In the era of COVID-19, more and more people are working from home. Home office is the name of the new work model that seems to be gaining acceptance in many companies, even in the post-Corona era. The reason: many companies have noticed that working from home can definitely work. The preconceptions that only those who are present in the office can work properly and that there are too many distractions in the home office have been disproved. Instead, months of working from the home office have convinced many company bosses that when their employees work from home, they are generally more balanced, less stressed and therefore more productive. That's because not having to travel to work saves them a lot of time, which they can use for leisure instead. They become more relaxed, healthier and happier. And that's reflected in the way they work: more productivity, better efficiency. You'll also find everything you need to know in our comprehensive guide to interior design advice.
But the whole thing only works if the workspace at home is as well-equipped as in the office. Apart from the necessary technology and that all devices and programs work smoothly from home, the home office should also convince on other levels. With the right furnishings that make long (comfortable and back-friendly sitting possible for hours) and an ambience that promotes creativity and boosts our productivity, we are driven to masterful performance. This is precisely where the advantage over the office comes into play: since we are at home, we can design our workplace entirely according to our ideas and individual needs. Standard workstations in open-plan offices, to which we first have to get used and which are still not perfect after getting used to, are a thing of the past. In the home office at home we have endless possibilities to create a great working atmosphere with favorite furniture, colors on walls and floors and the right accessories.
Integrating your workroom into your home
The problem with working from home is that not everyone has their own study that they can furnish as they wish with ideas from experts. Therefore, people often resort to other rooms in which a small work corner is integrated.
The best places for this are the living room and bedroom - depending on where you have a little space left over.
On the other hand, if you have an unused niche or corner in another room, this space is also perfect for converting into a study.
But to get the most out of the (usually limited) space, there are a few things to keep in mind. The following tips will give you a good guide to the perfect home office.
Keep in mind that there is a solution for every (furnishing) issue - you just have to be creative and think outside the box. We have summarised even more tips on how to furnish your office according to Feng Shui for you in another article.
1 | The right place for the work corner
Let's get one thing straight: the dining room table in the kitchen or dining room is not the right place for your home office nook. During the first weeks of Corona, many set up their workspace at the kitchen table, but soon found that working from home doesn't work well that way. The biggest problem: the kitchen chairs, which are usually not ergonomic, cause back pain, and even visually comfortable upholstered chairs don't deliver in practice what their looks promise. Conventional dining chairs are simply not designed for long periods of sitting. And they are certainly not ergonomic.
Therefore: If you want to integrate your study into your home, create a clear separation between the living area and the work area. This is not only better for your back, but also for your well-being. After all, who wants to be constantly reminded of work? That's what inevitably happens when you set up your home office at the dining table or living room table. On top of that, it's impractical because you'll have to constantly put away your work stuff when you want to use the space privately.
Therefore, take a good look around your home first: Is there unused space you could use for your work nook? Is there an alcove under the stairs or a corner with just a small shelf that you could put somewhere else? Remember, thinking around corners also means you may have to move furniture to fit your study. Basically, almost every home has unused space and therefore potential for your home office.
Once you have found a potential space for your study, check if it meets the following two requirements:
1. do you have good lighting conditions?
Your work corner should be nice and bright, that is, have enough daylight. This is essential for us to be able to work well. Ideally, there should be a window nearby that lets enough daylight into the room and provides good basic lighting (at least on bright days).
2. can you see the workspace from the sofa, bed or dining table?
Living and working areas should be separated as much as possible, so that you can really switch off and relax after work. For this reason, your home office should be as hidden as possible or blend discreetly into the architectural surroundings (keyword: niche). If, on the other hand, you look directly at your work corner when you're lying in bed in your bedroom or chilling on the sofa in your living room at the weekend, it's hard to really switch off.
However, if your room or apartment doesn't allow you to have a view of your home office from your living area, try using accessories and decorations to distract from the "Work" aspect. For example, hang a large mural that will draw everyone's attention, distracting them from the desk and computer.
