You’ve got a dilemma. Lady Luck has shone a light on you and the home-based business you’ve dreamed about after years toiling under the leadership of a lousy boss is yours now. You know your industry like the back of your hand – but decorating a home office? Not so much.
Hiring an interior designer is an option if your checkbook or plastic can take the hit, but suppose you could do the job yourself? You can! Apply the tips we’ve gathered and follow the links in this article. You’ll not only be proud to show off your handiwork, but the money you save on decorator fees is better spent on a piece of furniture.
Where to Start?
A terrific place to launch your project is a resource that’s been around for decades: House and Garden TV. Editors suggest myriad tips to make that space yours, of which these five are particularly important:
- Invest in a great chair, especially if tasks require long periods of sitting.
- Locate your work area (desk, drafting table, etc.) where there’s maximum light.
- Paint office walls a soothing, neutral color unless vivid colors are your thing.
- Think vertically! Wall space dedicated to shelves organizes everything from books to samples and supplies.
- Prioritize your technological needs. Allocate space to equipment and find ways to hide or disguise the jungle of cords, wires, and cables cluttering the floor.
Advice from Other Entrepreneurs
As part of “Entrepreneur” magazine’s commitment to residential offices, professional designer Jo Heinz wrote an article based on design work she has done for clients. Some of the topics she includes belong on your list, too.
Did you know that scientists have proven that if your office space design is too casual, your productivity could tank because there’s not enough separation between home and office?
Heinz asks clients whether they intend to work alone or whether clients, colleagues, consultants and/or vendors will frequent their home workspace. What’s your answer? If it’s the latter, you need a gathering place like a conference table.
Further, if Skype, teleconferencing and shared communications systems are critical to doing business in your line of work, your layout may not be complete until you install a flat screen TV, properly-positioned computer monitors, speakers and/or devices designed to bring people together virtually.
Three Things Professional Decorators May Not Tell You!
1. Every residential office needs a focal point to deliver warmth, charm, and comfort. Installing any of the gorgeous electric fireplaces on today’s market can turn a cold, professional work space into an inviting, warm and welcoming enclave.
Since portable fireplaces come in every style under the sun, from sleek and modern to country charming, office ambiance gets an immediate boost and because they’re electric, you can forget about dangerous fumes, maintenance, and increased energy costs. You might even cut your power bills by placing an electric fireplace in your office!
2. Ask at-home workers to name the problem that drives them craziest when setting up an office and you’ll hear the word privacy repeated again and again. How do you deal with privacy issues when your family could be going about their lives on the other side of a wall?
Wearing earbuds is no perpetual solution, but portable privacy screens, door locks, and signage can remind family members that you’re working in your office and are not to be disturbed. Some work-from-homers set office hours that they consider sacrosanct.
3. Home business owners tend to work long hours thus ergonomics plays a huge role in office furnishing, especially if you’re a workaholic. Invest in ergonomic pieces to avoid any number of discomfort issues, but there’s no need to spend a fortune!
Our resource directory can point you to any number of places to shop for furnishings, so take advantage of them to make your furnishing and decorating job even easier.
6 Creative Touches You Can Do Yourself
Whether you’re a fan of online publications like Real Simple and Fresh Home or you’ve never heard of either tip from these resources, here are some helpful tips that can turn a mundane working space into a magazine-worthy room. These ideas are the cream of the crop:
- Shelf substitutes: Can’t hang shelves? Turn a bedroom armoire or dining room hutch into storage space to add style to the room.
- Clever corners: A corner desk solves space problems every day of the week. Think of getting one!
- Magical mirrors: Double the “optical space” in your home office using mirrors.
- Clever curtains: Hang a trompe l’oeil curtain on a wall to create an instant mural with a few nails.
- Ladder Luxe: Lean a tall ladder against the wall and hang matching baskets for storage.
- Chalk talk: Paint a section of the wall with black paint, add a frame and keep tabs on business matters from your never center.
Creating a home office takes a little imagination, but it’s so worth the effort to do it on your own! After all, it’s the place you’ll go to achieve your professional dreams, support your family and do both without having to wear business attire unless of course, you’re planning to hold a meeting in front of your welcoming fireplace!