Keep your home office comfortable and efficient with these great ideas
As the “gig economy” continues to grow and more employers are embracing a work-at-home culture, home offices are becoming more important. Some homeowners are turning extra bedrooms into offices, while others are converting dining rooms, bedrooms and closets into work-at-home areas.
No matter where your home office is located, it’s important to keep it comfortable and efficient — a designated space where you can do your best work.
“The most important thing is to find a space that you’re comfortable in,” said Dawn Newkirk, director of fashion merchandising for Gorman’s Home Furnishings & Interior Design, which has locations throughout metro Detroit and in Grand Rapids. “There is so much going on in everyone’s lives. It’s difficult to multi-task in an open space where there are kids and dogs running in and out. You should have a separate space.”
Ready to transform an area of your home into an office? Here’s how to get started.
The dedicated home office
If you’re lucky enough to have a designated room in your home for an office, use it to express your style. Built-in wall storage can show off colorful fabric baskets that add pops of color.
“You will be in your office space more than anywhere else, so really use it to bring out your personality,” Newkirk said. “There are a wide variety of styles of furniture, woods and paints that can allow you to do that.”
Wood furniture with gray finishes and undertones are popular, as are fabrics in geometric patterns. Newkirk recommends investing in good office chairs and changing out the pillows when making design updates.
It’s also important to consider ergonomics. Bungie chairs from Euro Style and other styles from Norwegian manufacturer Stressless are great options. Other ideas include high-low desks that allow you to sit or stand while you type, as well as exercise balls to work on your posture while you’re at work.
Dual bedroom spaces
For those who don’t have a dedicated home office, a guest room is another option. Instead of a bed, consider a sleeper sofa for the space, so it can be used for client meetings and overnight guests.
If you don’t have a guest room, the master bedroom can double as an office.
“You could repurpose space in the master bedroom for a desk,” Newkirk said. “Instead of two nightstands, you could have a desk on one side.”
You can also convert a closet into a home office with a small desk and shelving unit. When the area is not in use, simply close the doors.
When Skyping with clients, use a backdrop so nobody sees your bedroom.
“When you’re sitting at your desk, your camera is facing out into the room, so you could hang a curtain or use a board covered in fabric,” she said. “The board is great because you can attach notes and things to it, so it has a double purpose, and you can pull it out for a backdrop when you need to.”
Dining room makeovers
If you don’t regularly use your dining room, consider turning it into an office.
“A dining room is a good option because it’s usually off the foyer, so you can bring clients into your office without having to bring them through the entire house,” Newkirk said.
If you don’t want to completely transition the room into a home office, try a fold-up dining table that transitions into a side console.
“It can be moved into the foyer as a console, so you’re not working around a large dining room table 365 days of the year,” she said.
Likewise, stackable chairs are ideal; you can set them out for client visits and move them into a corner or closet when they’re not needed.
It’s all in the details
Whether it’s a dedicated home office or a small work area in a closet, think about the design details that will inspire you and your work.
For larger spaces, bring in a chandelier to serve as a statement piece and brighten up the room. Wall sconces are another option. Good lighting is especially important for darker office areas, such as basements.
“In the basement, try to bring in as much light as you can,” Newkirk said. “Greenery such as plants are also great for bringing in fresh air.”
Window treatments add personality, so be sure to include them in your office design. If you’re able to close off the space, consider the type of door you are using.
“If you want to still be sure you see what is going on, try a glass door or muted water glass door. Another option is a barn door, which is a hot look right now,” Newkirk said. “No matter where the office is located, you really want to make it your own.”
To piece together your perfect home office, visit Gorman’s Home Furnishings & Interior Design today.
Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.