Home office design
PUBLISHED: 16:04 13 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:13 20 February 2013
Essex Life interiors expert Antonia Edwards answers your questions
Working from home
Q: I have recently started working from home and would like to create a work space that doubles up as a reading room. How do I give my new office a homely and welcoming feel?
WHETHER you're a technophobe or a technical wizard, computers are an integral part of our everyday lives, which means a designated office area has become a familiar addition to the modern home. If this is also your primary place of work however, creating a space that's functional, comfortable and attractive on the eye will certainly contribute to a productive working day.
Working from home carries many benefits, but there are also plenty of distractions. Even when the in-tray is piling up, suddenly it seems like a great time to fix that creaky door, wash the car or make an unnecessarily complex lunch. The first thing to address is finding a suitable space where you can remove yourself from the domestic arena and get straight into work mode.
One of the great things about decorating an office at home is that there are no rules to abide by. Introduce furniture and accessories that reflect your personal style and don't be afraid to go for the unconventional. Consider using a distressed wooden table as a desk, make shelving out of salvaged banisters or use an old vintage trunk for storage. As long as it works for you, anything goes!
Facing your desk towards a blank wall is unlikely to inspire blue sky thinking, but positioning yourself by a window provides a well lit workspace and is ideal for making the most of a good view. Get closer to nature by having flowers in window boxes on the sill and choose a colour scheme for the interior that draws the outside in. Plenty of natural light and ventilation will also prevent you from feeling tired and groggy.
Don't forget practicalities such as keeping office machinery close to the power sockets. Drawing up a layout will prevent the room from being dominated by unsightly wires. Good posture and back support while you work is another factor to consider. If necessary, opt for an ergonomically designed chair such as the Multi Balans by Varir. This adjustable, foldaway chair takes up very little space and encourages you to sit in a position where the strain on the back is significantly reduced (available from Dansk in West Thurrock 01708 866606, Rayleigh 01268 745872 and Braintree 01376 339993).
Ample shelving should allow enough space for your books and folders, but also for ornaments and colourful storage boxes that add character to the room. Personalise with framed photos and decorative objects that are in keeping with the rest of your home to ensure a smooth transition from work space to living space. Built-in floor to ceiling storage units are particularly good for achieving a streamlined feel.
Choose attractive wall and ceiling lights. You can't go wrong with a classic Anglepoise (available at Town and Country Lighting in Colchester on 01206 572152). Add a couple of comfy armchairs, a floor lamp and an eye-catching book collection and you'll have a versatile room that can be used as a quiet reading corner and maybe even for meetings with clients.
Your questions answered
If you have an interiors question for Antonia Edwards email the editor