Your Home Office - stylish versus practical.....

...well actually, I think a home office should be both.  Now, not everyone has the luxury of having a room dedicated to being a home office but even if you only have a small desk under the stairs, this blog will give you some great tips.  Here's one I found earlier (a desk under the stairs I mean).

Mini home office

Photograph courtesy of My Scandinavian Home

First things first, you need to de-clutter your home office and rid it of anything you're not using, then we can look at the bigger picture.  Next, you'll be needing these:

1. Desk: if you can, a desk with some drawers is great for keeping you organised (one long one at the top is perfect for housing a stapler, paper clips, paying in books, birthday cards and other stationery but get yourself a drawer tidy to keep everything in it's place rather being faced with a huge pile of disorganised office paraphernalia every time you need something).  The position of your desk is important too so if you can place it near a window, that's all the better - this one is particularly swoon-worthy.  Not sure I'd get any work done here actually.

Desk with a view

Photograph courtesy of House Beautiful

All you should have on your desk is your computer, a lamp, a pen pot, a bud vase (style) and, if you have the room, 2 trays.  One for filing because no-one can be bothered to file a bill as soon as it's paid - just pop it in the tray and empty it every few weeks; and an in-tray.  Oh, and a mouse mat maybe - this is one for the style files.  Love it.

 Glitter Mouse mat

You'll also need some extra space for laying out papers or any larger projects you might be working on so I'd try and buy the biggest desk you can (or have a small desk and use the kitchen table for those bigger projects).  The most economical way of acheiving a large desk is probably by purchasing a couple of trestles with shelves from IKEA (£25 each for the FINNVARD is a bargain) and popping on a length of kitchen worktop (see below).  

Trestle desk

Photograph courtesy of Made in Persbo

2. Chair: depending on how long you spend at your desk every day, don't feel like you need to buy something officey, in fact I'd recommend steering clear of officey furniture if you want to introduce some style.  Instead, treat yourself to a beautiful upholstered chair (like the one below) or use a kitchen chair but style it up with a throw and a cushion (good for comfort too). 

Office Chair

Photograph courtesy of domainehome.com

3. Filing Cabinet: this is essential for keeping all the filing in check so you can leap on anything quickly (or sift through the filing tray which, if you've emptied it regularly, won't take a second).  It's also the perfect spot for an indoor plant or a bunch of flowers.  Plants do afterall clean the air and will make your office space feel less officey (is this a real word?  Not sure it is).  This one has been given a makeover which I think looks rather fabulous although goodness knows how they got the legs on it.

Filing Cabinet

Photograph courtesy of Lovely Chaos

4. Bookcase/Cupboard: this is a great place to keep the printer (if yours is wireless of course otherwise it won't be much use to you), lever arch files, reference books etc.  Make sure you add a favourite ornament and a family photograph or two as although this is an office, this is your home office and adding personal touches will make it more appealing to work in.

5. Bin: very obvious I know but its essential. Make it an attractive one too, not some ugly plastic thing.

6. Pinboard: a pinboard will inspire you whether you're running your business from the home office or just paying the bills and writing birthday cards there.  A pinboard can house anything from the refuse collection timetable to a picture of a dress you saw in Vogue last month.  My pinboard has a picture of Kate Moss on it (inspiration for when I'm thinking about eating a chocolate digestive), an article on Italy, a lamp I'd like to buy (when I win the lottery), details of a flea market in Lille (that I know I won't get round to visiting until the kids have left home) and a picture of a house in Ibiza (again, for when I win the lottery).  Definitely incorporate one into the scheme - it's an attractive (and inspiring) addition to any home office.

Pinboard

The pinboard actually crosses nicely over with the styling part of the home office makeover.  As well as having all the practical elements in place, I think it's important to make it feel comfortable, stylish and a pleasure to work in.

As I mentioned earlier, I'd recommend steering clear of officey furntiure and instead, introduce interesting pieces that add personality. If you're wanting to add style and personality you'll be needing the following:

1. Rug: adding a rug will soften the space and make it feel cosier.  If you have a large office, they can also help 'zone' your desk/working area and also make things more comfortable underfoot.  They're also a great way of adding colour and interest (especially if you try and keep everything else fairly neutral).

Home Office with Rug

Photograph courtesy of Skonahem

2. Artwork & Photographs: Definitely introduce artwork and photographs which will personalise the space and make your office look more homely.

3. Plants & Flowers: house plants or bunches of flowers (dried ones work well if you're not in your office that often) will really improve the space and make you want to stay longer.  A bud vase on your desk with a single bloom from the garden, or even a sprig of rosemary, will brighten your working day.  We stock this rather fabulous one at Andrassy Living.

Dome Vase

4. Lamps: aside from the task lighting that you'll need on your desk, it's important to have overhead lighting to illuminate the room fully and, if you've got the space for a sofa bed for guests, they'll be needing a lamp too (either one on a side table or a floor standing lamp next to the sofa).  This is also a nice spot to catch up on any reading, rather than sitting at the desk all the time.

5. Armchair/sofa: if there's no room for the aforementioned sofa bed, maybe an armchair could be squeezed in.  They make a room look more inviting and by adding a plump cushion and a throw, will again soften the space and make it look more attractive.

6. Paint/wallpaper: The colour you paint your walls is going to be very personal but this office (just to prove that anything goes) is one of my favourites and it's painted BLACK.

Black Home Office

So there you have it, the perfect home office for those that are lucky enough to have one.  For those that don't, a small desk (as long as it's big enough to get your laptop on and a small vase of flowers), a comfortable chair and a pinboard are all you really need to make working at home a happier task.

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