Once upon a time, my home office was all but a mountain of papers on a cheap computer desk; walls of drab filing cabinets, and a tacky roller chair stuffed into a tiny spare room in the back corner of my house. I dreaded going in there, let alone spending a full working day inside.
This all changed when I was invited to the home office of an old friend, & my mind was blown with jealousy. It was like an elegant New York office that I’d only seen in movies, with stunning oversized occasional chairs, glamorous lighting and mirrors, rich wood panelling and opulent fittings straight out of a magazine. I was impressed and I can’t deny quite embarrassed when I thought of the pokey little corner I’d relegated my business to.
I then had a realisation that my home office was just four walls and I could create anything I wanted in that space. I too could have a stylish haven that I enjoyed spending time in, as well as be proud to bring people back to. I would have never considered meetings in my former back room, but with the changes I made my business took on another level of professionalism, and here’s how yours can too.
Comfortable, quality seating is the cornerstone of your office.
Unless you’re five years old, those spinning chairs from office supply shops just won’t cut it. Instead, opt for something both ergonomic and stylish that you love to sit in, such as leather reclining chairs.
Don’t forget about the comfort of visitors to your office, and backup chairs in case you have small meetings. Find stylish occasional chairs that are elegant yet comfortable enough to make people feel at ease.
With 70% of people suffering from aches and pains from using the wrong chair, unless we invest in ergonomically sound seating, desks and computers, in a couple of decades we’ll all have bad backs. Unlike the rest of your house, you don’t need to worry about day to day wear and tear from animals and children, so you can opt for furniture that’s more luxurious over practicality if you wish.
Every great business person has an impressive desk.
A solid, grand desk says that your work is important, the more beautiful it is the more you’ll want to sit at it and work. Look around until you find one just right, and don’t buy online, make sure you sit at it and try it out to see its sturdy and a comfortable height and width.
Create an office style that flows with rest of house, whilst still being distinctively different/business like. You want to feel you are stepping into classy and professional office, not a ‘home office’. Keep to the same colour scheme as in your house but use bolder colours for your office. Well-chosen colours can enhance mood and productivity.
House lighting is not suitable enough for an office as it can cast a shadow over your work, so find a nice desk light. Make sure there’s some sort of sound proofing or that your office is away from the main thoroughfare of the house, and create separation with a locking door if possible.
You don’t want to be on an important Skype call and kids come rolling in.
Having a very clear work zone sets the boundary that you are in work mode and not to be disturbed. If you work at home motivation can sometimes be an issue so treat your home office just as you would a traditional workplace, get dressed every morning and get in there on time.
These days, storage doesn’t need to look like an old FBI filing cabinet.
On the contrary; it can make a beautiful feature of the room. There are many attractive discreet storage options available depending on what most suits your business and personal style. You can transform an antique statement piece, a beautiful bookcase with built in filing or even refurbish your grandma’s old armoire, the possibilities are endless.
There is no reason you need to use cheap metal filing drawers with so many options available. A beautiful cabinet doubles as an organiser and display for your qualifications, achievements and photos. The better organised you are the less stressed and more productive you’ll be.
Elements of Luxury
Adding a focal point like a relaxing water feature, a grand chandelier or a fabulous marble fireplace will instantly take your office to the next level of grandeur.
Think about your business style…
Is it energetic, or more relaxed and creative? Will you do lots of time thinking, or is it fast paced? Reflect your type of business in the tone of your surroundings as well as your colour choices. Occasional chairs and an oversized magnificent mirror take your office from functional to bold.
Create a comfortable space not just for the clientele that you bring back but to inspire yourself while you work. Try to incorporate patterns, textures, and purely ornamental features that relate to your field of business.
Make it your favourite room in the house
Like you would at a workplace, take all of your favourite things into your home office.
Photos and pictures that make you happy, objects that inspire and amuse you. Create a place you enjoy spending a full working day in, but avoid any distractions like a television or games. Do not bring in objects from the rest of the house unless there something you would bring to an external office.
Make sure you allow a lot of natural light to come through.
If you are like me you’ll spend many hours looking out your window thinking during the day, so having beautifully furnished window dressings like plush curtains will make this much more pleasant. Be mindful of things like temperature control and general comfort. These things make a big difference subconsciously to you wanting to linger in a space.
With more and more people working from home, there are more design options than ever before. You can create a retreat that you love spending time in and therefore be more productive. A sleek and stylish workspace reflects yourself, your company and your clients. Take the time to create the foundation for your business to thrive like I did, and I promise you, you will love going to work!