Elegant home office essentials
How do you make room for a workspace in your home? Nathalie Marquez Courtney turns to interior design pros for advice.
Working from home is having a moment - and with it, functional but cool home office designs and products. The 2016 census showed a 14pc increase in people working 'mainly at or from home', and that doesn't include office-goers who have the flexibility to log in from home one or two days a week. Further research shows many open-plan offices are not conducive to focused, quiet work and it's easy to understand why an increasing number of us are opting to stay home instead.
"Working from home means I get cuddles from our dog all day, and constant access to tea," laughs Siobhan Lam, who runs her own interiors store April and the Bear (aprilandthebear.com) and works from her Portobello home in Dublin one to two days a week. "There are also fewer distractions, so I get a lot more done."
For interior designer and stylist Lesiele Juliet (lesielejuliet.com), it's all about staying creative. "Having a home office is an opportunity to create somewhere that's an inspiring place to be in," she says. Whether you have a kitchen table, a nook in a sitting room corner or the luxury of an entire room, you have a lot more freedom to create somewhere that reflects your taste and style.
Here are five ways to make your home office work harder:
Prime position Be creative with your room configurations to find the best spot for your home office set up. "I've a large black desk sitting in front of our first-floor window, which overlooks the canal and gets lots of lovely light," says Siobhan. Being near a window not only floods the space with natural light but will bring some natural elements in and allow you to give your eyes a proper rest when working. If you can't be near an open window, add a few house plants to breathe life into the space.
Good vibes only Combat low motivation Mondays with a sweet print or message board with an inspiring quote. Better yet, create a real-life Pinterest board by collating some favourite photos, magazine tears and fabrics. "I love Pinterest, but there's nothing like having the physical images there in front of you," says Siobhan. "It helps define your workspace a bit more. I'm a very visual person, so I keep a mood board above my desk - I pin interiors' imagery, trends I've noted at trade shows, wallpaper samples and even a calendar."
A place for everything… A common downside of working from home is that work clutter tends to accumulate around the house, instead of in one spot. "The key thing for me was having everything together and having things organised," says Lesiele. "I bought shelves to create extra storage and am adding labelled boxes so that everything has its place." Think about your working essentials and make sure you have adequate storage for them. Even if you're at your kitchen table, a dedicated tray or box to hold the stuff you use constantly - cables, pens, notebook - will make set-up and clean-up a breeze.
Take a seat "Make sure your chair is comfortable and supportive," says Siobhan. Don't rush into buying something beautiful, but impractical. Take your time shopping around for the perfect fit. Even if it's not as aesthetically pleasing as other elements in your workspace, it's worth the investment, as you won't last long trying to be productive while sitting in an uncomfortable chair.
Light up Having a home office set-up often means working at odd hours of the day, so make sure your lighting needs are considered. Reflections on your screen or typing by the glow of your monitor will wreak havoc on your eyes long term. Think about roller blinds if your screen tends to get the early morning sun or a desk lamp for evening sessions.
House of Slane leaning desk lamp, €23.49
A stylish, functional lamp that doesn't take up too much desk space, argos.ie
Pomegranate and fig candle, €6
A candle adds instant atmosphere to a work corner, primark.ie
Colourful ballpoint pen set, €6.50
Brighten up note-taking with fun pens, moss.ie