Price: Low to High
Price: High to Low
- First things first: where to locate your home office. For those lucky enough to have a room going spare - however big or small - a dedicated work area is a real boom for the office-at-home and will let you close the door when you've shut up shop at the end of the day. If you don't, never fear, as an unused alcove within a living area or bedroom, a spare corner of a kitchen or even a redundant under-the-stairs spot will do the job just as well. Just make sure you have plenty of plug sockets nearby and adequate space for a desk, chair and filing cabinet at the very least (and a lot of peace and quiet throughout the day).
- Storage is a priority for an efficient, hardworking home office - whether you are starting out on a fledgling cottage industry or going full pelt with a global enterprise. Work out roughly how much and what type of storage you will need and plan accordingly. Open shelves can be picked up cheaply and stacked with books and files that need to be accessed frequently (just make sure they are built to take the weight). Otherwise, stash old invoices and paperwork in box files and store out of sight in a cupboard or attic. Try colour-coded storage for a bold, bright statement and don't forget to keep your desk clear and clutter-free with pencil holders and desk tidies.
- You can't go wrong with a top-to-toe, all-white office to create a space-enhancing, refreshing vibe. Paint the ceilings and walls in a heavy-duty, bright white paint and install good task lighting (desk lamps and spotlights are good here) and ambient lighting (a central pendant light) to work by. Keep surfaces fuss-free and pair with transparent furniture to max out on the minimal factor. If you're feeling a little colour-starved, why not paint one wall in blue - it's well known as a colour to 'up' productivity, help stimulate the brain and get the most out of your hours.
- Desks can take many different guises. Head for a large retail store if you fancy an all-singing, all-dancing office set-up. Otherwise, try an old trestle table or second-hand console and if necessary give it a new lease of life with a quick rub down and fresh paint. Do be aware of dimensions; as a benchmark, a standard computer desk measures 71cm-76cm high and is a comfortable height for most.
- A stylish, comfortable chair is key as you'll be sat at your desk, grafting away (let's hope) for at least 7 hours a day. Good ergonomics is crucial and you will need to ensure your chair is positioned at the right height and at the right angle with arm rests and wrist rests in place if you plan to work on a keyboard for long bursts of time.
- If you are a fan of the vintage, eclectic look, then you won't need to splash out on dedicated home office furniture and fixtures to make your 9 to 5 look the business. In fact, you can probably sneak in pieces that are lying dormant around the rest of your house such as old side tables and wall cabinets. Seek out old, school lockers and second-hand, metal filing cabinets and offset with pretty, whitewashed furniture and a fabric covered pinboard. Give old furniture a lick of pastel paint and let the daily grind become a little more pleasurable.
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