Darren Palmer: Designing a home office that won’t interrupt your work-life balance

Darren Palmer: Designing a home office that won’t interrupt your work-life balance

We work a lot. There’s no denying the long hours and attention any career requires and that all too often extends into your own time and your own space.

We often discuss on The Block how kitchens should allow for the need to tap out the odd email and pay the occasional bill, but if your work demands more of your time while at home, it’s a good idea to consider your home workspace a priority.

Express yourself

Far from being the grey cubicle some are forced into at work, your home office can be a stylish oasis of calm or interest, of cool and cosy, or warm and inviting. This is your place and you can darn well create it in any form you desire.

A home office in Block winner Dea Jolly’s Kew East project.A home office in Block winner Dea Jolly’s Kew East project. Photo: Supplied

Start with the desk

There are great ones to be purchased from IKEA, Officeworks or the likes of Equip Office Furniture that function well, or you could take the road less travelled and buy yourself a beautiful restoration piece, second-hand gem or antique that has character and some well-worn edges.

Or you could decide you prefer the modern route and look for pieces from Freedom, Living Edge or Poliform. The next option in desks is the built-in. You can buy good, modular designs from any number of stores or you could take the time and expense of custom designing and building your own.

Be fussy about shelving

It is as important as your desk and needs to work with its aesthetic style. Pay close attention to the colours, textures and profiles of timber or metal details on the desk and try to tie these in with your shelving to create a cohesive look.

There are plenty of great freestanding or wall-mounted shelving options, but nothing beats a custom-built solution for consistency.

Curb the clutter

Storage doesn’t end with shelving of course. You need places to put things and to conceal all your day-to-day detritus. A place for your printer, the modem, a shredder perhaps?

You’ll need filing cabinets – even if you run a paperless office, sometimes you will need to store an important paper or folder for safe keeping.

Choose your chair wisely

It must be comfortable. It should be beautiful if possible and in keeping with the aesthetic of your space.

A tan leather chair will look young and professional, a dark brown leather says something more stately.

Coloured fabrics can inject a sense of play into this purposeful place, or a white chair might be the minimalist inclusion that’s fits you just right.

Get the lighting spot on

Overhead, or more precisely, over-desk lighting is of functional importance, but you could consider an architectural-looking track lighting solution that allows you to highlight your work area as well as spot lighting a favourite artwork or sculptural piece.

Task lighting is important, for a targeted light source as well as for its aesthetic contribution to the room. You can go fun, or Mad Men, or design classic, or super contemporary with your desk lamp, the choice making a big impact in what could otherwise be a conservative space.

Keep it cosy

Find opportunities to create a sitting/reading nook. A wingback chair might not fit your space but a smaller tub chair may, or you could build in some storage with an upholstered top on which to read important documents. The blend of softness and functionality is the key to creating a well-designed workspace that feels like it belongs in the space it occupies in your home.

Extract from HomeSpace by Darren Palmer (Murdoch Books, $39.99). 

Originally published as: https://www.domain.com.au/living/darren-palmer-designing-a-home-office-that-wont-interrupt-your-worklife-balance-20170908-gxwl0q/

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