1 December 2023

How to design a comfortable home office

With working from home here to stay for many, we all need more than just our daily caffeine fix to stay motivated. Here's how you can transform your space into an inspiring home office.

One of the most exciting things about owning your own home is being able to design spaces that perfectly suit your lifestyle. With so many of us working from home these days, one of those rooms is likely to be your home office.

Although working from home can help you to cut down on commute times, an inefficient workspace design could have adverse effects on your productivity.

Choosing the right space and equipping it with essential equipment and functional furniture is critical for creating a home office that helps you generate your best work. It doesn't hurt to create an inspiring space that keeps you motivated, either. Plus, you want to ensure your video conferencing backdrop looks professional.

Here are a few home office ideas and tips that you can use to create a workspace that’s as practical as it is pretty.

Think about how you’ll use your space when working from home

Some of the most common mistakes when it comes to designing a home are made by homeowners who don’t give enough thought to exactly how they’ll use the space.

There are plenty of things to think about when you’re setting up your workspace, but the four areas you want to pay the most attention to are:

  • Where in your home you will place your home office;
  • What furniture and equipment you need;
  • How much storage you need;
  • How you will arrange your furniture, equipment and storage efficiently.

The best way to ensure you avoid any design pitfalls is to take note of how you use your current workspace and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What works? What doesn’t?
  • When do you usually work?
  • Will you need to have video calls?
  • What will be happening elsewhere in your home during those hours?
  • Will you have clients in your space?
  • Is there more than one person who needs to use the home office?

Answering all of these questions will help you better understand how to set up your space for success.

Choose a Location

The first step in any home office design is to choose the spot you think will work best for your workspace

Ensure you have enough space

Whichever space you choose, the design rule of thumb is to dedicate at least 150 centimetres by 210 centimetres to your home office. This will ensure that you have plenty of space to fit a decent-sized desk and move your chair around.

Create some separation

It doesn’t have to be huge – it doesn’t even need to be a dedicated room – but it does need to be out of the way of the daily activities that go on at home.

Ensuring that your office can be separated from the rest of your home will help to ensure that you can minimise distractions and interruptions when you’re working from home and relax when you’re off the clock.

If you’re lucky enough to have a spare bedroom, that’s great. If not, no problem. There are plenty of solutions you can use to create the illusion of a separate space. There are a few ways you could do this:

  • Functional room dividers like open bookshelves or modular display cabinets. The open shelves create a sense of separation without forming a visual barrier.
  • Unused space in your living area – like that nook under the stairs or dead space behind the couch – is another great option.
  • A wall-mounted foldaway desk will save a bunch of space and will ensure you're able to put work out of your mind when the day is done.

Consider the light

Don’t forget about the lighting. It’s a key element in every space, especially those where you’ll be reading and writing. Natural light from a big window is first prize, but there’s no need to worry if that isn’t an option. Skylights, overhead and task lighting can all be effectively used to light up the areas where you’ll be working.

Identify Your Essential Equipment

Whether you have a sleek, simple laptop or tower-screen-and-keyboard desktop, you’ll need a variety of equipment to do your job. A Wi-Fi router is likely non-negotiable. But you might want to reduce wire clutter with a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard.

Other wireless devices – like printers and scanners – may be less necessary. If you only need to print or scan documents on the odd occasion, it’s probably a better (and more space-conscious) option to head down to your local copy shop when the need arises.

Think carefully about what you do and don’t need to perform your work as the equipment you have will dictate much of the furniture you need in your workspace.

Find functional and comfortable furniture for your home office

Once you’ve thought about how you’ll use your office, you’ll be in the perfect position to choose furniture that will serve your purpose without cluttering your space.

Office chairs and tables

Naturally, a desk is a necessity. Be sure to select one that has enough space to accommodate all of your essentials. Drawers are also useful for storing stationery, notebooks and other items when they're not in use.

A standing desk is a great option too. Having a table with extendable legs or an adjustable stand that allows you to raise your computer screen when you're working will help to minimise health issues that can arise from sitting too much.

Then there’s the chair. This is one place where you can’t sacrifice function for form. While roller chairs with lumbar support are more ergonomically friendly, you might find that a static chair works better for you. Just be sure the legs are sturdy enough to be drawn towards and away from your desk on a regular basis.

There’s more to office chairs and tables for your home office, though.

Other furniture

You might be prolific enough to need a bookshelf for your files and folios. Alternatively, you may need a couch or additional seat for times when you invite clients or colleagues into your space to work collaboratively. Or you may just prefer to sit on a comfy seat while you’re in one of those late-afternoon video calls.

Whatever your work from home needs, be sure to stick to the necessities. Furniture can easily fill your space and create chaos, so choose those items that you need to function rather than bring in pieces that you think you might use.

Keep Ergonomics in Mind

When it comes to furniture for your home office, it's best to go for items that have an ergonomic design. Having a fit-for-purpose desk and chair will allow you to work comfortably and avoid that dreaded lower back and neck pain that can come with spending hours at your desk.

What to look out for:

  • Desk height: Your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle when typing;
  • Desk size: Every item that you use when working should be within arm's reach on your desk;
  • Seat height: When sitting, your feet should be flat on the ground and your thighs parallel to the floor;
  • Seat size: The seat should be wide enough to accommodate you comfortably;
  • Seat depth: You should be able to sit with your back against the backrest and have 5 to 10 centimetres between the edge of the seat and the back of your knees;
  • Backrest: The backrest needs to have lumbar support and must be wide and high enough to accommodate your back.

Personalise Your Space

One of the greatest joys of working from home is that you aren’t restricted to the standard grey cubicle you might be used to in your office.

Introduce Colour

The materials and colours you use in your space can have a massive impact on your mood – and how you work while you’re in the space. Wood and foliage are proven to reduce stress levels and increase creativity, as do the colours green and purple.

Add Décor

Add a pinch of personality by hanging pictures on the wall or adding shelves with décor items you love. This will ensure you – or the other participants in your video call – have something interesting to look at in those moments when your mind starts to wander.

Some easy ideas include:

  • Bookshelves stocked with interesting books;
  • A gallery wall of bright artwork;
  • Plants – hanging and floor-standing;
  • A pin board filled with work-related notes;
  • Striking wallpaper.

Wherever you set up your workspace in your new home, ensuring that you have enough room and light, plus the right furniture and equipment will help you to create the most comfortable home office.

Check out the Glenveagh's First-Time Buyers Hub and get all the tips and tricks you need to turn the dream of your first home into a reality.