Create the ultimate Home Office

WFH, ( “Working from home”)  has become a world wide phenomenon as a result of Covid-19. 

We (myself included) have been required to create a work space in the home and ensure that we are as productive as we would have been in the office.

However, few people have dedicated home offices. And many remote employees are now digesting their new work setting, mastering new technologies to enable remote work and meetings , coping with stress of remote work and also juggling everything else that comes with being at home, such as home schooling, entertaining children, cleaning the house and finding ways to maintain physical and mental health. (PHEW!!)

Even tho lockdown levels are due to ease up further, many are still going to be working from home for the forsee-able future, thus I thought I would share some tips on how to create a work space in your home. Whether its temporary for the next few months or a designated space in your home to plan for.

  1. Desk or work surface

While your dining room table has had to suffice as a work space, a room or work surface in a room specifically devoted to work can help you focus and create a clear definition between work time and leisure time.

This doesn’t mean you need a whole room to become a study.  Simply having a small desk or table within a bedroom with a nice chair works. I do think multifunctional rooms are going to become more popular going forward- a room that may function as a study-guest bedroom-playroom …..perhaps even gym?

Just another tip, as you envision the type of desk or work surface you need, think about all the functions of the type of work you do.  Paperwork? Computer based work? Drawing work?

Have a look at these options from Knus as well as Weylandts ( who are having a sale!). They are all online retailers so able to deliver.

https://www.weylandts.co.za/shop/furniture/furniture-tables/furniture-tables-desks/?orderby=available_online

https://www.cecilnurse.co.za/product-category/work-from-home/desks-wfh/

Some options from Knus
  1. Storage

Keeping an office organised can be a struggle for many. Especially, if you’re someone who has a tendency to become buried under an untidy desk, so it’s crucial to incorporate plenty of storage solutions into your design, not just for decor purposes but for productivity levels too.

Ideally if you have the space available, cabinets or built-ins are ideal for storing larger items. Open shelving is an easy way to mix functional items and decor elements as well. 

I would really tend to stay clear of standard office supply storage solutions for your desktop or shelving unit,  and look at baskets, soft baskets or interesting containers to store items. 

Knus has some great items available as showcased in their ‘office’ blog which randomly arrived in my inbox this morning! Talk about good timing!

Storage and shelving solutions from Knus
  1. Chair

A comfy chair is key. While that used to mean buying something black with plastic arms and wheels, its no longer the case. The desk chair has upgraded to a variety of styles, colours and finishes. When considering your chair keep in mind ergonomic support and height adjustment. 

https://www.weylandts.co.za/shop/furniture/furniture-chairs/furniture-chairs-office-chairs/?orderby=available_online

  1. Lighting. 

Yes I am going to drum on about lighting again. It is so important to get the lighting right where you work. Natural light is great as it also lifts the mood and promotes productivity. Too bright will come off as clinical and will be sure to make you feel more tired as opposed to proper ambient lighting.  I recommend task lighting ( As in a designated desk lamp) . Again, there are so many options on the market that not only offer appropriate lighting, but inject a bit of personality and style into the space. 

Lots of options at Lighting Warehouse. They are online and delivering!

https://lightingwarehouse.co.za/product-category/indoor/desk-lamps/

  1. Flooring

Having a softer and warm surface underfoot is definitely more desirable. Think rugs, rugs , rugs.  (Altho not a fluffy shaggy that your desk chair could get stuck in!

  1. Plants    

Live plants do more than just decorate a work space, studies have shown that plants can increase productivity and make you overall happier and calmer while you work.

  1. Colour palette

Bold colours are not really advised to use in a home office environment. Yellow for instance can actually induce anxiety. In the midst of Covid-19 I do think paler, earthy tones are becoming more appealing as they promote calm and warmth, all things we want in a time of great uncertainty. They would be very zen and appropriate in a work space.

I don’t think there are any rules you need to follow here tho, as whatever colouring you find appealing to yourself would be a good option!

8. Personalise

Artwork, crystals, a cherished family memento. When it comes to comforting home office ideas, it pays to surround yourself with familiar and cherished items so you can take much needed breaks while admiring your personal items. Just be sure that whatever you do install, keeps you distraction free. A great idea would also be to include a gallery wall ( read all about that HERE)

Some desk top storage solutions from Knus- think unique and interesting

However you see WFH – a challenge or benefit, these tips will help you with current situation and help you plan for a very productive and aesthetically pleasing place in your home going forward.