Abstract images in intense colors or impressive motifs such as dreamlike landscapes are good for creating as much distance as possible from the subject of the work.
2 | Separate work corner & living area from each other
Even if your workspace is not visible from the sofa or bed, it's worth separating the two areas spatially.
Shelf walls and room dividers are best suited for this purpose. Room dividers have the advantage that they are open on both sides, so they create an airy spatial effect. You can also choose shelves that are not too high. These will serve as a privacy screen when you're sitting, but make the room look open and spacious when you're standing.
In addition, they offer plenty of storage space and are ideal for decorating the work corner in a homely way.
Another advantage: with shelves as room dividers, you avoid any distractions. For example, if your partner is watching TV on the couch next door, you can stay focused on your work with headphones on.
As an alternative to room dividers, you can also opt for shelving systems that you can flexibly expand - for example, if you need more storage space.
Sliding panels are also a good way to separate living and working areas. Just make sure that you select translucent, semi-transparent models if the work area is not directly adjacent to the window.
You can also use chests of drawers and sideboards to separate your home office from the living room or bedroom. However, you should keep in mind that distraction is still possible due to low furniture. However, if the room is spacious and there is enough space between the two areas, chests of drawers and sideboards can be enough to separate them. Moreover, you can place taller plants on them, which will serve as an additional demarcation. Not only will they provide better air quality, but as a wall of plants, they will prevent any form of distraction.
For small rooms, a pretty screen could be the ideal solution. Matching the style of living room or bedroom, you can find screens made of natural materials such as wood, bamboo, rattan, paper or metal, which are also extremely decorative.
Visual separation of work area and living area
If a spatial separation of the workplace doesn't work, you can visually separate the two areas. By using different wall colors or a different floor design, you can separate your work corner from the rest of the room.
For example, you can choose a different wall color for a study that is integrated into the living room. If you don't want to paint the whole wall, you can also color only parts of the wall. For example, work with colored stripes that make it clear: This is where the work area begins.
For a study that is integrated into the bedroom, on the other hand, you can use a carpet that delimits the work area. Even if your bedroom is carpeted, you can use this method to add a layered look to your workspace.
Alternatively, you can choose furniture in a different style for your work corner. If the desk and office chair are clearly different in design from the rest of the furniture, this would also achieve a visual separation of the two areas.
3 | The perfect desk for your integrated workroom
For work corners that are set up in living room or bedroom, it is recommended to pick really nice office furniture. Thus, the desk should look homely and provide a cozy and warm ambience. Tables made of solid wood are the most suitable. The warm wood tones add warmth to the room, and the unique grains look authentic and natural.
Solid wood desks aren't your cup of tea? Then how about a white desk in a subtle Scandinavian style with legs made of wood? The straightforward, understated design usually blends in easily with a wide variety of styles.
Whichever style you choose: In any case, desks with drawers or cabinet doors are clever. Depending on how much storage space is available, you can store your documents and folders, as well as pens and other small items directly in the desk. With that being said, storage space becomes even more important the smaller your home or work nook is.
Desks for small rooms
For very small rooms, secretaries are a great option. These small desks have practical storage space and are often lockable. This way, documents and pens simply disappear behind the door, creating a tidy ambience in no time.
In addition, corner desks are a clever, space-saving solution for small workrooms. If you really want to place your work corner in the corner of the living room or bedroom - or perhaps in the hallway - a small corner desk is predestined. It makes perfect use of the space and is ideal if there is a lack of space in the home office.
If you are limited to an absolute minimum of space, a folding desk is a good solution. Such a folding desk can simply be folded down after work is done, so that no floor space is taken up.
Just make sure that the folding table can carry the necessary weight of laptop etc. and choose a size that is sufficient for your purposes. Especially if you often work from home, you should select folding desks that have a comfortable width.
