(Catch up on Part 1)
This series is a step by step visualization of the home office design process. The pandemic has made working from home a high priority for a vast many people. Therefore the home office has become one of our main interior design considerations lately. You may work from home full time, part time, or not at all. But you’ll benefit from having a dedicated area that provides focus and utility, while offering an atmosphere that inspires you to spend time in it. Consider it a worthwhile investment of your time to imagine your ideal home office.
If you’ve ever taken a painting class, you may have been told to start with the biggest brush you have to really cover your canvas, and block out your picture. Then you refine to smaller tools as you hone in on the fine detail. Same thing here. Before you can decide what type of aromatherapy will shepherd you through the most stressful of work days, you need to answer some big picture questions. Where will your space be? What relative shape and size is it? What architectural details will you be working with (ceiling height, doors, windows, etcetera).
If you have more than one option for where your office could go, here are some considerations. Think about how open or secluded it needs to be. You might like the intimacy of an enclosed space. Or you might prefer an open air plan, continuous with the rest of your home. If noise intrusions are a perpetual battle for you, then the placement of the office can be your first line of defense. For example, will it overlook a city street or a backyard? And if you have familial distractions, you may need a door that closes. Alternately, your workspace could simply face away from everyone (and include sound blocking headphones!)
At this early stage, I recommend that you give some thought to how you want it to feel. Whether it’s a vision of a certain kind of light (daylight, lamps, ceiling fixtures), a mood (warm, cool, minimal, layered), or your notions of shape (organic, geometric, something in between). This broad stroke thinking helps you achieve some clarity as you form your plan. It can be helpful to work from two angles: one practical, and one psychological (so-called “needs” versus “wants”).
Even though I’m advocating for starting with broad strokes before you refine, it is still important to work on your overall vision the entire time you’re designing. If, from early on, you can conjure a clear image in your mind’s eye of what the space will look like, you will find it so much easier to guide yourself through all the decisions that come along in the process. Yes, you may need to be flexible around some details: when you work with contractors, electricians, or other tradespeople, you may find out that some of your wishes cannot happen exactly the way you want, for practical reasons. But if your vision is strong, you’ll be able to navigate those hiccups and find suitable alternatives.
In design, it pays to be ready for challenges and problem solving. But it’s equally important to honor your vision, so that you get what you really need at the end of it all.