The current public health crisis is encouraging more people to work from home. And while that in itself has awesome perks—like better work-life balance and no stressful commutes—it comes with downsides, too.
Let’s face it. Working on your bed, sofa, or dining table is a bad for your back and your productivity. It can also be distracting especially if you don’t have a dedicated space to get real work done. Working from home will probably be part of the new normal going forward, so it might be time to invest in a home office. Here are some tips from the best interior designers in Singapore on how to create a stylish and functional ‘headquarters’ at home that you will be glad to spend time in.
- Go on Pinterest for some ideas.
Pinterest is probably one of the best platforms for getting design inspiration. But beware—many of the pictures there look great but don’t translate well to real life. Some of the home offices there look great in pictures but are not designed for a 40-hour work week. For example, velvet dining room chairs won’t provide support for your back even though they look amazing. Those beautiful vintage desks will probably be to a tiny for your project files. And those brightly coloured walls? You might get sick of looking at them after a few weeks.
Too much design noise can be distracting. If you want to use interesting colours in your home office, you can do so by bringing in an accent rug or some throw pillows, or perhaps a framed art to give interest to your walls. Remember: home office should be functional first, and stylish second.
- Think about ergonomics.
If you want to become portable working on your desk all day, make sure that the top part of your computer screen is at your eye level or a little lower. This ensures that your eyes naturally close a bit as you read down the screen, moistening themselves and reducing overall eye fatigue. Your keyboard should be positioned so that when you type, your forearms are comfortably parallel to the floor. Choose an office chair that is an adjustable so that you can customize its height. Your feet should rest firmly on the floor as you work—or on a footrest if your legs are short.
The office chair is probably one of the most important pieces of furniture in any home office. Go ahead and splurge in one that you don’t mind sitting in for hours. You have to love your chair; otherwise, you won’t be productive.
- Go to where the light is.
Don’t make the mistake of putting your desk in the darkest corner of your home office, against the wall. If you do this, you are recreating a boring corporate cubicle without meaning to. The best interior designers in Singapore recommend moving your desk closer to your windows, placing it parallel to the window panes. This way you get all the benefits of natural light—and the motivation to look away from your computer screen every once in a while and enjoy the view.
- It’s all about lighting.
It’s a good idea to bring in desk lamps even if your home office is blessed with a lot of natural light. You will want good lighting when it gets dark outside and you’re working overtime (or working the night shift).Overhead house lighting is usually inadequate. Invest in a table lamp or two so that you can direct light where you want it to go. Lamps also create a soft glow and brings character to even the most generic home offices.
- Stay away from filing cabinets.
Filing cabinets sure are functional, but there not the best-looking options for storage. Instead you can try installing floating shelves on the wall. The cheapest solutions are magazine racks in children’s display shelves. If you have a lot of documents to store, a bookcase might be the most practical choice. The key is to get something that is big enough so that you don’t end up overstuffing it—and something good looking enough to be a backdrop for your video calls.
Do you intend to use the guest bedroom as your home office? Then it probably already has a closet. Add a shelving system inside that closet and use it as office storage.
- Bring in some comfortable accent furniture.
If you have the room for it, go ahead and create a spot to read and relax. The best interior designers in Singapore recommend putting comfy chair—maybe one with a matching ottoman and small table—to use when you want to take a break, enjoy a cup of coffee, or even take a nap. Establishing a mini comfort zone is something you can’t do in a traditional office, so take advantage of the opportunity and do it at home.
- Plants are always a good idea.
Science is proven that plants can make us happier. Bringing nature into your workspace is a great way to improve your mood. Most house plants don’t have to be watered every day, which means that you don’t necessarily have to go into your home office on weekends just to water them, if you don’t want to. You can’t say that about living things like aquarium fish.
- Make the space dynamic.
The best way to do this is to personalize thoughtfully. Make it a point to switch up the photos on your desk or even the art on your wall and mementos of success. If flow ahead and put up framed prints of things that make you smile, and then change them into something else after a few weeks. You can also use different scents to make the office feel different. When things don’t move around, they become boring—like wall paper. The easiest way to bring new energy into your space is to change out the little details.
- Hide anything you’d rather not see constantly.
Take those cords? Install a power strip and take back control. You hate ugly office equipment like printers? Don’t worry—you can always check them in a closet. Some people don’t even have printers at home, but it’s no doubt a useful addition. You don’t have to get rid of yours. The key is to position it so that you don’t see it all the time.
- Stock up on office supplies.
This is especially important during this time when we all have to do our part in keeping our contact with the outside world to a minimum. Buy your essential office supplies—such as copy paper, pens, staples, a pair of scissors, envelopes and folders, etc.—in bulk so that you don’t run out often. Do you love coffee and snacks? Consider putting a small fridge in your office, and perhaps even treat yourself to a compact coffee maker. These little things can make all the difference in making you more productive.