees may be willing to work extra hours every day to earn a promotion or salary increment. However, the managers and supervisors are responsible for training employees on the benefits of work-life balance.
Inspiring Home Office Ideas
- Talk about inspiring! This colourful home office would make working from home an absolute joy. A simple Ikea desk and leather chair from Barnaby Lane are practical and stylish, but the real stars are the custom oak shelving filled with woven baskets and assorted PET lamps from Safari Living.
- The study nook also functions as an extra space for storage and object display in this coastal holiday home.
- Elegant cabinetry, beautiful wallpaper and a new outlook complete a refreshing update in this Melbourne home office.
- Seamus Dinnigan was looking for an apartment when he fell for this freestanding Georgian house in Sydney. The stylish and airy home office features lofted ceilings and timber floors.
- With a strong and glamorous ‘forever’ home the goal, this couple played the long game and is now enjoying the spoils. The natural materials in the home office are soothing and ideal for a work zone.
- Ray Demkiw of Schulberg Demskiw Architects created a light-filled and spacious study space in this Melbourne home.
- Flush with floral references, the Sydney home of florist Sean Cook is as colourful and expressive as his artful botanical installations. The home office is a cool and quiet place to work.
- The desk’s thickness in this modernist red brick home conceals drawers, and tall cabinetry to the side allows for extra household storage. The cork feature wall adds dynamic depth to this home office and allows for the pinning of notes and papers when needed.
- This re-configured Victorian-era home boasts a delicate, slightly feminine study courtesy of architect Jeremy Bull of Alexander & Co.
- Natural light pours into this chic study, painted in Dulux Whisper White. A custom-made bookshelf designed by FMD Architects provides a display case for the owner’s collectables.
- Traditional cabinetry and Louis XV-style chairs are juxtaposed with a modern smoked-glass desk and Missoni Home textiles in the grand office of a Sydney sandstone home.
- An interior-designer couple embarked on a six-month renovation of their charming 1950s beach shack on the Mornington Peninsula. Part of that renovation saw them create a stylish and spacious home with a light yet cosy aesthetic.
- A white colour palette ensures the home study in this Federation home fits seamlessly into the surroundings. Above the desk is an aircon unit cleverly hidden by louvres.
- A cool, contemporary aesthetic prevails in the office of this bold 19th century home revamped by Christopher Elliott Design.
- Some of the pivoting panels between the study and bedroom of this award-winning eco-home are painted with chalkboard paint (Porter’s Chalkboard Paint in Sea Monster), so the owner can explore his creative side.
- In this serene beach house, the architect created an extension of the panelled black wardrobe in one of the bedrooms, which functions as a makeshift home office when needed. By echoing the paint colour and panelled look of the wardrobe, the study nook works seamlessly with the rest of the room.
- The modern boho home office of one of Australia’s most well-known wellness stars, Ellie Bullen (Elsa’s Wholesome Life), features a Justina Blakeney mirror and two Cacti Society prints by Nikki Joiner. A Langdon Ltd rug provides warmth underfoot.
- Custom joinery doesn’t have to break the bank, and when it comes to creating a home office, it can be well worth it. Built-in shelves are a simple solution that doesn’t require too much space to store office books and knick-knacks, and they also function as simple display spaces. The ample width of the desk in this stunning Byron Bay home provides enough space for two people to share the home office at any given time.
- The pretty home office of this renovated Sydney apartment is filled with an elegant array of artworks and ceramic sculptures that inspire the homeowners’ work.
- The original bay windows with leadlight glass add a timeless element and ample light to the study area in this Melbourne home that Simone Haag and Angela Harry have revamped.
Sort Your Storage
When it comes to beautiful home office design, it’s important to figure out how much storage space you’ll need before you start to plan your space. For example, think about how much desk space you’ll need for a laptop, monitor, mousepad, paperwork, and ornaments, and also consider where bulkier items like your printer, scanner, and files may go.
Thankfully there are plenty of sleek and stylish storage solutions available today, and you’ll be able to find one that matches perfectly with your chosen home office design. For example, floating shelves are a fantastic way to store files and textbooks, and under-desk storage compartments are great for hiding away the bits and pieces you’ll need access to quickly throughout the day.
You may even like to go all out and get the look of custom cabinets using flat packs. Frame with skirting boards and crown moulding at bottom and top, add custom handles and wallpaper on the back wall. You can take your storage design to the next level.
Start With The Basics When Buying Furniture.
You don’t necessarily need a big desk – there can be a lot of unused space on a big desk, or it becomes a dumping ground for your mail and things that you will file… eventually. However, a standing desk that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing while you work is ideal. According to the Heart Foundation, if you have a standing desk, you will spend around an hour less sitting down. Why does that matter? A growing body of evidence links prolonged sitting to greater risk of health issues like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and stroke.
The right furniture can make your home office design to the next level and allow you to dive into the particular style that makes you feel great while you’re working. For example, you might love a dark and oaky feel for your home office space, or you may prefer lighter colours like timber and white-washed drawers for your files and stationery. You can get creative with floating desks and shelves or add pops of colour with gorgeous art that makes your heart (and brain) sing.
Depending on how much space you’ve got, you could also add a ‘thinking nook’ consisting of a cosy armchair in a bright colour or have a corner desk custom-made to suit your space. The options are limitless. From a practical point of view, the best things to invest in are a high-quality ergonomic chair that’s going to support your spine and encourage you to maintain good posture throughout the day. In addition to this, make sure your desk is at least 600mm in depth, so your computer screen isn’t sitting too close to your face and straining your eyes.