4 | A nice desk chair for your workroom
Just like the desk, the desk chair should have a homely design for your integrated work corner. Today, there are office chairs that are ergonomic and visually appealing. You can pick between modern swivel chairs in velvet, office chairs in Scandinavian style with wooden frame, modern swing chairs and maximum comfortable swivel chairs with wheels, high backrest and armrests.
Here, make sure that the chair fits the height of the desk. However, since most desk chairs are height adjustable, this should not be a problem. However, if your office chair has armrests, it should ideally slide under the desk - especially if space is limited. So for small work nooks, the office chair should be able to be lowered enough, so you can slide it under the desk, so it doesn't get in the way.
5 | Storage space in the home office
Storage space is key, especially for small workspaces. In addition to shelves, cabinets and dressers, you can use boxes, baskets and crates. These should be functional and have a homely look. Boxes and baskets made of natural materials such as wicker, rattan and other wickerwork such as water hyacinth are particularly suitable for a warm and cozy ambience.
Technical devices such as printers and scanners are best stored in closed compartments. Either find a place in a desk or shelf, or get boxes and crates of the right size, make a hole in them for the cable, and use them as storage space for rather unsightly technical equipment.
Also, be sure to make use of the space in the heights - especially if the space in the study is limited. It's often underestimated how much storage space can be created by wall shelves and wall boards - all without taking up floor space. You can then accessorize the hanging shelves with beautiful boxes and baskets or plants for decoration.
6 | The right workroom lighting
Daylight is essential for proper lighting in the study. Ideally, there should be a window on the side of the desk. That way you won't be dazzled, but you'll still have enough light.
In addition, you should install a ceiling lamp in the room - if you don't already have one. This will provide the necessary basic brightness in the evening and on darker days.
And finally, a nice desk lamp is indispensable. Choose a functional table lamp in a modern design. Because the principle also applies to the desk lamp: the lamp should not look like work.
The reading lamp should also be adjustable, so you can direct the light beam where you need it.
Modern LED desk lamps that allow you to choose between different light intensities and colors are also ideal. This gives you the flexibility to adjust the lamp to your individual needs.
By the way: You can also place additional lamps such as floor lamps, wall lamps and decorative table lamps on shelves or chests of drawers in the room: This promotes a cozy ambience and increases the brightness in the room, which has a positive effect on our concentration.
7 | Practical & decorative workroom accessories
Finally, functional and beautiful accessories will make you feel comfortable in your home office and will help you work productively and with concentration. You should combine the useful with the beautiful, and also think about yourself when selecting: What calms you down? What inspires you? What makes you happy?
Here are a few inspirations for workroom decor:
- A vase of fresh flowers or alternatively a dried flower branch.
- A scented candle that transforms your study into a real oasis of well-being.
- Beautiful houseplants - not only as decoration, but also to improve the air.
- Beautiful wall murals with inspirational quotes or favorite landscapes.
- Memo boards in great designs that help you keep track of everything important.
- Mood boards that serve as individual deco and with which you always have your current creative project in front of your eyes.
We have also put together some ideas for you on how to set up a home office.
What are the most important considerations when I want to integrate an office into the living room?
Integrating an office into a living room requires careful planning and design considerations to ensure that the space is functional, aesthetically pleasing and fits harmoniously with the living room. Here are some important considerations:
Routing cables: Make sure cables and electronic devices are neatly routed to avoid clutter.
Colours and style: Colours and furnishings should match the overall design. A consistent style is helpful for integrating the workspace with the rest of the room.
Organise: Carefully plan how you will organise your workspace. A tidy workspace promotes productivity and is aesthetically pleasing.
Acoustics: Think about the acoustics in the room, especially if you are working in an open plan living room. Carpets, curtains and acoustic partitions can help reduce noise levels.
Personal touch: Make the room cosier and more inviting by adding personal elements. Pictures, plants or decorations can beautify the workplace.
Flexibility: Consider the possibility of changing or adapting the workspace as needed. A flexible design allows the space to be used according to changing needs.
It is worth taking a closer look at the different furnishing styles and discovering your own preferences in order to create a personal living ambience.