I’ve come to realize that zero of my friends have any idea how to design their “at home office” for their respective careers; and, well, I can’t say I blame them. I’ve put my whole heart into Interior Design, and I’ve completely dedicated my life around Interior Design, I still struggle creating a place for myself to get in the zone to do work. At home. On. My. Day. Off.
And then there's the cost! Finding the right desk or the perfect amount of storage for all your office needs is no easy task. For real, guys, it’s been seven months since I moved to Detroit and I’m still sitting here on my sofa writing this instead of my ideal at home office. But the time has come. Besides, most of us reading and/or writing like this are settling at our J.O.Bs while trying to create a separate platform for ourselves outside of that. I am telling you that a functional, yet trendy, home office space could be that platform you need to make whatever it is you're working towards actually happen. I am a woman of my word and I am about to follow these five steps too.
STEP ONE: INSPIRATION
It’s time to start browsing Pinterest for those cute pictures to get your mind dancing. However, I feel it’s my responsibility in this step to kindly remind you that not all these images you see are practical for your space. Let me put this into perspective: The Philippe Starck - Ghost Chair for example. That chair is fantastic but you can’t expect that it would give you support over time. I LOVE the way they photograph and their general aesthetic, but that's all there is to it. You’re going to want that comfort!
After getting your excitement through the typical “home office inspiration” try searching things like “home office storage alternatives,” or “how to make a desk chair more comfortable,” and “functional home office spaces,” etc. to really create a space you’ll love, but more importantly USE. Really breakdown the images you find yourself loving. Why is it that you like this picture? Is it the accessories in the space? Is it the furniture? Is it the style? Colors? Could it be the actual size or set up of the space? Functional first. Beautiful second.
STEP TWO: THE SPACE
The world we live in practically requires you to make a certain amount of money to even have a space in your home designated as home office. In the eyes of most residential builders and architects, especially in Metro Detroit where space restrictions are most certainly a real thing, a home office isn’t a main concern. So unless you're making the big bucks buying a four-bedroom home, chances are you're going to have to find a space within your home to designate. This is where a lot of people get stuck. I am screaming to everyone reading this right now an entire room IS NOT necessary!
All you need is a nook, an unused corner, a back wall, a window with nothing in front of it, the list can go on and on. You have to get creative. If there isn’t functional room for the chair, is there a chair you can get that will look cute in a corner when it's not in use? Maybe with wheels? Is there a shallow closet you barely use? Can you take the door off its hinges and assemble a desk from there? Is there a sofa floating in the room? Sofa table and a desk all in one? A desk with a mirror mounted above it as a multi functional makeup vanity? The space is there, I promise. Think about it, find it and commit to setting up your new home office.
STEP THREE: THE BUDGET
Since no one likes to talk about money, I am going to keep this short and sweet: Come up with a number in your mind, a reasonable number in your mind that you can afford before you start your project and make it work. Stick to it! With Salvation Army, garage sales, Home Goods clearance, estate sales, YouTube, spray paint, and some patience anything is possible.
STEP FOUR: THE FURNITURE
People often think that what they have pictured for their home office is going to be easy to find. And I am going to tell you right now, it isn’t. All the beautiful, trendy pieces you see on Pinterest or other sites most likely will not fall into your young professional budget and chances are that piece of furniture was completely customized. Meaning, the frame existed, but the finishes and details are there because the client, designer or person buying the furniture put them there. Most likely, it doesn’t exist. The idea of customizing your own furniture, especially case goods like desks, has become achievable for people to do on their own. The phrase “everything is on YouTube” is very real. When trying to find the perfect furniture for your space focus on the frame - the size, the shape, the scale - not the way it is aesthetically moving you because as we just learned, that can be changed.
Another secret ingredient to a functional home office space that is often overlooked is a place to just simply think or read. A comfy place to cozy up. Your desk is for active work, but you probably need a relaxed space as well, to give your working mind a chance to rest. A dreamy home office has a nice comfy chair worth curling up in–potentially with an ottoman if the space allows. Now add a colorful pillow to the chair – time to play.
STEP FIVE: PERSONALIZE
Now for the FUN. There are no rules to personalizing your space. Just make sure you think through what you are going to personalize and don’t be afraid to change it up often. Avoid adding too many pictures or little accessories that are going to distract you from the task at hand. Instead use your creativity to personalize parts of your office that will motivate you.
Changing things up in the space will keep you excited to come back. Include memories from successes, witty cartoons that give you a quick laugh, or even a scent that is going to make you more focused. Try adding something to your home office that you most certainly cannot have in a cubical.
Above all else, keep it simple and significant!
Jaylen - Interior Designer, Scott Shuptrine Interiors