According to new figures 70% of home refurbishments or extensions include the need for a ‘home office’ or ‘study’ or ‘den’. Essentially a space dedicated to ‘work’. That work may be a space to exercise your mind as you study towards exams or learn a new skill, it may be a space dedicated to sorting the home, the organization of the bills and correspondence. It may be a space for your hobby or new craft and, as is often the case these days, that space may be needed for earning money as you work from home.
Whatever the space is to be used for there are elements that go towards creating that space that are essential to all of the uses.
Ask yourself what you really need by way of a surface to ‘work’ on and what really needs to go on it? A computer is often the first response, but if your hobby uses both a computer and a sewing machine you need to think what type of surface will accommodate both, all, or part of the time. I am often heard saying that ‘a desk is just a surface to keep the paper off the floor’, but in truth it is so much more than that. Our relationship with our work surfaces is crucial to our productivity and comfort. The height of the surface and its depth can affect us both physically and psychologically. A length of standard kitchen work-surface may work for some but not all, as the depth could be too shallow for some tasks and equipment. Equally an antique desk designed before the advent of computers may not accommodate all the necessary items you need.
I used to work as a seating specialist so I have a real passion to ensure that everybody has the opportunity to sit comfortably whilst doing the activities they love that require sitting. Just think what it would mean to you if every time you sat down it was painful in some way and it stopped you from enjoying your work, it stopped you from concentrating on revising, it stopped you from strategic thinking because all you could think about was the pain. So many people take time out of work due to back pain, which is often caused by poor seating within the work environment. Don’t aggravate it at home by sitting on poorly designed chairs and those not fit for purpose. Learn how to sit appropriately for the tasks you are doing and invest in the best you can afford, to protect your back and neck whilst working. Consider the seat depth and the length of your thighs, understand what it means to you to have freedom of movement whilst sitting and how a correctly fitting chair can improve your productivity and thinking.
Another one of my roles before establishing Younique Designs was as a storage specialist. Finding a place for everything you need to store is really tricky especially as our needs constantly change. Hence flexible storage solutions that can grow with our needs are going to be the best fit. Sturdy shelves that do not bow under the weight of magazine files, drawers or boxes for cd’s, ‘bomb boxes’, as I call them, to put all those pens, paperclips, staples, sticky tape, ribbon, needles and pins, glue etc etc. Finding such solutions is often fraught but by knowing what you need and understanding how it may change as your activities change is an essential starting point. Be thorough and do a complete audit on all those things that need to be stored in this ‘space of your own’. Measure it – the length of shelves you currently have vs what you need – assess it – what needs to go in what and on what – drawers vs shelves – define the amount of storage required in linear metres and start from there. Confused – don’t be, give me a call and I will walk you through it. Remember that your allocated space will not grow, but the chances are the amount that you have to store will.
Working in poor light will cause a strain on your eyes – ensure that you work comfortably. Your needs for over head lighting and task lighting will be dependent on what is happening in your space, so again an assessment is needed to understand the variety of tasks that are likely to happen in your space. Obtain the right balance between ambient, accent and task lighting.
Colour and Decoration
One of the joys of having a space of your own is that you can decorate it whatever way you want! Go for colours and textures that reflect what you do – if your space is for relaxing and meditating you will not want strong vibrate colours, but if it is for revising and learning you may want stimulating and inspiring colours and images to motivate you. Again think about what you are going to be doing in your space and decorate accordingly. You know how sometimes you walk into a space that just doesn’t feel right – don’t make that mistake in your space – make it right first time – be who you need to be in your space so that you will be relaxed, motivated, inspired, stimulated and happy.