Whether you need a dedicated space for working from home, running a business or for just organizing your schedule and bills, don’t just settle for a desk and extra chair – you deserve a home office. Creating your own home office space is the least you can do to reward yourself from all your hard work.
A home office could bring you a nice environment to keep yourself productive and stress-free Here are some tips to help in your planning.
1. List the equipment you need
Getting started with setting up a new home office begins with deciding what you need to put in it. Of course, you will need to include items such as a desk, chair, drawers and cabinets, computers, telephones, printers, and so on. The items and equipment you need to pick depends on the job you do. For instance, if you’re a graphic designer, you may need a larger table or workspace, and special spaces for creating your artwork. If you’re a consultant, you may need more space for file cabinets perhaps a small meeting table and good space for webcam meetings. You will also need a reliable Internet connection and any other specialized software, devices, tools that you need for your job or task.
2. Choose a dedicated area
Once you know what you absolutely need, you will have a better idea of how much space you need for an office. More than having enough space to put those items and equipment you need, your home office must also have enough space for you to move comfortably. You also have to choose an area where you could work effectively, so choose a place where you can have privacy. This is important especially if you live with a spouse, kids or a roommate. It’s best to choose a spare room that can be closed with a door, but if it is not possible, you may use dividers to separate your office area from a part of your house. Consider any traffic flow that might distract you. If you have clients or customers that would meet you from time to time, your office area must be big enough to accommodate them. Or perhaps you can hold meetings around the living room or kitchen table if you don’t have enough space.
3. Invest in the right items
Your money should be invested in things that will help you do your job more efficiently and comfortably. Avoid spending too much of your budget for trivial items like decorations, a fancy clock, and a wide plasma screen TV for your “break time.” Instead, spend it for a comfortable office chair that can provide back support, a nice desk with proper workspace, functional and sturdy storage cabinets, computers with efficient performance and memory and a fast Internet connection.
But be smart, though. While it’s great to splurge on a comfy chair, don’t pay for something you won’t really use on a daily basis. For instance, if you need occasional printing, don’t buy that large color printer and just settle for the basics. Also, don’t forget insurance for your purchases and consider a warranty on equipment to save you from expensive repair services or from buying a replacement once you would need it.
4. Observe ergonomics
It’s best to choose ergonomically-designed items, especially if you are going to work in your home office full time for a long time. You must look after your health, safety, and comfort as you work. Pick an ergonomically designed chair that will be good for your back and spine. If you’re going to work on the computer a lot, get yourself some soft keyboard pads and ergonomic mouse to lessen stress on the wrists. Buy some footrests, like an ottoman.
Also, follow ergonomic rules such as adjusting your chair so that your feet will land firmly on the floor or a footrest, keeping the top of the computer screen at eye level, and positioning the keyboard on a position parallel to the floor.
5. Get organized
Most home offices don’t get a luxury of having large spaces so being organized is very important. You don’t want a cramped space with a work table full of papers and other knick-knacks. You may need to get a desk that has plenty of room for storage. Consider adding shelves on the wall to move items off the desk, and vertical file folders on the desk to keep papers within arm’s reach. Get yourself some cabinets, or if you want more transparent storage, get some magazine-type racks, library-style shelves or cube storage. Put your pens in a pencil holder on the top of your desk so you won’t always go looking for a pen.
6. Provide adequate lighting
As much as possible, choose space or room that allows plenty of natural light. If you are going to set up an office in the darkest corner of a room, it might feel like your recreating a boring corporate cubicle in your home. Ideally, it would be great if you can place your desk close to the windows, not only for light to come in but also for you to enjoy a view when you glance up from your computer. However, position your desk in a way that your computer screen won’t be affected.
Of course, there must be a general source of light during the night, or if there is no daylight. You may add task lighting, desk lights or floor lamps if you need concentrated lighting. If your office lets in little or no outside lighting, it’s better to invest in more high-quality lighting, and combine general and task lighting. But remember not to place overhead lighting directly above your computer screen, and don’t put your computer directly in front of lighting to prevent glare and eyestrains.
7. Paint the walls with a color you like
If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in your home office, you must surround yourself with a color your eyes love seeing. Paint your walls with a color that would help make you in the mood to work. Colors really impact your energy level and motivation, so choose wisely. Here are some tips for choosing colors for your wall:
- Cool colors like greens and blues elicit feelings of relaxation and peace. Green can evoke restful and relaxing emotions, and it can improve concentration. Blue also does that, but some hues might give a sleepy feel for people, so it’s better to use with another accent color.
- White works best for offices that receive little natural light because it exudes some illumination itself. If you want to keep your office bright and clear, paint in white.
- Purple stimulates the imagination. Depending on the hue, purple can be warm or cool and is capable to elicit focus and concentration.
- Red creates a vibrant and exciting aura, but use it as an accent or secondary color only.
- Yellow is an eye-catching color. It evokes feelings of optimism and happiness. But avoid bright yellow hues – it could be distracting and annoying in the long run, plus it may even cause a bit of anxiety.
- Neutral colors like gray, ivory, tan and beige can be flexible and comfortable since they are not distracting. You may add some vitality by putting accent colors or decorations on the wall.
But these are only guidelines based on the psychology of colors. The most suitable colors that would work best for you would still be those which you are most comfortable of.
8. Hide unsightly cords
A home office would look a lot less complicated and a lot more beautiful if those cords from the computer, printer and other devices are hidden. Make sure to keep your equipment close to the outlet, and feed the cords into a desk grommet if possible so you can hide them underneath. Use cord winders or wire organizers to avoid cords from tangling with each other and to lift them off the floor.
9. Add your own personal touches
Not all traditional offices will let you hang ornaments and put decorations on your desk. Put something that would inspire you or brighten you up like a photo of your dream destination, your favorite artwork or photos of your loved ones. Or perhaps you can get functional when using decorations like getting a decorative desk lamp, an accent office chair, or artsy shelving. Add some greenery or display your favorite flowers to brighten up your space.
10. Create a comfy space
If you’re lucky enough to have a home office in a separate room, you can create a chill spot where you can easily take a break from all that working and thinking. Bring in a nice comfy little couch a loveseat (or a sofa bed if you’re feeling extra), then add a side table where you can put your coffee down while you read or relax. Add accent throw pillows and place an ottoman below for extra comfort. This is a huge perk! Take advantage of having an office where no boss would see that you nap in between work. Go for it if you have the room for it.