By: Amy Brook-Partridge
Looking to set up your home office or study and don’t know where to start? Our specialists walk us through the steps you need to take. Whether you’re looking for a quiet space for your laptop, a fully kitted-out home office for your business, or a corner where your child can study, there are important factors to take into account when picking the right furniture.
Choosing the space
Creating division and being able to separate yourself from your work is important. It’s preferable to run your home office in a separate room; having a door helps to differentiate between home and work, but a screen can also be used to demarcate a study corner.
“When it comes to deciding on items, think about whether a larger working area is required,” says Anita Sam, managing director of Journey East. “We believe simplicity is key, and less is usually more. A larger home office space does not necessarily equate to more clutter, and a good amount of space will do wonders for creating a serene and productive setting.”
Make sure the area is equipped to deal with any technology, with plenty of electrical sockets, and preferably no dips in the Wi-Fi network speed or your phone connection, particularly if you’re planning on using your mobile rather than a home phone.
There’s little worse than buying pieces of furniture that either don’t fit at all, or have to be squeezed into a space so tightly there’s no room for anything else, you included. “Measure up the space to help you determine the size of the desk and shelving needed, and what will fit,” says Anita. “Another tip is to measure the lift, doorway and stairwell to facilitate smooth delivery of the items.”
Deciding on a desk
We may be living a relatively wireless, paperless and clutter-free existence nowadays, but there’s one thing no home office can do without, and that’s a desk. “The desk is the heart of the home office, and to us the best starting point,” says Anita.
Furniture that reflects your style
A professional office should have a consistent and cohesive look, so think about which style you want to go for. “Many home office owners are starting to blend clean minimalism with industrial elements,” says Anita. She also points out that vintage furniture can be versatile. “It works well in an eclectic environment, but it also works in a minimalist home since it helps add character to a room. Well-crafted, well-restored solid wood vintage furniture is timeless, fuss-free and durable.”
Thinking about your needs
“After a customer has measured up or, even better, drawn up a floor plan, and comes into our store, the typical questions we would ask them would include: How much time will you be spending in this room? Do you prefer working at a desk or on an armchair or sofa? How much storage do you need for books and files? Does the room need to double as a guest bedroom or television room?” says Sally Paine, general manager at Originals.
Using small spaces
“It may be the opposite of what your instincts tell you, but if you have a smaller space, going for the biggest items of furniture your room can fit will keep the space as streamlined as possible,” says Sally. “Scaling down your furniture can often lead to you running out of storage or work space and therefore needing to buy additional items of furniture which add clutter and a feeling of being cramped.”
“Office furniture is much less formal than it used to be, with a sense of playfulness which didn’t exist before,” says Sally. “With more and more people working from home rather than going to an office, this room in the house has to be a place of inspiration rather than just a place of organisation.”
To make your home office your own, try buying a chair and reupholstering it in a fun and unexpected fabric choice. “We love the Korla range for this,” says Sally. “Or splurge on one item you love such as a piece of artwork or a rug. Making one expensive item the focal point allows you to economise on the rest of the interior scheme.”
Think outside the box when it comes to designated office furniture. “Sometimes, a customer will fall in love with a breathtaking Indian door; we can convert this into a unique desk using a metal base and a glass top. Often, you can also repurpose furniture from other parts of the home to fit your needs in the office,” Sally adds.
Early Learning: tips for buying children’s study furniture
Creating a space that’s conducive for a tween or teen to study in is a different story, as Origin Asia’s Rebecca Mo attests. “For youngsters, it’s good to make sure edges and corners are more rounded. Also, parents tend to think a lower desk will suit kids, but it’s actually better to get the standard height and have swivel chairs that can be adjusted to a comfortable level.”
In terms of style, neutral is the way to go. “Customers tend to prefer white-painted furniture, particularly if they are buying for kids under ten years old. We aim for our children’s furniture to be used for the next ten to 20 years, until they are sick of the look! We strongly recommend customers not go for pinks and blues just because they look cute. Youngsters will sooner or later grow out of the look.”
A study desk is an essential part of a young person’s room, says Rebecca, and it’s best to make it part of the main plan for their space. “A bed, a desk and a bookcase are musts. If the space is limited, make use of the vertical space – for example, choose a loft bed and place a bookcase and desk underneath it.” If siblings are sharing, choose a bunk bed with storage in the steps, and one desk which can be used from both sides.
Finally, don’t forget to include your children in the decision-making process. Their study furniture should last them through school and reflect their own personality and style.
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