Your Office Chair Should Be Ergonomically Designed To Reduce The Risk Of Back Injuries.
Choose one that allows you to adjust the angle and height of the backrest, the seating position or tilt, and the armrests. Many office furniture suppliers advertise chairs suitable for casual, moderate or all-day use.
Let There Be Light
Natural light is great, but a desk lamp is useful outside daylight hours or for focused tasks like writing and reading. Choose a clear, bright light lamp, such as an LED lamp. Look for LEDs with a high colour rendering index of 85 to 100 – this defines how realistic colours look beneath the light. Choose a lamp with a focused beam, and it should be adjustable so you can direct the beam to where you need it.
For a home office design that’s best for your health, you’ll want to make sure you avoid excessive glare from the blue light of your computer. Staring at a screen for hours in a dark space that doesn’t get much light can damage our eyes and disrupt our Circadian rhythms, making it difficult to get to sleep (and stay asleep).
Make sure you let as much natural light as possible into your home office or choose a place in your home to set up your workspace that gets a lot of natural light during the day.
If you’re working late, choose a soft lighting scheme of independent lamps and desk lamps with warm lighting to ensure it’s easy to ‘switch off’ when you’re done. There are also many apps you can install on your devices that limit the blue light refraction from your screen and help your eyes relax when the day gets later. If the only space you have available for your home office doesn’t get a lot of natural light, consider LED lighting, which can help you concentrate.
Choose Clever Storage
A filing cabinet will keep important paperwork organised and in one place. Keep your desktop clutter-free with storage trays or racks so everything has its place and you can prioritise what needs to be dealt with first. Harvard Business Review research has found that if you work in an uncluttered space, you can stay focused for around 50 per cent longer. Decorate your home office in colours that evoke a sense of calm
Colour psychologists say soft blues encourage clear thinking, while green suggests harmony and balance because of its links to nature. All white is clean but clinical – try it combined with darker blues or greens. It’s easy to have every day feel like Groundhog Day when working from home, but having a beautiful home office design is one way to inspire, motivate and empower yourself to perform your best at work.
There are many quick and easy updates you can make to your existing home office design, or, if you’re starting from scratch, your furniture, colour, lighting and positioning choices will have a really big impact on the feel of your space. So get creative and create a home office space that inspires you. For example, suppose you’re looking to do a total makeover of your home office space. In that case, skirting boards, architraves, wall panelling, and wainscoting is an ideal addition for creating a space that feels refined, well put-together and a little luxurious.
Wainscoting, Skirting Boards And Wallpapers
Wainscoting is a fantastic way to easily add a sense of elegance to your home office design, as well as segment it from the rest of your home. Wainscoting is created using several different timber products and has a myriad of style options available, including raised, shadowbox and beaded style wainscoting. Office wainscoting can enhance your space dramatically and bring your office interior design together, lending perfectly to modern spaces as well as traditional Edwardian, Georgian or French styles.
Timber mouldings are another great method for adding a sense of interest and luxury to your home office design. They’re the perfect way to add a touch of class to your home office design that will have you feeling ready to sit down and get to business each morning. For offices, timber mouldings profiles can include decorative skirting boards, curved architraves, cornice mouldings, timber wall panelling or VJ boards (for a stunning Hamptons look) or Dado rails (also known as chair rails). Tall, angular skirting boards are also a great option for creative art deco home office designs if that’s your preferred style.
Finding The Perfect Colour Scheme
Having the right colour palette in your office interior design will help to separate the space from the rest of your home and provide a subtle barrier between your work and home life. The possibilities are endless when it comes to colour, so check out these beautiful home office designs we’ve worked on to get inspired:
- Roxy Jacenko’s Monochrome Mansion
- Baby blue and timber in the Carrington House Renovation
- The sweet and pink Three Birds Office HQ renovation
- This gorgeous Parisian Chic home with neutral accents
- Patterns and textures in this New Hamptons style home
- Deep-toned wood accents in a luxury Harbourside Retreat
One of the most popular home office design trends is to have a neutral space of a ‘blank canvas’ style and then make it interesting and inspiring with pops of colour in a scheme you love. For example, you could have predominately white space with a deep-oak desk and a colourful piece of art or a colourful feature wall to complement neutral furniture and accessories.
Connecting To Nature While You’re At Work
Our bodies are designed to benefit from being exposed to nature every day, and we all know there’s a myriad of benefits to getting outside and ensuring you get your daily dose of vitamin D. Of course, this isn’t always possible when most of us are at our desks every day. Still, there are many ways you can bring nature into your beautiful home office design.
Indoor plants have taken off in the last few years, and bringing greenery into your home office can add a fresh, homely feel to the space. Some indoor plants we love are:
- Devil’s Ivy
- Peace Lilies
- Fiddle Leaf Figs
- Giant Monsters
- Succulents like Cacti
- Aloe Vera
Take a trip to your local nursery and discuss with the staff the type of space you have and how much love, time and attention you’re willing (or able) to give your plant. They’ll be able to recommend the best indoor plant for you and provide recommendations on how to best care for it.
The importance of a well-designed home office can’t be underestimated. With many of us needing to work after hours or opting to work out of the office, a chic home study space is more important than ever.