Home office design ideas


Photo by mmagallan

Setting up a home office is a really big deal. You are moving your work life into your home life, so you will need to think about how you want to arrange it so that the two parts of your life are clearly defined and completely separate. If you are so fortunate to have a spare room, the separation will be relatively easy. If you have a smaller home, you may need to simply define the space in a part of a room.

Choosing the room or area to work is the first step.

The room or area you work should have good, natural lighting and ventilation for both you and your equipment. Many home offices perform double duty as a guest room. This space will need to be clearly defined for you to be able to put yourself into a mind-set that you are going to work. A separate room will provide the best way to create that sort of mind-set with a door that can be closed against the activity in the home. If you are creating a space in part of a room due to minimal space in your home, you may want to get a room divider to clearly define your work area for yourself and your family.

Think about the tools you will need for your business.

If you will be using a phone frequently to telecommute from a central office or communicate with your clients, you should consider getting a business phone line. Not only will this prevent the phone from being answered in appropriately by a teenager in the family, it will also allow you to have a line dedicated to your business, which you can have billed separately from your home phone. Keep the amount of equipment to a minimum by purchasing a combination phone/fax. A small desktop printer should be adequate for most home businesses. If you should need to do a larger printing job, you can use a local printing shop for those jobs.

Your computer for work should be treated as a part of your business and should not be used for other purposes or used by other family members. Your clients’ privacy should be carefully respected by assuring that their information will not be shared wantonly on a family computer.

Planning your desk space.

You will be working at your desk for long hours in a day. It should be a comfortable place for you to work. Your office should have plenty of natural light to reduce stress on your eyes. In addition to that natural lighting, you should have a desk lamp that provides good lighting on your work, yet not provide such bright lighting that is a strain on your eyes. Your workspace should be uncluttered so you should locate areas either on your desk top, in drawers, or get file cabinets to file away paper work. A good set-up on a desk should have a place to store pens, paperclips, notepaper, and business cards. You should look into a stacker to sort your work for the day. Perhaps a slot for ‘to do’, one for ‘file’, and one for incoming mail, and one for outgoing mail. In this way you stay organized in your daily tasks.

Create the kind of atmosphere that motivates you.

The colour scheme will create an atmosphere that says ‘work’ to you. Different colours create different moods:

  • Blues: These colours create a feeling of relaxation and peace of mind. If you are a high octane go-getter, is the right colour for you?
  • Greens: Shades of green create a natural atmosphere, evoking thoughts of the world outside your office. If you’re a day-dreamer, this might not be the right colour for you. But, a green desk blotter might remind you of the colour of money.
  • Yellows: It’s no mistake that bright, happy things are associated with yellow, the colour of the sun, is it? Pops, of this colour can brighten your mood on a frustrating day.
  • Reds: Different tones of red evoke different moods. It is an exciting colour that creates strong feelings. Accents in the room can draw the eye when you are brain-storming.
  • Greys: Soft tones such as greys, off-whites, and tans are neutral. To some—boring.
  • Purples: Soft lavender and violet shades of purple are warm and they may help you with concentrating.

Choose your colour palette with care to create the mood you need to stay motivated throughout your work day and that feel inviting to you when it’s time to enter your office and close the door to the home-life on the other side.

Planning your new office


If you have either decided to start your own business or telecommute at home there are some things you need to keep in mind as you begin planning your new office refurbishment. What will you be doing in your office? What equipment do you need to do your job? How will you set it up so that home-life does not interfere with your work-life?

Or perhaps you are preparing to start a business in an office suite with a staff. There are considerations to keep in mind. How many people will be working in your office? How will space be defined for them and for you? How will you design your office to support your business? How will everyone work; together or apart?

Or perhaps you are preparing to start a business in an office suite with a staff. There are considerations to keep in mind. How many people will be working in your office? How will space be defined for them and for you? How will you design your office to support your business? How will everyone work; together or apart? To answer these questions you could employ a specialist in the field.

Home office design.

The first thing you will need to do is discuss with other members of the family your plans. You need to know that they will support your effort. If they can’t get along without interrupting your day, will that really work for you? Once that is taken care of, you will need to choose where to put your office.

In larger homes or apartments you may be able to set up an office in a spare room or convert a guest room that it can serve double duty as a guest room/office. If you elect to create a combination space, you will need to assess the amount and type of equipment you will need to work and how you will be able to allow for a guest from time to time. If you are likely to need a minimum of equipment such as a computer, printer, business-phone/fax you may be able to simply convert a larger closet or move in a hutch style desk to ‘hide’ the office when it is not in use.

However, if you will need more space for filing cabinets, references, drafting tables, and hi-tech equipment, you should probably take over an entire space and really fix it up and define the space as an office. Your technology will require some careful thought as to locating power outlets and making sure the room has enough power for all of it to operate safely. You will have to think about proper ventilation and lighting as well for you and your equipment. A stuffy office will not be inviting for you and your equipment should have good ventilation for optimum operation.

References and files will need to be managed properly. How many file cabinets do you need? How many bookshelves will you need for your references? Your work space should be comfortable as well. If you use computers and other equipment throughout your day, you should plan the lay-out on your desk that allows for easy use and plenty of work space for you to be comfortable. Your chair should provide good back support. If you will be moving about a lot you may want a chair on wheels. Even the smallest things need careful thought, such as lighting. You should have a combination of direct or task lighting as well as overhead or natural lighting from windows.

Larger office design

If you are planning to create a start-up you may want an open office plan so that the team can work together in brain-storming sessions. An open space will allow you to use less equipment: a single printer or fax machine rather than one for each worker. A hub design for the power system will allow you to plug-in the equipment at a central location for the individual computers, cell-phones, and other equipment your workers may need to do their jobs. Having a central hub will reduce the need for several outlets and many tangled cords. You and your team can work together on projects as you create your start-up.

If you are a more established or traditional business, you may want an office for yourself and cubicles or smaller office for your staff. This may be especially beneficial is each of you will be meeting with clients or if each of you need storage space for your duties.

Of course, there are many, many things to think about when planning your office. These are a few ideas for starting points. Keep even the smallest details in mind as you begin to dream of your new office.