People have spent more and more time in their home offices during the past couple of years, and there’s no sign that’s slowing down anytime soon. According to Forbes, only “3% of employees and entrepreneurs surveyed said they want to work full time at a physical office when workplaces are able to safely reopen after Covid-19.” That means home office design is a big business, and all us can benefit from the new, fun, and functional home office ideas available.
An office is still a place where most of us spend the majority of our days, so yours needs to ensure that you’re productive, healthy, and energized. We asked some industry experts what they believe makes an ideal home office space, and their easy-to-implement advice will leave your office feeling light, bright, and stylish.
With any space where you spend hours at a time, you want to make sure it’s fresh and clean. Offices can get stuffy because you often close doors and windows to keep outside noises to a minimum. To combat this, Breegan Jane, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition star designer and Trane Residential partner, adds air-purifying houseplants to the space.
“Not only do they add a pop of color to enhance the room’s aesthetic, but they also help purify the air and release oxygen,” she said. She recommends trying English ivy, spider plants, peace lilies, and aloe vera. According to Jane, clean air can also be achieved by creating proper avenues of ventilation: “Stuffy air can make you feel drowsy and can impact WFH productivity! Keep your windows slightly open or keep your HVAC running at an appropriate setting to ensure clean air is consistently flowing in your workspace.”
Another idea that’s taken off this year is using organic materials, and these can be added in multiple ways. Organic-inspired paint colors are one way to give your home office some added style. “The new color spectrum features organic colors and materials including walnut (woods), creme, and taupe, with the accent color of emerald green,” said Perla Lichi, the CEO of Perla Lichi Design.
Once the walls are painted in hues that stun in nature, it’s time to move on to the furniture. Lichi recommends furniture and accessories that are “rounder” in shape, with softened corners and nature-based elements.
“Rounded shapes mimic nature, connecting us to the outdoors while adding whimsy to our indoors,” added Katherine Cohen, the manager of visual merchandising and photography at FLOR rugs.
Additionally, Lichi said, patterns with “stone, onyx, marble, granite, and light wood will become a fixture of the home,” including the home office. “Trends come and go, but the new interior design trends will stay a long time because they are more organic in nature. That’s where nature-driven and natural stone wall art becomes a key idea for designers today.”
With all the changes and upheaval the pandemic brought, many who worked from home didn’t know how long it would last. As weeks turned into months, it became clear that working from the dining room table or sharing space with a spouse wasn’t going to cut it in the long term. Creating a dedicated workspace will not only allow you to be more productive, but decorating it with things that inspire you will create a level of comfort and permanence that’s been missing.
“Homeowners looking to refresh their at-home office spaces should consider options that provide flexibility and make their spaces smart and functional. Our work-from-home spaces should include decor options that add warmth and acoustics benefits,” Cohen said. “While we collectively spent more time at home, a renewed interest in making these spaces more beautiful became a growing trend.”
Bringing the outdoors inside via color and natural elements like wood and stone, thus creating an inviting space, will make you ready to jump in and get to work. Of course, you’ll want to add personal touches to the space with items such as photos, wall decor, bookshelves, and textiles like area rugs, curtains, and blankets that bring everything together. Scents are also important and can keep you calm on even the most stressful day. Consider candles or diffusers with calming scents of eucalyptus, mint, and rosemary.
While you’re busy decorating your new, dedicated space, don’t forget the advice above. Make sure your home office is well lit, ventilated, and comfortable yet supportive of the work you are doing. Invest in an ergonomic chair, create a desk space that gives you everything you need for the day in arm’s reach, and don’t forget your water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day.
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