Interior Design

Setting up a home office – what I have learned

Given the current circumstances everyone needs somewhere to work at home. Unfortunately not every house has the space to create a separate home office. That’s why you need to get creative with your rooms. You can fit a desk into many rooms, your sitting room, your bedroom, even hallways offer potential.

We have tried a few home office set ups in our house, with mixed results.

Before you start you need to consider a few things. I’m not going to get into all the details here on home office ergonomics (setting up a healthy workspace). If you want to learn more The Guardian offers tips and Very Well Health also has useful information.

A small desk will work if you just work on a laptop. However, if you need space for a desktop computer, laptop(s), monitors, printers and/or documents then you will need to consider a larger desk, possibly a sit/stand one and storage space.

Living Room Office

The first office space in our home was in in what I have dubbed “the blue room”. We asked our carpenter to build in a desk and shelves in this alcove to the right of the fireplace. I thought it would be the perfect spot for Alan to work on his creations for Alan Gill Designs. It turned out to be a useful space but there were a few issues.

One, the desk area was quite small and Alan uses a laptop, a drawing pad and a monitor. Two, the room is quite dark and while that didn’t matter at night as we had lights on, it didn’t work well during the day. Three, you are facing the wall while working, which is not very inspiring and can feel quite claustrophobic.

We still use this space as a desk but unfortunately it tends to be used as a dumping ground for books and papers!

Desk, chair in blue room with grey and copper wallpaper. Woad blue paint Little Greene
Desk, chair and plant in Blue room. Woad blue paint Little Greene

Working at the Kitchen Table

Another area that I have used to work is the kitchen table. It offers some positives in that the table is large and the chairs are reasonably comfortable. Also in terms of ergonomics the table is at the right height for typing. Plus you are never far from the kettle!

On the negative side it has to be cleared off for every meal time (3-6 times a day in our house). Also you are sitting beside the archway to a messy playroom, which can be distracting. The back door is to your left and the kitchen door is behind you so can be drafts and people coming and going!

kitchen home office, dining table and chairs, green paint Greensmoke Farrow and Ball

Sitting Room Home Office

The sitting room in our home is at the front of the house. The key advantage this room has is a big window and lots of natural light. Also another key feature is a door that closes (and locks if needed).

When we first set up a desk in here we faced it towards the bookcase. This didn’t work as the sunlight was coming in from behind and there was glare on the screen. Also looking at the bookcase didn’t work as it was distracting and not very inspirational.

Sitting room. Downpipe Farrow and Ball on walls. Desk facing bookcase

The next set up was the desk in front of the window which worked much better as a work space. You can regulate the sunlight coming in using the blinds and it offers a view out to the front of the house so there is something interesting to look at.

The desk is a sit/stand desk and is large enough to comfortably fit a laptop and two monitors. Also as the winter draws in the gas fire can be used to just heat the room without turning on the heating and heating the whole house.

Sitting room home office. Desk facing window and tucked into corner of the room

Bedroom desk/dressing table

Another spot in the house where I have set up a desk space is in our bedroom. I wanted a dressing table/desk in our bedroom. Given that this is my personal space I was free to make it as feminine as I wanted. I knew I wanted a comfortable chair, mirror and desk lamp and also a desk that was beautiful but functional. This happened as part of our bedroom makeover where I also painted the laminate wardrobes.

Unfortunately the chair and desk height aren’t exactly the right height for working so I only work for short periods here and use it more as a makeup table.

Pink walls Valspar Peaceful Soul. Home office desk set up, laptop, table, lamp and mirror
Bedroom desk set up, desk, dark pink chair, mirror, table lamp and laptop open.

Bedroom Desk

The latest addition to our house is this JYSK desk in the girls bedroom. They had a reading nook in this space up until recently but decided that they wanted a desk to colour on so we swapped it out.

Pink wall and desk with two grey chairs

Playroom Office

Okay, this is a bit of a stretch that you could work in a playroom but I wanted to share the desk space that we set up in here. We went for an IKEA table top and legs and kitchen organisers to hold the pens and pencils. The table is very neat and fits up against the wall and there is enough space for two people to work at it.

Dedicated Home Office

If you are one of the lucky people who have an empty spare room then this can be the ideal location for your home office. It affords you the luxury of designing the room from scratch and setting up all the equipment to create a fully functioning office.

This is a design I did for a client for their spare room. This room was going to be used for guests and also as a work space. I chose an IKEA sit/stand desk as this client was going to be working full time from home so this gives them an opportunity to sit and stand while working during the day.

They wanted it to work for guests so I included a sofa bed, storage, textured accessories and lots of plants, both real and faux. The neutral colour scheme worked for this client as they wanted a calm, cosy atmosphere to work in and also wanted to be able to change the purpose of the room in the future.

Style at No.5 Home Office moodboard, Natural, white and dark grey sofa.
Style At No.5 Interior Design Office Moodboard

I hope you found this blog post useful to give you some ideas as to how or where you might set up an office in your home.

If you need any help in creating space to work in your home please contact me and I can work with you to create an effective working area.

Home office Pinterest link

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2 Comments

  1. Matt Brodtke says:

    Great insight Celine. Currently working on my spare room/office and you’ve helped me come to the decision to face the desk away from the wall and point it out the window to maximise the view. 🙂

    1. Celine Gill says:

      Hi Matt, thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I’m delighted that the article inspired you to change up your desk space. Hope you enjoy the new view.

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