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With glimmers of optimism in the economy, homeowners are more confident and ready to change their homes and experiment with different colors and design styles that reflect the following trends emerging in 2014.

Back to basics. Black and white will be popular for 2014. Both are timeless classics and can be easily juxtaposed with different colors and textures. Charcoal will remain de rigueur.

Pops of color. Vibrant hues such as coral, yellow-green and bright blue and green will dominate infusing vivid accents into neutral palettes. You can never go wrong with a blue and white combo.

A crisp blue and white color scheme is always in style, especially along the coast.

A crisp blue and white color scheme is always in style, especially along the coast.

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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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Are you a globetrotter? Do you love to collect mementos for your home while travelling?

Nothing adds to the décor of a home like special artifacts picked up on one’s travels. But foresight and planning are a must when shopping for your home while on the road. Following are some pointers:

Do your research and stay on point. Always know what you intend to purchase and do so in moderation. Be careful not to bid impulsively at auctions. When purchasing from another individual, it’s OK to say, “I’d like to think about this and let you know.” Do your best to take your emotion out of the deal. And most importantly, don’t collect just for the sake of collecting. Collect items that truly interest you, regardless of their value.

Purchase according to your theme and color palette.

Ensure items are a fit. How can you make sure that a lamp, rug or chair will fit into your existing home décor and space? Know your interior, and know it well. I typically bring 8-1/2″ x 11″ file folders with small swatches of the room’s fabrics along with photos of furniture, and a furniture floor plan (to scale, along with the size of the furniture pieces). There are a variety of apps you can use to help with space planning and color options.

Purchase portable items that you love and are a reflection of you.

Consider numbers, pricing and more: When shopping for collectibles you intend to put on shelves, make sure you know the number of shelves and the continual amount of linear footage. The rule of thumb: approximately two accessories per linear foot. But before shopping for antiques, purchase an updated copy of Miller’s Antique Guide or better yet, bring your tablet or iPad with you, so you can access their website for current information to help guide you on pricing.

When shopping for artwork, know the size of your wall.

Measure, measure, measure: When shopping for artwork, know the size of your wall and the size of the painting. An oil painting should not consume more than 60% of the allowable space of a wall (measuring from end to end, horizontally). This measurement should be inclusive of the frame. Since frames are typically three inches wide, add at least six inches in both the width and height to the size of the painting.

When shopping while you travel, think small. Purchase portable, easily packable items – pieces that will accent your room, not anchor it. Above all, the pieces you buy should reflect you. Purchase according to a theme and color palette instead of accumulating a hodgepodge of knick-knacks.

Always know what you intend to purchase and do so in moderation.

Where do you like to travel and what little treasures have you picked up along the way? Post your photos and stories on our Facebook page.

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