With more and more people turning to self-employment — and more workplaces offering the flexibility to work from home — having a dedicated home office space is rapidly becoming a must. While working from bed or your sofa sounds intriguing, in reality, it is most definitely not ideal. Working from home means more distractions, so it’s important to craft a tranquil space that lends itself to getting sh*t done while fostering productivity and creativity.
Today, designer Makini Regal Brereton (who knows firsthand what it takes to craft a stellar studio) is taking us through her tips for designing a home office space that inspires, motivates, and encourages you to be your best — and sure, yes, one you can wear your PJs in. –Sabrina
Photography by Amy Anaiz
In 2011, when I first started Makini Regal Designs, a floral and event design company, I insisted on getting a studio/office space. However, I was quickly brought back to reality after learning the cost of renting a storefront in booming Brooklyn. The day I was scheduled to sign a 10-year commercial lease and make the deposit, I got cold feet and backed out. Instead of renting a workspace, I turned the parlor floor of my brownstone into a home office.
Although flowers and weddings are my first love, I jumped at the opportunity to flex my interior design muscles when I started getting requests from my clients to decorate their homes. Recently, wedding photographer Amy Anaiz (of Amy Anaiz Photography) asked me to help her create the perfect home office. She wanted a workspace that was not only functional, but also one that reflected her personality.
For those of us who are entrepreneurs, we understand that working from home has its perks, but creating the perfect home office can be challenging. Some of the questions that I will address in this post are:
• What area of my home should I convert into a home office?
• How do I create a home office that’s both comfortable and functional?
• Does my home office need to reflect my brand?
• Should I add personal elements in my home office?
Let There Be Light
When creating a home office, you want to first start with finding the brightest area of your home. Nothing makes a room feel more inviting than light, and you don’t want your workspace to feel like a dreaded, dark cubicle. If you’re as lucky as Amy and have a sun-drenched living room, you’re one step closer to having a bright and cheery workspace that will surely improve your mood and increase your focus and productivity. However, even if your space has the best natural light, I would recommend adding additional lighting in your home office. Having floor and table lamps not only allows for an extended workday, but also adds a nice ambient feel to your space. If you’re windowless or using your basement as a home office, don’t fret. Add an accent mirror to reflect the light and try bringing the outdoors in by hanging a scenic photo above your desk. Also, regardless of where you choose to set up your home office, keep your color palette light and airy. That will give you the illusion of a brighter and bigger space.
Comfort is Key
Now that you’ve found your light, it’s time to create a comfortable and functional home office. You can achieve that by first determining how you plan to use your workspace. Make sure to map out your workflow and room layout before purchasing any furniture. For Amy, she spends a great deal of time in front of her computer editing photos. As such, I wanted to make sure that she had a big enough desk to accommodate her desktop. Also, because she’s sitting for long periods of time, we invested in a great chair that was both stylish and comfortable for Amy and her pooch, Pearly, who enjoys the occasional nap on it.
Since Amy sometimes meets with her clients at her home office, I made sure to include a small seating area for meetings. The table also acts as an additional surface for files and a great place to grab a bite. In addition, I included a bar cart in the space which she uses to serve refreshments and display a few of her favorite things. However you plan to use your home office, make sure that your workspace has sufficient storage. A cluttered workspace reflects a cluttered mind!
Reflect Your Brand
When creating the perfect home office, you want to ensure that your workspace not only reflects your style and personality, but also your brand. Your home office should mirror who you are as a brand and a business. That’s especially true when you’re meeting clients in your workspace. You want to consider the following when creating the perfect home office: What image is your workspace projecting? Does your workspace mirror your marketing goals? Can your brand be easily identified by your workspace?
One of the ways in which I “brandified” Amy’s space was by adding touches of her branding colors throughout the décor. You can see blues and yellows in several elements throughout her space. Bringing your brand’s colors into your home office is an easy way to communicate your brand to your clients. In addition, I designed the space to reflect her marketing message. Amy promises her clients a real photography experience filled with organic memories. Her home office is modern and chic, but also has a laid-back and whimsical feel. If you create a home office that reflects who you are as a brand, it will be a daily reminder of your business goals and motivate and encourage you as you grow your brand.
Zhoozh It Up!
Now, on to my favorite step: Adding that “Umph” or “Zhoozhing” up your home office. Now that you’ve created a bright, functional and branded workspace, it’s time to zhoozh it up. Like any good flowernista, one of my favorite ways to zhoozh up a space is by adding fresh flowers and plants. Flowers and plants not only make people happy, but they also bring life and energy to any space. And of course, nothing beats the fragrance of fresh flowers. Your desk, bookshelf or worktable is the perfect place to display your gorgeous floral arrangements and plants.
To add even more flair to your office décor, try incorporating personal touches and items that inspire you. A piece of art, special photos of your loved ones, keepsakes from your travels or your favorite book can channel creativity, keep you calm and most importantly motivate and remind you of why you work so hard. In Amy’s home office, I zhoozhed up her space by adding a few of her favorite quotes, trinkets, and books and magazines, including the magazine cover she photographed.
Now that you know my four tips for creating the perfect home office, it’s your turn to design a workspace that inspires, motivates, and encourages you to be your best. Despite some of the challenges that we all may face when working from home, the advantages surpass the challenges. After all, who doesn’t enjoy the occasional day working from home in your PJs?!