3 DESIGN GAME CHANGERS

Charles Eames, the iconic modern furniture designer (of the Eames chair) and architect famously said “The Details are not details, they make the Design”.  And it couldn’t be more true….  When it comes down to it, it’s a few tiny little bits and pieces that add up to make an overall space.

 Today I wanted to talk about a few of those design details that shouldn’t be overlooked. And honestly, if you do nothing else, you’d be surprised at how making the following small changes can instantly transform your space.  Game changers they are. 

CURTAINS HUNG PROPERLY

This is probably one of the biggest tips I could ever share: curtains should be hung as high, and as wide, as your room allows. It is the quickest way to make your space, and windows, feel bigger and brighter, and is an absolute game changer the moment they’re hung. 

GREAT LIGHTING

I’ve mentioned my love for really good lighting a number of times over the years, (read HERE) but this time I’m talking more about your quality of light (as in bulbs) and less about your fixtures. Lighting is one of those things that should never be overlooked, and nothing ruins a space more than overly yellow, or harsh white lighting.   I think it is also important to remember what the function of the room when looking at lighting as there is nothing worse than a sterile living space when a warm glow would be preferred or moodier lighting in a bathroom when practically brighter lighting is needed

AREA RUGS

I’ve been in the Interior Design industry for a good few years now and have been involved in my fair share of furniture installs than I can count. Each and every time, without question, the moment a rug goes down is the very instant that a house feels like a home.  Not only does it help ground and define each space (so important in open plan spaces) but that layer adds an element of cozy and comfortability that isn’t easily achieved in any other way. Like I said before, game changers they are.

The Bathroom Report

It might not be the heart of the home like the kitchen, or the hangout spot like the family room, but the bathroom is pretty important. For a room that you are inclined to visit multiple times a day, not to mention unwind in after a long day, it definitely needs to feel special!  

Now that we have spent a good 42 days in our homes, you have probably considered doing a little bathroom revamp down the line so here are some design features I am loving:

  1. Skylights

I have been binge watching last season of The Block Australia (please don’t tell me who wins!) and I am in love with the use of skylights in those bathrooms.  A skylight placed above a shower creates THE most beautiful lighting. We are doing a skylight above the shower in the main ensuite in one of my design projects currently on site. (#riverhousebystyleast) Cant wait to get back to it and see it come to life!

I mean, how beautiful!

2. Interesting lighting

This would probably be the biggest tip I could give you. Try use different types of lighting in a bathroom other than standard down lights. Perhaps a stand out pendant fitting over a bath? Or my personal favourite, incorporating wall lights. Other types of lighting to consider is LED strip lighting under cabinetry or in recesses.

Other tip with lighting is to consider the colour of the lighting, sometimes a cool white can look to sterile in a room dominated by hard finishes so consider a warm white LED.

3. The Subway Tile reinvented 

I once read somewhere that subway tiles were like a good pair of jeans, a classic staple. 

Fast forward to 2020 and there are so many variations available which I am loving, specifically the handmade variety that have a bit more texture and an organic look to them , a charming break from the uniformity of the porcelain styles.

And then of course there is the format in which you can lay them. Horizontal, brick-bond, vertical, herringbone or basket weave. Its a really versatile tile.

If you are in East London Cape Tiles has a diverse range of subways.

4. Brass tap ware

If you follow me on Instagram you might have noticed that I do like a bit of gold in an interior ;)

Brass tap ware is not that readily available in South Africa (so still quite pricey) but hoping it becomes more readily available soon as it’s a really classy elegant look when paired against white or grey.

Check out Lavo Bathroom Concepts for brass hardware as well as The Best Tile Company.

5. Textures

Another look that I love in a bathroom is forgoing tiles for a textured wall finish. Paintsmiths supply some Earthcote textured paints that can be used in bathroom with a waterproof overlay, making them a substitute for tiles. A favourite of mine has to be Pandomo which has a beautiful plastered look.

To see the physical samples or get a quote contact the local Paintsmiths branch in East London on 043 722 3765, or check out their website.

For some more bathroom tips read this blog I did 2 years ago HERE. It also has some lovely design details that I like to use in a bathroom to really up the ante in the design stakes.