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Working At Home: Tips for Creating the Perfect Home Office

On March 22, 2013, in Posts, by Warren Sheets

Tax time is looming, which brings to mind deductions –and a great home office space.

Whether you work every day from home, occasionally telecommute or simply need a space for paying bills and answering email, a comfortable floating desk and aesthetically appealing home office is a fundamental room in your home.

A comfortable and aesthetically appealing office space, such as this one at The Grand Del Mar, is a fundamental room in your home.

A comfortable and aesthetically appealing office space, such as this one at The Grand Del Mar, is a fundamental room in your home.

Following are some tips for creating an efficient but attractive home office:

Pick the right room. A spare room is a logical location for a home office but look around your home for other options from a large closet to an attic to a converted garage. When choosing your space, consider functionality, comfort and lighting. Additionally take into account how the office location will impact your family or housemates. Will you work at night? Will clients meet with you here?

Maximize space. Most home offices are fairly small, so maximize your available space. Use furniture that serves multifunctional purposes and install built-in bookshelves and furniture which can provide much needed extra space and storage.

Clear clutter. An organized and uncluttered space is more conducive to work and also appears larger than one filled with many accessories and knick-knacks. Designate specific storage areas for office supplies and materials. Keep your design simple and avoid unnecessary frills.

Functionality rules. Remember this is a working environment, so while it should be aesthetically appealing, functionality rules. Essentials – such as calendars, files, computer, printer and more should all be easily accessible.

Your chair should have adjustable height and arm rests, like this functional chair from Herman Miller.

Your chair should have adjustable height and arm rests, like this functional chair from Herman Miller.

Pick the right desk and chair. Your desk should be practical and able to store what you need, while simultaneously occupying a small amount of space. Because so much information can be stored electronically, a small writing desk may suffice. Your office chair is critical, as you will spend much time here.  Make sure it has low tension in the back so you can recline slightly. Your chair should also have adjustable height and arm rests.

Lighting is key. Ideally, your home office will have plenty of natural light. Since good task lighting is fundamental, don’t pick a light fixture because it is pretty. You should have overhead directional lighting from behind you combined with incandescent lighting (such as a table lamp), LED, halogen, etc.

Get motivated. Personalize your workplace by decorating with selected items such as pictures and mementos that motivate and inspire. Hang photos of friends, colleagues and family; frame encouraging quotes or your children’s artwork.

Home office furniture, such as this chair from A. Rudin, should be comfortable yet functional.

Home office furniture, such as this chair from A. Rudin, should be comfortable yet functional.

Prepare for technology. Plan ahead carefully to facilitate equipment and technology needs. Most importantly make sure the number and placement of electrical and phone outlets is adequate.

Color counts too. Color is a personal decision, and colors can inspire people differently. By all means, choose a color scheme that energizes and motivates you. I suggest pairing rich colors with a neutral trim. Carefully consider what works best with your furnishings and accessories.

Above all, keep in mind this is an essential space that you will most likely use every day for long periods of time. Create an area that is comfortable, functional and, most important, appeals to you personally.

Are you reading this blog from your home office? Take some pictures of your work at home office space and we’ll post them on our Facebook page. Now back to work!

WritingDesk2

A writing desk can provide a distinctive alternative to standard office desks.

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Spring is in the Air: Time to Freshen Up

On March 6, 2013, in Posts, by Warren Sheets

Daylight savings time is around the corner and spring is in the air! In addition to some serious spring cleaning, it’s time to refresh and reinvent your decor for the warmer months ahead.

Add bright, color fabrics in fun patterns like these from Thibaut.

Add bright, color fabrics in fun patterns like these from Thibaut.

Infusing a fresh look into your home for the coming season can be as simple as purchasing new accessories or adding bright new colors. Following are some ideas:

  • Change out a few items in a room. Paint dark wood trim a glossy white; add decorative, colorful pillows; paint the ceiling a color that pops; layer bright damask scarves on colorful tablecloths; add a bowl brimming with seashells; assemble five or six glass vases and fill with brightly colored marbles; install colorful new lamp shades.
  • Freshen up your bedroom with a colorful new duvet cover and replace dark or heavy drapes with breezy white sheers.
  • Rematting framed photos can make a big difference. Paint mattes with ordinary house paint, using vivid colors that accentuate.
  • Add colorful flowers to keep your room fresh and seasonal. Fresh fruits are a wonderful accent too. Fill a big glass bowl with lemons, apples or tangerines.

    Colorful flowers keep a room fresh and seasonal.

    Colorful flowers keep a room fresh and seasonal.

  • A coat of fresh paint can brighten your home, and bold colors are big this season. Create a vibrant palette by listing out colors you like. Then ask your local paint store for “drawdowns” of the colors you choose. Drawdowns are larger samples – usually 8″ x 12″ – and easier to work with than small cards. Cut the drawdowns into four paint swatches, so you can easily mix and match colors to see what works.
  • Create a color palette for spring that consists of at least one warm, one cool, one neutral and one additional slightly edgy color that juxtaposes the others. Don’t play it safe – take a color risk!
  • Add some sass and sparkle to your home with metallic accents and accessories. A hint of bronze or silver adds shimmer and an element of interest. Try vases, picture frames, lamp bases and more.
  • Purchase new and colorful area rugs, which can alter the look of your room by setting the tone and color palette.
  • Scent matters too. Choose deliciously scented candles and flowers that smell like spring, such as lilacs, roses and gardenias.

If you opt to make significant changes to your home this season, always think about “scale,” and ask yourself “What is the proportionality of this change in relationship to the existing surfaces?” What surfaces impact the room the most? For example, changing an area rug will make a significant difference because of the amount of floor space that is affected. Make a list of changes that are important and identify which items are more critical than others. Then itemize the changes, along with the time frame and cost for each.

Metallic accents add sass and sparkle.

Metallic accents add sass and sparkle.

Happy spring! As always, feel free to email me or post on our Facebook page with questions, comments or pictures of your spring changes!

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