Striking a Balance in the Home Office

Not everyone is lucky enough to work from home, but for those of you who are, you want to make sure that you do it right.

Having the right home office setup is essential not only to your home (a dreary cubicle in your home really ruin the entire house), but also for your work life, since it’s almost impossible to get anything done in an office that’s not functional.

It’s the balance between utility and style that can make the home office such a tricky room to get right. However there are a few things to keep in mind that will make the process a great deal easier.

Lighting is the first and most essential ingredient to a successful home office. It’s essential that the room not only have enough light, but also that the screen can be seen clearly. Avoid setting up a desk in a spot with a lot of glare and you’ll be thanking yourself later.

Size depends greatly on what it is you plan to use the office for. For a standard issue place to work on a computer, you can get away with a lot less space than most people think, sometimes without even having a devoted room at all.

However when it comes to a home studio or collaborative space, you’re going to have to be sure that there is not only enough space in the room, but also enough desk space, and plenty of room to be spreading things out so that you won’t have to de-clutter every few minutes, disrupting your workflow. Try to visualise what your work process will involve before you begin, including materials, number of people, lighting, again, and get a realistic idea of what you will actually need.

Seating is more important than a lot of people think, and one of the hardest areas to strike a balance between style and functionality. While a vintage plush armchair might match the decor perfectly, the seat you pick absolutely must be something you can work from. Nothing too soft, nothing too big, and ideally adjustable. Office chairs are the best way to go in the function department, however they can make you feel a bit like Dilbert if you don’t pick the right one. Timber dining chairs can be a good candidate if you don’t might have to scoot back to reposition, but in the end there is no definitive solution; if you can’t find an office chair that looks good enough for the space, find something firm and possibly made from timber. If that’s too impractical, then keep looking for an office chair.

Ventilation and climate have greater importance here than anywhere except the bedroom. Getting work done in a sauna is not going to be a good time, so make sure that you set up in a room with a window and if possible an AC, or space for a fan.

Atmosphere is probably the most important of all. Put in all the time you need to strike that balance between comfortable and productive. You want a combination of homely without the temptation for leisure, utilitarian but not depressing (if your office doesn’t have at least a little fun then you’ll never want to go there). As Jack Nicholson says in The Shining; “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Strike a balance in your office decor to avoid a similar situation.

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