In one way or another, the global pandemic has changed the way we live and communicate with our family and friends; one of the biggest changes has been that we are all in a home office how we are managing it. Until a few weeks ago, only 1.6 million of the UK working population worked from home, that figure today is as high 8 million*.
As non-essential workers are told to stay home to save lives, many have found themselves in a position of working from home, some for the very first time in their careers.
Kitchen tables have been turned into makeshift home offices, living rooms are now conference rooms and if you’re anything like us, using Zoom and Google Meet has become part of our daily routine. Now whilst we are a furniture company we work directly with you, the public but, for a lot of office based stuff we have to work from our computers and even for some, create stunning designs for those sending in plans today.
(Note: We can still design your new living space, just send us measurements and we will be in touch for a discussion.)
The home office is now an essential part of our lives and with that, we are all taking stock of the kind of office environment we want, and in the spaces of our home that we now realise that we can turn into something more work based but stylish.
As a bespoke furniture maker, we have created many home offices over the years and even continue to build new offices to this day.
Here is our guide to a few different office looks you can achieve by taking some basic home office design ideas.
The integrated office
An integrated home office is one that uses the functional areas around the seating space to create storage areas, shelving and even the desk space into one whole functional unit.
This is where built in units and bespoke carpentry are more than likely required to ensure a perfect fit. Things like fillers down the side of the wall may be used to compact out spaces that are more awkward. Cabinets that are built into these areas can even be standard size and add to the general look and feel of the room.
Choose colours for the integrated area carefully. You don’t want to mix and match too much with the rest of the room but moreover, add to it. It could even be the simple details such as your accessories that bring out little highlight colours and functions.
Desk lamps to hanging lights and even built in lighting in the shelves can expose more artificial lights in areas where furniture can sometimes be a little more “design heavy”.
The Minimal look
In a weird kind of way, the minimal office look can be the hardest to achieve because you are playing with fewer items but trying to make things look in place. However, there are a few basic tips that you can stick to and create a look that really makes your office area really stand out.
Think of a fitted desk, one that occupies the space without overpowering the general size and feel of the room. Built in shelving that can be one of two specific looks; thick to make the space look taller or, thin, to make the space look wider.
Finally, think colour schemes. If you have a smaller space think of more neutral light colours, and accent one wall with a feature colour to make the minimal space to really stand out.
The small office space
Many people don’t have huge home office space and that extra “box” room that many have in the home inevitably has been turned into a makeshift home office. This is where space is a little tight to create a fully integrated look but also, the small office space could be part of a bigger room area (see combined office space below).
What is key here is achieving a look and feel that not only works for you but is also practical. Again, shelving for files, photos, pictures and even plants are all essential in this space. Inserting draws could be a little more complicated but not impossible. It all depends on the amount of space you have to work with.
Narrow areas require more bespoke fittings so they don’t look out of place whilst wider areas need to think carefully about functional office shelving and storage for things such as printers and home assistant technology.
The statement office
If you have a room that is as regal as a scene from Downton Abbey then, this office space is more about a home statement and working area for you. This is perfect for those that have a home living space where the office is part of their daily life.
This requires a level of the integrated office space as well as elements of the minimal office space that is equally attractive in this kind of set up.
Balance between integrated furnishings and soft finishes that the minimal look brings can really make this statement area really stand out.
Colour schemes are really important in this space as well. From the furniture which can be either wood finish or painted to the walls and even the accent colours from artwork and electrical devices, it all matters here. Employing an interior designer into these spaces would be highly advisable from the get-go.
The combined office space
Some rooms don’t have the possibility of being separate from one another so that’s why the combined office space has become a feature for many households today. Think how the kitchen and living room are now one and the same space. For many modern homes or homes which have been extensively extended, the home office may now feature in these spaces.
Designers and architects are always thinking about where to maximise certain spaces as well. Corridors have inserts for seating areas which can also double up as a makeshift office space – although this may just as likely not be the best solutions for you.
Kitchen areas for example could take the mantle of that extended home office space, especially if you have the area for it. Likewise using an office space between open plan rooms to break up the two rooms could be a solution that appeals to many.
You want to focus on integrated units and desks, shelving to give the eye something to focus as well as be practical and functional in a living space. What you don’t want to do is overpower those combined areas with furniture that is mixed and matched or overpowers the general feel of the room.