Being an interior designer means you have to have excellent detective skills. Why? As designers, our job is to understand human behavior and figure out how people want to live; Then we create designs for that lifestyle. And, let me tell you, previous living patterns are constantly being rerouted to center around new environments within the home. Case in point: the home office.
For a long time, the communications center was the big trend. You walk in the door, drop your things down, and there’s a built-in desk with the computer and family calendar right in the kitchen. We aren’t seeing that as much now. People want a dedicated office space where you can actually WORK–imagine that! So, let’s take a look at what this space needs to function at its best…
A Multi-Purpose Space
The past decade or more has been defined by open concept living. But, now people are finding they need little spaces within the home to…well, get away from everyone! Whether it’s a place to pay bills, take a phone call, or work on homework, people need quiet workspaces. Sorry, Dad, the home office is now the family office. People simply don’t want to give up that much square footage in their house for a separate room for each of these tasks so you really need a space where all of these activities can happen. Essentially, a landing spot for working. One of my favorite ways to offer the most flexibility within the room is to opt for a table as a workstation rather than a traditional desk. Even better if you can either float the table in the room or have it coming out from one wall so you can get chairs on more than one side. This opens up multiple workstations so, for example, you can be working on your laptop while your child is doing homework across from you. This typically allows for a larger work surface–perfect for school crafts or assembling holiday cards!
In order for a home office to function well in today’s day and age you need to make sure you have the right equipment. At the top of that equipment list is…you guessed it, the Internet! Connectivity is key. If your router isn’t located in this room and you are not able to get a strong signal, then you simply add a booster. I love Google Boosters and am often surprised how many people don’t know about them–you don’t need an AV guy, just add a booster and you’re set! When the weather is nice the last thing I want to do is be stuck inside my home office. I’ll often take my laptop to the patio, so I added a booster out there–and voila! Working from home is almost like being on vacation….well, almost.
Another must-have item is the wireless printer. If you don’t have one of these already, the next printer you buy should be wireless. It can be easily hidden away in a cabinet or closet and accessed only when you need it. This saves you from unsightly cords and yet another thing on your desk to dust and keep clean.
Work, But Make It Pretty
Office spaces tend to be smaller spaces so, like a powder room, we see it as a chance to do something a little bit more impactful and daring. Perhaps you want to use a color in this room or wallpaper. You don’t have to commit to painting or wallpapering the entire room, believe it or not accent walls are making a comeback—hello, ‘90s!
If you are painting woodwork, be careful to select a color you are NOT using in the kitchen otherwise you will feel like you’re still in the kitchen! Either paint cabinetry and trim the wall color or a new accent color to give this room its own signature.
Mix It Up
It’s perfectly OK to wear a shirt from Target and carry a Gucci bag. We are all about that at Kirkendall Design! So, why not do the same in your home? Mixing and matching styles and eras helps create fresh interiors that celebrate the past, present and future of design. Maybe you love your grandmother’s vintage dining table–use that as your desk! Top it with a lamp from Target and spend money on your rug and fabric to upholster a pair of chairs for either side of the work table. Try to reimagine spaces so they can incorporate things that have meaning to you and that will make the space uniquely yours.
Always look for unexpected material combinations that are intentionally collected. In other words, don’t just go buy the office suite of furniture from Mathis Brothers! When we design for longevity and create spaces that are ambiguous in era they stand the test of time so they may be passed down for generations to come.
Find Your Inspiration
People are pushing back against hustle culture, and rightfully so. As a result, rest and wellness is at the center of each design decision I make. Creating common spaces and peaceful vignettes within the home of our clients helps us tell the story of where people have been and where they are going.
All this gives us a sense of purpose and serves as a huge source of encouragement–especially important in a room where we may be doing something rather uninspiring to begin with (ahem, paying bills). I always try to incorporate a reminder of the past, present and future–this could be an object, a photograph, or even a piece of furniture. It causes us to remember where we are from and who got us here, not to mention who you are working for and where you are going. What could be more motivating than that?