Decorating a home office is becoming more of a necessity. For those of us who work from home an office is not just a luxury so we can shut out distractions.
If you've ever tried to work in your dining room, bedroom or living room you quickly realize that to work efficiently you need some dedicated space. Office equipment, files, work surfaces - working life is so much easier when you're organized.
Other pages on this website deal with using different rooms for your home office (you'll find the links under 'Home Office' on the left). The following are some practical suggestions you can apply to any home office.
Make a plan
When decorating a home office it doesn't matter if it's just a sketch on the back of an envelope, but do make a plan. Even if you only write down the things you need to do or obtain it will save you making mistakes. You can also use computer software such as drawing programs or dedicated 3D software.
But it is advisable to take your time over this. However you do your plan for decorating a home office, draw it to scale, and experiment by placing your furniture in different positions.
Where to put your home office
Ideally a room on its own would be best. If you don't have a separate room or space you can dedicate to your office, then take a look at the options under the 'Home Office' menu on the left for some suggestions on how to include your office in different rooms.
If you do have a room you can use, then you can make it as formal or informal as you like. Some prefer a rigid office structure with bare walls, filing cabinets, desk and office chair. Nothing is included which doesn't have a direct bearing on office work.
Others like a more relaxed atmosphere. They create an inviting space, almost like a sitting room with a library and office section. There will be occasional or easy chairs, a comfortable couch. The decor will reflect this feeling of serenity and peace.
Use existing furniture
We all like to save money (!) so make a list of items of furniture you already have and could use when decorating a home office.
- An old table in one of your rooms which hasn't been used for years? Strip and repolish it.
- A bookcase or set of shelves? Do the same with them, or paint them.
- A couple of old filing cabinets? (You can pick them up cheap from second hand stores.) Set them three feet apart, then lay a piece of wood across, and you have a functional desk.
And so on... use your imagination.
Buying new gives you lots of options. If you only have space in a corner of a room or against one wall, think about an integral home office unit. You can get them with doors so when you're not working and have the doors closed you just have an attractive piece of furniture.
On the other hand, if you have a whole room, you could have one wall fitted out with shelves, and have a desk and filing cabinet to match. If money is no object (lucky you!) then go the whole way and have complete fitted office units. Sometimes this option could be necessary - if you deal with clients who expect your office environment to make a statement about you, to give the impression of success.
These depend on your own preferences. You may not care too much about color when decorating a home office, so just paint the walls a light shade of your favorite color. Use a practical carpet of medium tone, or wood floor. If you do use a wood floor, you may want to have a protective area rug under the office chair if you use one. Such chairs tend to get moved around a lot.
If you want a more sophisticated effect, then use colors which will provide a good background for the furniture. A reasonable sized room will stand darker colors, so you could use a dark green or red for more of an old country house library look.
Don't forget pictures and other ornaments. You may have a collection of prints which you value, so use them on the walls. Just because you'll be working doesn't mean you can't enjoy your surroundings.
When deciding which colors to use for painting your home office walls, there's a way of reducing the chances of making a mistake. (Only for residents of the USA and Canada.)
The Shortcut to Perfect Paint Colors - Paint Color Cheat Sheets
Lighting for decorating a home office is important. If it's just you in there, then make sure the lighting is good over your desk or other places where you'll do your work.
If you'll have clients visiting then lighting for them will be necessary. It's not very good practice to have your clients struggling to read papers in bad light while you sit in a well lit part of the room.