Just a few short years ago, many of us were working in the confines of a drab cubicle with fluorescent lighting. Today that has all changed. Trends have shifted to a workforce that does at least some, if not all, of their work from home. More and more of us are looking for ways to create home offices that function well and showcase our unique personal styles. Who better to ask for advice than Designer and Host of HGTV’s hit show Bargain Mansions, Tamara Day? Here, she shares her tips for putting together the perfect workspace.
A busy mother of four, she has been transforming dilapidated residences into show-stopping stunners for years. Her experience has taught her what it takes to create a well-designed space that functions efficiently. When creating a home office, Day says there are a few keys to getting it right—location, outfitting it to suit you, and adding personal touches to make it your own.
The first step is taking the time to determine your home office needs. Have they shifted in the past few years? “The pandemic has changed where and how we work. So many people are transitioning to fully working from home, and they need a designated workspace,” Day says. This may require rethinking another space in your home—a guest room, exercise space, or what used to be a child’s playroom, for example. Are you using it as much as you would if it were an office? If not, it may be time to relocate it or eliminate it and use the square footage as your workspace.
It is important to assess your individual work requirements. Think about the work you do and what is best suited for it. Do you require a lot of surface space or storage units? “In my home office, we have a large floating desk that is a great space to spread out and two side-by-side desks that house the desktops and printers,” Day explains.
One setup may not be right for everyone. Consider how you like to work. Do you sit at a desk or prefer working in a comfy chair with a laptop? If space allows, making different zones can also be a great way to mix up your workday. “We created a little nook in our office where you can have more privacy; it’s quieter and a little more secluded, and a great place to work with fewer distractions,” Day says.
Lighting is an important part of any room, but this is even more true in a home office. “A well-lit space is so essential to see what you are working on,” Day says. The more natural light you can get, the better. If possible, it is best to place your desk facing a window to reduce glare. A view of the outside will also give your eyes a break from the screen. A well-light space not only helps reduce eye strain but also promotes energy—something we all could use more of when working. Day recommends creating layers of light. She suggests a striking chandelier as the central piece and smaller task and accent lights throughout. Her Cleara Light Chandelier adds an eye-catching element to any room.
A home office is about putting together a space you want to be in. It should feel personal and include touches that make you feel comfortable. Day suggests starting from the ground up. “I think every home office needs a great plush rug; a rug makes the room cozy and will help absorb some sound,” she says. Adding a rug will soften the space and can be used to ground the main features. Place one under your desk or in a sitting area. Since office furniture often lacks a lot of personality, a rug can be a fun way to bring in color and texture. The Casablanca Blue is from her curated collection of finds and would work perfectly.
This is your space, so you should fill it with what makes you happy. Candles, plants, artwork, and accessories are all good examples of this. “I am such a candle person, and I believe scent is so important; I love lighting a candle to set the mood and create a calming environment while I dig through tons of emails,” Days says. Her signature Grapefruit Mint Candle has an inviting scent and comes in a chic container that you can repurpose later.
A home office is as much a part of your home as your living room—it should be personal and allow you to perform your duties at your best. By following Day’s rules, you will have an inspiring and Zoom-ready workspace in no time.
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