I have a rule for running my home:
“A place for everything and everything in its place”
Determine where everything is supposed to be kept, if you don't have a place, create one - it keeps clutter down, the house tidy, and when you want something you know exactly where to find it!
Those little 70's era Susie-Homemaker 'menu desks' in kitchens are useless, and computers have definitely not made us paper-free...
With busy lives we all need a “go to” place for the family calendar, kid’s sports schedules, mail, dinners, theater, etc. Is it too much to ask for a desk area to work at without the chance of getting peanut butter on it?
FIRST: WHAT DO YOU NEED IN YOUR OFFICE
Make a list of what you want at your fingertips:
- Pens, post-its, scissors, stationary, checks, laptop, printer, shredder, files, etc.
- What task do you do most often?
- That should be your priority for placement.
- Where are all your chargers now?
- Is it convenient?
- Is it a rat’s nest of wires and plugs?
- Are any multipurpose? E.g.: phone and iPad
- Will everyone in your home have access to this workplace?
- Should they have different carrels?
- Do you like to work at the same time?
- Are they noisy when they work?
- Do others in your household need a totally separate workplace? If so, where?
- Do you have an off-site company do your bills and accounting?
- Bad back, neck or legs?
- Needs a specific task chair?
- Need a specific temperature?
- Need a specific desk height?
- Online a lot?
- Facebook, eBay, ashleymadison.com, etc.
- Laptop or Desktop?
- Do you do crafts?
- Scrap booker, photographer or craftsperson?
THINGS TO CONSIDER KIDS
Children ages up to 16-17 are supposed to be in an open part of the house with no privacy for their online time. It's not that your kids are bad, but there's an entire world of freaks and opportunists out there who prey on gullible minds. Pro's say their backs (and monitors) should face the room and it's also good to cluster all the kids computers in a specific computer area; a hallway, office or home computer room.
The desktop should be a temperate and tactile material that is comfortable to the forearms; glass, marble and metal are all cold in any climate. Wood, laminate or leather are ideal.
Floors are easy to keep clean in most office conditions, I prefer carpeting. Cold stone or tile floors make your legs cold in the winter. If you have to have a tile floor consider an electric heat matt that goes under the tile before its installed. A low-pile carpet is easy to use a roller-chair on and absorbs all the noise.
Don't put your computer backed up to the window; it's hard on the eyes, bright backlighting makes you squint and your retinas to close. Have the daylight to your back if possible.
Will you need a more secure office? Is this space too exposed to guests, maids, kids, etc.? Consider putting things out of view, that's what whets the appetite for nosey types. Second, have important things in lockable drawers or cabinets.
Do you see work-related people at home occasionally? Their visit doesn't need to be in your home office, it can be in your library, living room or porch. But if you wanna look like the BMOC with an impressive office for the occasional visitor, think about what you don't want them to see, then create an out of view place for it. Unless you've made your visitor wear blinders they'll naturally look around, its what we all do.
You don't want a ceiling fan directly over your desk as it will blow the papers around, and you presumably don't want an air-conditioning vent blowing directly on you either.
"PRETTY" PART TIME WORK STATIONS
For those who do most of their personal work at the office, a small home "station" is a good idea.
(Oscar de la Renta)
He's got this lovely French desk in his Connecticut country home... but really... you think he does any work at that desk? C'mon, where's the shit? Where's the wastebasket or laptop at least?
(Richard Lambertson & John Truex)
Their country house office has a fun assemblage of inexpensive components... metal file drawers with a laminate top; old, steel card-catalogue drawers and good lighting. It's orderly and simple.
DESIGNATED WORK STATIONS
Chances are you don't have a home secretary to bring you your files and retrieve what you need when you snap your fingers, so this is for the rest of us.
This is my idea of what every home should have! Stations for tasks with drawers, shelves, lighting, etc. I love the palm matting over the bulletin board. The stools are dumb as you MUST have a chair with proper back and leg support.
This home office has a nice edge; the desk and upper shelves utilize clean-lined prefab units. (I think those Hermes boxes are pretentious as hell). Get baskets that are open and can be labeled or Lucite boxes which are chic even with all the crap showing. It's an office not a showroom!
OMG how smart is this home office?? It's one end of a family room; she has hers and he has his and it's all hidden behind the louvered doors when they're entertaining!
This home office with the windows and view is inspiring (my own desk ALWAYS needs to face a window). It's clean and simple, utilizes inexpensive cabinetry and is cozied up with the matching wooden tops and floors.
This beautifully appointed home work station has it all: Beautiful cabinetry, a large work-surface, lap drawers and hidden shelving above - which I love. Who needs to see that crap all the time? Yes, closed cabinets cost more, but if you like a less cluttered look, get the upper doors.
This is probably what you have now?
And this is what you want NOW?
This is such a handsome space, clean lined with warm tones and everything hidden.
This is a fun casual space for the weekend or summer home, modern, fun & funky.
In this garret room inexpensive laminate drawers are for unsightly junk, flat surfaces for spreading out and a wall of cork board for pinning up stuff. Everything has its place so this tiny office feels orderly.
This lovely office of some Patrician wordsmith is totally elegant. Surrounded by books and reference materials it screams quality. The laptop is on a small, uncluttered built-in desk, the printer is inside one of the built-ins.
Another masculine home office with muted beige tones with brown accents is enough to make anyone want to work at home. Notice all the details are the very simplest and architectural, always a nice environment for focusing.
A large closet behind the chair with bypass doors keeps all the crap (printer, copier, etc.) out of sight and allows you to have a writing table which looks open and less bulky than a desk with drawers.
You like things on the wall?
then do it this way!
This traditionally decorated office is a great multi-user space with custom cabinetry and a wonderful wall of cork board. Create a pattern of the photos or a grid, it will give you a sense of order. Stainless tops are impervious but cold to the touch.
Utilising the corner of the kitchen is perfection of for daily email, homework and bills. The monitors face the room which is good for keeping an eye on what the kids or hubby are looking at too…jus sayin'.
This groovy "niche" office is fun; the use of the black and white photos with the black IKEA shelving and desk is 'cheap-and-chic'.
PART-TIME WORK STATIONS
Nooks works well for small tasks like recipes, or letting kids work there while people are in the kitchen. It closes up behind large retracting doors when not in use.
In my clients beach house I designed the large built-in with retractable doors which hides the TV and stereo equipment on the right, and a work carrel with a pullout keyboard on the left. Underneath are drawers fork napkins and placements and above are open shelves for books and binder storage.
This repurposed closet makes a great workspace. Shelves, drawers, task lighting and it all gets closed out of sight when the bi-fold doors are closed!
A fun workspace is hidden behind large sliding doors. It's a smart low-cost work area; the wall shelves are inexpensive and brightened up with the use of the green file boxes.
An IKEA laminate top resting on two metal file drawers, boom! yer done.
This contemporary workspace looks custom built but it's actually well-coordinated IKEA components.
You can do it, I'm here to help!