Rearranging furniture and demarcating spaces can ensure that your home-office is not just private but also reflects your personality.
Virginia Woolf, in her essay ‘A room of one's own', stressed on the need for women to have their own space to explore their writing skills. Though she was referring to women, the notion that one can flourish in an independent environment is applicable to all. There is something soothing about retiring to a space that you can call your own even at home. It may not be that you actually have a study, but if you have a space that resembles one, it becomes a little haven to tuck away into.
Whether you live in a large or small apartment, you need a personal space –an area that reflects your tastes and your sensibility. A ‘home office' is becoming a popular trend in home planning, many are now allotting sufficient space to this concept, and some, if they can afford the space, are even dedicating an entire room to this. Home offices must inspire and trigger productivity and for this reason, it should be well-lit; facilitate the use of computers and printing machines, allow storage and also exude a sense of comfort. “I work in advertising, so I constantly need inspiration. A billboard cluttered with pin ups helps me and I love lots of drawers because when I work at home, mess on the table distracts me,” says Sofia Ashraf, a copywriter at Ogilvy & Mather .
Sound-proofing your home-office could be a good idea but if that is too pricey then consider getting plywood panels wrapped in fabric and that could deaden sound. Good lighting is a must. Architect Neal Zimmerman, author of Taunton's Home Workspace Idea Book, recommends installing a small canopy or umbrella in a corner and aiming light at its underside. Your office will be showered with a bath of light, not to mention providing a degree of privacy and soundproofing.
Pick the right kind of desk and chair to go with it. “I would prefer a floor desk because I like sitting on the floor while working as I can have all my textiles spread out and this gives me a lot more space. Also, it keeps things minimal and clutter-free. Add a nice rug underneath and my home office becomes cosy,” says Kalabati Majumdar, a textile designer.
Storage is also essential in a home-office; a bookcase can sit on top of the desk or even be mounted on the wall to avoid clutter. If you don't see yourself writing at the desk often, you can get a desk that comes with a pull out writing surface. Featherlite and Monarch Ergonomics in Chennai offer a wide variety of options. “A desk with ample storage options and a swivel-chair works best for a home office. This helps you reach for essentials with ease and also gives your space a contemporary and minimalistic feel,” says Ullas Raj, Assistant Manager, Monarch Ergonomics.
While attempting to create an office environment, you may lean towards dull shades for the walls. But why leave it rudimentary? Find a colour that you like and complement your curtains and seat-cushions with it. Colours are known to influence your mood, so use them wisely. “I think pale-white and mustard yellow keeps me in control and focus,” says Majumdar.
Lack space? Fret not, you can simply place a wooden table beside a bedroom window and that can double up as part-time office. Office armoires are another simple solution as most feature a keyboard shelf, file drawers, and adjustable shelves. So when your tasks are completed, you simply have to close the doors and the mess disappears. “While at office, I find the need to be able to stare out of a window once in a while. I can do that at home, but working with a bed right next to you can be counterproductive,” says Shreyas R Krishnan, graphic designer. “When I work at home, I need a table so that I'm not working on the bed. Even better if there's a separate room for me to sit in at home and work,” she adds.
Is the area under your stairs or an extension in your hallway empty? Consider converting them into a home-office.
You can suggest that it's a separate space by positioning a bookcase as a room divider. It is your personal space and must ultimately reflect your unique individuality, so fill it everything that defines you. While appealing to your senses, it should also be inviting, quiet and relaxed. Whether it's an entire room or a small corner of a room, make it as private as you can.