Photo by Gian Paolo Aliatis on Unsplash

By Tiffany Edison

When it comes to the home office, the name of the game is function. But why not take it to the next level and actually make it fun?  

You can, in fact, furnish your home office affordably with sleek new furnishings that are a direct extension of your personal style. It’s safe to say that productivity increases in environments deemed attractive, making the home office the most relevant space needing a makeover in your home.

Like the word pivot is the current buzzword in the workplace, convert just might be the trending word of home office design right now. Whether you’re just now accepting the real-world challenge of the remote work environment or have always worked from home matters not. Let’s focus on how we can create a home office that excites us and yields dividends that pay off personally and professionally.

Aesthetically speaking, the color of our workspace can dramatically impact our overall mood and comfort level. I typically recommend keeping the majority of the workspace as neutral as possible (think white or cream) and then consider stepping out of the box with an accent wall in your favorite color. This can lift your spirits and allow for the personalization many crave when working in the home environment. 

I would also encourage the use of wallcovering, especially with a more creative application, such as on the ceiling or on the back of a bookcase to lend a layer of texture that can be unexpected in a rather commonplace environment. Bookcases can offer an attractive area for manuals and reference books needed on a moment’s notice, and ideally have storage below for office supplies that can be unsightly and distracting. Add containers or baskets to hold miscellaneous items that you’ll need to have on hand.

Selecting the correct lighting for the office environment is also critical. Lighting should be layered, with the foundation being solid task lighting. I find that recessed can lighting does the trick. It’s sleek and allows for an ample amount of light to be dispersed throughout the space. Now for the fun part of lighting! Decorative lighting, whether in the form of a fanciful chandelier or traditional desk lamp, allows for one’s personality to shine through. Decorative lighting also makes the office environment less sterile and more inviting.

The Mayo Clinic lays out a how-to guide for recommended office ergonomics, summarizing everything from proper chair height, adequate equipment spacing, and good desk posture. All of these things can keep workers happy and productive. One of the first things to consider is selecting the correct chair that fits your frame. I’m personally a big fan of Herman Miller’s Aeron chair, which can be purchased online or (better yet) from your local showroom here in Ann Arbor, Three Chairs. When choosing a chair, it’s best to select one that supports spinal curves and is height-adjustable. Your feet should always be able to rest flat on the floor. Armrests should also be adjustable and be positioned so that arms may rest gently on them, allowing the shoulders to be in a more relaxed position.  

Desks should be considered not only by taste, but functionality. Now we’ve entered the era of ergonomic desk options, such as vertical (or standing) desks and sit-stand desks, which can be raised and lowered. Regardless of the desk and chair option one chooses, Professor Alan Hedge of Cornell University recommends that the ideal desk-work routine go something like this: “About every 20 minutes, take a short break where you stand up [and] stretch out a little bit, maybe for a moment or two.”

Ergonomically, it’s also recommended that items that are key to daily work operations be kept in close proximity to the body to minimize reaching. Personally, I recommend investing a small amount into desk accessories that match and offer a pop of color or unexpected pattern. Who says a stapler and tape dispenser can’t be fun?  

Incorporating practical elements into a home office is paramount, and yet not negating the desire to create an aesthetically pleasing space is also key. It can and should be a pleasure to enter your workspace, eager to perform the work ahead. The sky is truly the limit when creating your ideal home office.

BIO: 

Tiffany Edison has been an interior designer since 2002 and specializes in both
residential and commercial projects.  She holds a Master of Social Work degree
(ACSW) and utilizes interpersonal relationship skills on a daily basis with her client
base, largely comprised of Ann Arbor, and Metro Detroit residents.  She has a
wonderfully large blended family residing in the city and enjoys the comforts of home.
When she’s not fully immersed in client projects, you can find her active on the golf
course, a favorite pastime.

www.birchdesignassociates.com