How To Design The Ideal Home-Office In Your Living Room
Those of us who work from home aren’t always lucky enough to have a spare room which we can use as an office. The bedroom is definitely not a good place to transform into a home office, as you may well have trouble getting to sleep and fully switching off in a space you associate with work. This leaves the living room as an ideal candidate for a home office.
Incorporating an office space within your living room can be done, although there are some key things to bear in mind when deciding on layout and decor. So that work life doesn’t impinge too much on home life, you should try to make your office as unobtrusive as possible.
Equally, so that you are able to focus completely on work, your ‘office nook’ should be well lit and purely functional. It needs to blend in with the living room whilst also feeling like a separate space in which you can concentrate. Here are some helpful ideas about how to successfully incorporate a home office into your living room.
Create Separate Space: With A Screen
Mixing your work and leisure space can work, but it is a good idea to try to create separate zones within your living room so that you can work without distraction in the ‘office’ and relax without stressing out about the 9-5 in the living room zone. The office space shouldn’t dominate the room, so place it in a corner or along a side wall.
To separate the two areas, consider breaking up the room with screening which lets light through (opaque screening can lead to a feeling of claustrophobia) or placing tall green plants along the perimeter of your desk to hide the rest of the room from view.
Alternatively, incorporate a shelving unit which is accessible from both sides to act as a screen. Not only is this helpful in terms of storage, but it also lets light through gaps in the shelves.
Include Comfy Seating For Break Times
Sitting at the desk without any breaks all day is not advisable. Not only do regular breaks allow for better concentration in the long run, but they also prevent you from getting back, eye or neck strain as a result of sitting for long periods at a desk or computer. Include a sofa or comfy chair within your office space so that you can sit comfortably and relax during breaks from work.
By having an area in the office where you can relax and take your eyes off the screen you will encourage yourself to take short breaks more frequently and this can be great for productivity and creativity.
Choosing Your Office Furnishings
Although the office portion of the living room is a different area, it will still likely be at least partially visible from the rest of the room. Typical office style furnishings like metal filing cabinets, primary colored desk chairs and harsh, industrial looking desks are not likely to be in keeping with the existing decor of your living room, and are rarely very aesthetically pleasing.
Instead, opt for softer colors and materials. A pine, oak or mahogany desk, shelving which is painted to match or complement the existing color scheme and a desk chair which is both comfortable and beautifully designed will all mean an office space which isn’t jarring with the rest of the room.
Disguise Obvious Office Equipment
Part of creating a harmonious space involves disguising necessary office equipment which can be clashing. Why not:
- Opt for a large wicker basket instead of a metal bin for waste paper.
- Conceal filing and office equipment such as staplers, hole punches and highlighters within cabinets which wouldn’t look out of place in your living room.
- Tidy away and conceal wires emanating from your office telephone line and computer.
Once you have finished with work for the day, tidy away everything you have used and any paperwork you have been working on so that you aren’t left with cluttered surfaces which will stress you out all evening. Ideally your laptop should be closed and put away to signal the end of the working day.
Use Proper (Effective) Lighting
Your lighting needs once you have installed your home office will be different from those in your living room. While lighting in the ‘home’ portion of the room should be low level, relaxing and cozy during the evenings, your desk will require brighter lighting.
To prevent damage to your eyesight from reading in low light, be sure to place a lamp on the desk which you can move to point directly at what you are reading or writing.
Don’t Make Your Office Too Homely!
Although your home office should blend fairly seamlessly with the rest of the room and be in keeping with the existing color scheme and decor, you should avoid making it too cozy and comfortable. Photographs of family and a few calming paintings are fine, but the rest of the space should be purely functional, so that you can focus on work.
Delineating a separate space, which is uncluttered, has clean lines and clear surfaces, is most conducive to good work.
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