The Essentials for Your Home Office
Using the dinner table as your desk leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Clear away the paperwork and use the the dining room as it was intended. It’s time to make a well-organized and thoughtfully furnished home office a reality. A home office can consist of anything from a corner of the bedroom to a professional space with all the bells and whistles.
Building the foundation for a fruitful work space starts with the essentials whether you’re furnishing a telecommuting office, artist studio, crafting station or bill paying center. Create an attractive home office in a quiet location with good furniture, proper lighting and smart storage.
Having a functional home office is imperative. When setting up an office space consider your particular needs, budget and personal taste. It should enhance your efficiency and productivity as well as reflect a pleasing design that blends with the rest of your home decor.
Pick the Perfect Location
If you work at home you probably spend a majority of hours at your desk, so don't try cutting corners on space and furniture pieces. Avoid interruptions and daily distractions by locating your office in a calm, quiet area, especially if you have clients stopping by.
While you may not have a dedicated room for an office, you can claim a portion of another room such as the basement, guest bedroom or a loft space. You can even set up an office in your garage or a backyard storage shed provided it has adequate insulation, ventilation, heating and cooling. Once you've determined your home office location you can get down to furnishing and accessorizing the space.
Design a Color Scheme
If you're color challenged or just pressed for time make a trip to your local home improvement center and head straight for the paint department for color inspiration. Not only do they have racks and racks of paint chips to tempt you, most paint manufacturers include in-store and online images of interior color schemes to get your creative juices flowing.
Paint chips definitely help make color selections much easier. Start with one of your favorite colors and use lighter and darker values of the same color for a monochromatic look. Or you can pair it with complementary or contrasting hues.
This no hassle color planning is a huge time saver and gives you options you may never have considered. Just remember most colors look more intense on your wall than on the paint chip. Play it safe by going a shade lighter to avoid overpowering your home office.
Choose the Right Work Surface
Balancing your computer on your lap is completely unacceptable. One of the single most important furniture pieces for your home office is the desk. You could go out and purchase a fancy one for your space, but before you do consider some of these money-saving options.
Recycle a desk from another room or pick up a deal at a garage sale or thrift store. If you can’t find a desk you like why not repurpose a table? A simple parsons table is a perfectly good substitute for a desk. Instead get creative and purchase a flat panel door and mount it on file cabinets to provide extra storage.
In a multipurpose or confined space install a fold-down, wall mounted desk. Simply clear off the surface and flip it up into a wall cabinet when not in use. Some models even feature storage cubbies for mail and files, adjustable shelves and space for a bulletin or white board.
Find a Comfortable Chair
Searching for the perfect desk chair will go a long way in improving your productivity and health. The first inclination may be to skimp on the budget and use a chair you have around the house like a dining or upholstered accent chair. While it may look stylish chances are it won’t be good for your back or legs.
If you sit at your desk for long stretches of time, pamper yourself by purchasing the best quality office chair you can afford. Look for models that provide good lumbar and leg support, adjustable armrests and a backrest that encourages good posture.
Consider Resale Furnishings
Furnishing a home office typically takes a big bite out of your budget. You can keep expenditures to a minimum by checking out preowned or reconditioned office furniture sources. Purchase storage pieces and secondary seating as your budget allows.
Don’t worry about exact matches in color and finishes. As long as a bookcase, filing cabinet and credenza have similar lines and styling you can create a coordinated look for your office. If the pieces are too mismatched you can paint the furniture and reupholster worn chair seats. Always choose furniture in good condition and made from quality materials.
Source Previously Owned Office Furniture
Where to Look
What You'll Find
Used Office Furniture Store
Usually a large selection but you will pay a bit more.
A company that has closed an office will often sell its furniture to the public.
Sometimes you can find fun vintage furniture pieces.
Garage or yard sales
Check listings of sales in your area to look for specific items you need.
Excellent source for quality office furniture.
craigslist and classifieds
Lots of office furniture. Check often because good deals go fast.
Shop for Good Lighting
Don’t rely on that bare ceiling bulb or a single table lamp across the room to properly light up your home office. Performing close work is hard enough on your eye. Why make things worse by working in low light. Consider wall-mounted task lighting if office or desk space is at a premium. Recessed or track lighting can provide plenty of general illumination. A combination of adequate task and ambient lighting will prevent eyestrain and allow you to adjust light levels throughout the day and evening.
Create Unique Office Storage
The final piece to the office essentials puzzle includes sufficient storage. Filing cabinets are key items but there are other options available to keep clutter at bay and create a stylish, organized and functional space.
Setting up a small home office often comes with a struggle for extra storage. Shelves, cabinets or baskets can be affixed to your walls for additional storage that won't eat into valuable square footage. They are ideal spots to store office supplies, files and reading material.
A converted clothes closet in your spare bedroom office can be used as hidden storage by adding shelves for supplies and a place to house your work supplies. Install several tiers of sturdy shelving across the entire width to store the items you don’t use every day. If you’re lucky enough to have an electrical outlet in the closet think about relocating your router, wireless printer and fax machine to the closet as well.
Add Personal Accessories and Art
Use your imagination and choose decorative objects that speak to you. Travel souvenirs, your vintage camera collection or a grandma’s silver tea service adds a touch of individuality to your office. It also makes your office feel more like an extension of your home rather than a boring, utilitarian space. Avoid too much clutter--edit your treasures and showcase a few in a special grouping.
Art helps to personalize a space. Whether it’s your own photography, paintings or a few vintage reproduction posters, artwork adds excitement, color and interest to bare wall surfaces. Don’t forget to add a message board to serve a dual purpose. You can post important work-related notes, reminders, special photos or random pieces of ephemera that bring back fond memories.
Quick Tips for the Perfect Office
1. Choose furniture essentials that will hold up to daily use and will last. In other words, choose the best quality you can afford whether it’s new or used—you’ll save money in the long run.
2. Use furnishings that create a work environment you’ll enjoy—a home office that reflects your personality and inspires you.
3. Create a comfortable environment with lighting that fixes common issues such as inadequate light, distracting contrasts and annoying glare.
4. Combine hidden and open storage elements to minimize clutter while keeping everything you need close at hand.
5. Regardless of size or location, your home office should offer the perfect mix of comfort, efficiency and good looks.
Check Out This Office Redesign
© 2012 Linda Chechar