WORK FROM HOME: Creating a productive and inspirational home office

Posted in Home Design, Interior Lighting, Lighting Tips

WORK FROM HOME: Creating a productive and inspirational home office

Working from home - it’s something we’ve all thought about at some point in our career. The freedom to create your schedule, the ability to stay in your sweats all day. The home office is quickly becoming a space we are spending more of our time. With shifts in the way we work and communicate, the dream of working from home is now becoming a reality. But, what happens when the novelty wears off and you’re lacking the drive you felt when you walked into your workplace each day?

Well, we’re here to help you with that!  Let’s talk home offices and how it can work for YOU!  It’s soooo easy to bring your laptop to bed, to the kitchen table or plunk on the sofa.  However it’s likely that these spaces have you feeling less than motivated and easily distracted - not ideal! 

Yet at the same time, locking yourself in that one unused room in your home, filled with those things you’ve been meaning to donate,  doesn’t really do the trick.  So where to start?  First, find a space in your home that is both low traffic and peaceful - a spare room, den, cozy corner.  Now, let’s transform this space into somewhere that screams productivity and inspiration.

The elements of a home office

Your home office can vastly differ from your workplace office.  Here are some of the elements that you need to consider when creating your work from home space:

An organized desk

This is the foundation!  A great desk that suits both your style and your needs (yes, both!).  A desk that is large enough to house your computer, your books, a desk lamp, some personal touches, with drawers and compartments to keep you more organized than ever.

A supportive chair

While you have the newfound freedom to set your schedule and come and go as you please, you will be spending a lot of time at this desk and specifically, in this chair.  Ergonomically, a good chair is so important. Look for one that is comfy, supportive, and of course, fits within the decor of your home office. If you haven’t already done it...invest in a great chair!

A functional lamp 

Whether you prefer to work in the mornings or evenings, whether your space has large windows or limited natural light, your space has to have the ability to provide you with the best lighting.  Did you know that the quality of lighting directly correlates with your levels of productivity?  We’ll talk a bit more about which lighting is best for you, but a good desk lamp is a must for your home office.

Some personal touches

Just because you're at home doesn't mean your space has to feel like the rest of your home.  Add in some personal touches that are unique to this space. Perhaps it’s fresh flowers and inspirational artwork, maybe it’s a wooden bookshelf and some rustic decor.  Regardless of your personal style, your home office should be a reflection of what makes you feel inspired, focused and motivated.

Lighting for productivity

All of the elements in your home office should be pointing towards a calm, productive workspace.  While the freedom to plan your time and schedule is there, routine is still  important. Things like getting up at the same time, showering, getting dressed (sorry sweats, it was real) - all things that still allow you to “go” to work. 

It’s ideal if you can plan your work day, so you have a start and stop time. Just when we thought working from home was going to take up less time than at the office, it somehow became a part of our whole life, and we’ve  ended up spending even more time “at work.”

One thing that our at work office does better than our at home office...LIGHTING!!  Have you ever noticed that whether you went in for an early morning meeting or stayed late to finish up a big project, the lighting was  always the same?  Your office space likely has the optimal lighting for productivity.  The good news is that you can easily add these elements into your home office.

Let’s break it down!  When we are talking about lighting and productivity, we’re referring to how the light sources in your space help with those things that typically lower productivity, decrease motivation, cause fatigue and cause you to lose interest.

There are a few things that can throw us off our game, and cause us to feel less than motivated.  Here are some typical home office issues, and our tips on how you can easily troubleshoot your lighting!

1. An office that is too dark

While some of us prefer a dark, moody space, we’re not talking about your wall and furniture colors - we are all for dark walls, rich tones, and deep accents.  When we talk about an office that is too dark, we are referring to the actual amount of lighting in your office.  Lighting can come from two main sources: natural lighting (the light that comes through your windows) and from strategically placed lighting fixtures (a mix of ceiling fixtures and lamps).

Some reasons your office may be too dark:

  • No windows
  • Overcast days
  • Little to no overhead lighting
  • Little to no desk task lighting

By adding a mix of light sources to your home office, you have the ability to control how much light you’re getting, regardless of the time of day or weather!  A good mix of lighting looks like this: overhead lighting for general lighting, desk lamp for task lighting, floor lamp for accent lighting.  Other elements of lighting can come from wall lighting (sconces or picture lights), pendants (to add some decorative ceiling lighting!) or lighting in your shelving.

2. A home office that is too bright

I know, right?  We just talked about adding light and now this.  But, just like an office that is too dark, an office that is too bright or is glarey has the ability to cause headaches, make pages hard to read, and just throw you off.

There are a few easy fixes!  Where some projects require more light than others, add task lamps.  These lamps can allow for extra lighting when required, but then be turned off when you’re focusing on something else.

Dimmers are also amazing (seriously, we recommend them for EVERY ROOM).  Adding dimmers to your overhead lighting allows for you to lower the light on those sunny days, and increase it as it gets darker outside.

3. Strained and tired eyes

This one is key when it comes to staying motivated.  Too many times we have  walked away from our home office desks because our eyes and heads just HURT.  However, don’t you find that the moment you step into your living room or kitchen, suddenly it's just a bit easier to see and hear again?

That’s likely due to the fact that those spaces are filled with natural light, so less strain is put on our eyes. Unfortunately, we can't force the beauty sunshine to fill your home office everyday (sorry!!), However we CAN trick your office into thinking we have!  With today’s LED lighting, we have so much control over our spaces.  We are able to manipulate and target our lighting specifically to our needs (stay tuned for a blog post digging deep into LED for more on this!)

When selecting the lighting for your office, look for fixtures or bulbs that give a cooler light.  This is referred to as the “colour temperature” and is measured in degrees Kelvin.  The ideal colour temperature for your home office ranges from  3000k to 34000k. We usually recommend 3000kelvin as it cuts out the yellowish tones but keeps the lighting feeling comfortable.  Not sure where to find this info when buying?  It will always be stated on the packaging of your fixture or bulb!  This colour of lighting will best emulate a light that is natural, meaning your eyes won't have to strain when reading documents, working on your laptop, or creating and designing.

It also means that regardless of the time of day or weather, the lighting in your home office will be consistently bright and refreshing.

Now that we’ve talked all about creating the most productive, functional and beautiful work spaces, here is a selection of some of our favourites for home office lighting!

Are you ready to get your home office working FOR you?!  We hope our work from home tips and ideas helps you create your most functional and motivating home office.

Looking for more tips on how to best light up the spaces in your home?  Sign up for our newsletter!  Still wanting more?  Set up an appointment with one of our ALA Certified lighting associates to help guide you in the decision making process.