Home Office Layout: How to Design Your Workspace
Over the past year or two, it’s likely that your home office – if you have one – has gotten a bit of a workout. From seemingly endless Zoom meetings to work ‘n’ wine sessions (those are definitely a thing…), most of us have spent far more time in our home offices than we’d care to admit.
So, if this space now feels a little uninspiring, maybe it’s time for a revamp. Or, perhaps you’ve been relegated to the same comfy couch spot or crevice of the kitchen bench for a while, and you’re realising it’s time to set up shop a little more permanently. Whatever the reasoning, laying out and styling a home office space is tons of fun, but it also requires careful consideration.
To help you maximise your space, increase productivity, and feel like a boss no matter your job title, here are our top tips for designing your home office workspace.
Tip #1: Determine your needs
Like any other design project, function is undeniably central to the decisions you make throughout the process of creating your dream home office – which is why you should always start by analysing your individual needs. Where some of us spend our days tucked behind a desk, typing away, others are in and out of meetings, use more physical space, or might even host clients or colleagues in person. So, it’s no wonder that each of these unique ‘work profiles’ commands a different set of needs.
Every decision you make as you design your workspace should be influenced, first and foremost, by these needs. They’ll impact layout, your choice of room, the objects you need in the space, technology requirements, and so much more.
Tip #2: Select the right room
When it comes to a functional and fitting home office, your choice of room makes all the difference. You want to give yourself enough space to move around and perform all of the many tasks required of you day to day, so the bigger the room, the better. Of course, that’s not to discriminate against smaller spaces – the miracles of modern design are plentiful – but be sure that your room of choice has got all the makings of a productive home office.
Ideally, you’re looking for a low-traffic area (such as something at the back of the house or away from key spaces like the living room) that’s quiet. Depending on how you work, it’s likely to need a door you can close, letting you shut off the world when you’re in a meeting or need to knuckle down. You might also like to prioritise natural light from windows to help you stay focused and in a good mood.
Other things to keep at the back of your mind include wifi connection and mobile reception, privacy from other family members, amenities like fans or air conditioning, and window placement. If you’re struggling to work out whether a room is right as your workspace, test it out for a day or two with just your laptop and a makeshift desk, and note down any and all problems you encounter. If they’re solvable, it’s a good choice for your office, but if they’re impeding your ability to work, it’s worth considering other options.
Tip #3: Work out your non-negotiables
Now that you’ve mapped out your needs, it’s time to put some deep thought into layout, and how your needs will influence this crucial element of the design process. Importantly, you’ll need to identify your must-haves in the space, whether that’s tech, seating, surfaces, or something unique to you and your work.
If you’re in a traditional desk job, and spend most of the day typing, writing in a notebook or staring at your screen (we’ve all been there), then you’ll need to consider your tech needs above all. In a perfect world, can you blend comfort and functionality? Think about screens, computer towers, tech accessories, power sources and desk aids like stands. All of these will need to factor into your overall design, as it’s likely they’re a non-negotiable part of you being able to do your job effectively.
On the flipside, some of us don’t spend all day at our desk, but rather, move around to work on projects or to host meetings. If this sounds like you, perhaps it’s worth carving out dedicated spaces for each of these tasks in the room. Place your desk in one area, and then break off to form a mini meeting room or ideation space with an armchair or sofa and end table. Whatever you do on the reg, always think back to your needs and make sure they’re a core part of the items you bring into your space. Told you tip #1 would come in handy…
Tip #4: Pick your layout
With your needs and non-negotiable items well established, it’s time to start arranging your home office (and if you’re anything like us, rearranging it ‘til the sun comes up). While layouts don’t have to follow rigid rules, and ultimately this decision is up to you, there are a few common designs you might like to consider.
Experts recommend an L-, U- or T-shaped design for your home office – each of these popular choices work to maximise space and the room’s ‘walkability’. You’ll make any of these shapes using the desk as the central piece, and then filling in the blanks with other key furniture pieces like cabinets. To determine the right fit, you’ll want to (predictably) assess your needs! If you work with papers laid out all day long, the L-shaped design might give you enough space to use a computer and have a big, beautiful workspace to play with. For those of us using multiple screens, the horseshoe-like U-shaped design is entirely appropriate, creating a way to organically and strategically place each crucial tech item.
Of course, if these three don’t feel right for you, you’ve got our full permission to run wild. Your layout is all about what works for you, so identify it and do your best to make it happen!
Tip #5: Always opt for ergonomics
For those currently (or possibly, indefinitely) working from home, it’s important to funnel your efforts into creating a supportive workspace that permits you to sit and move around seamlessly. The short answer? Don’t stuff up your back and all will be well. If you have to invest in one thing for your home office, it should be a setup that minimises any strain on your body and instead, permits comfortable and functional working.
There are a few elements to consider when trying to create an ergonomically-friendly workspace, but a key one is your desk chair. A chair that’s adjustable, has back support and fits your needs will ensure you’re able to work safely. Be sure to adjust the height of your chair in conjunction with the height of your desk to prevent a strained neck, tired eyes or hunched shoulders. Move your screens around so they’re comfortable, too, using risers to give them additional height where necessary.
Tip #6: Prioritise storage
We all know home offices are veritable vortexes for the random items we find scattered around the house – from kids’ toys to pet food, stacks of receipts, age-old folders and so much more, it’s tough to keep this area in the home from becoming a dumping ground. One way to keep clutter at bay, though, is by investing in great storage solutions that will work long term.
There are so many kinds of storage available, so think carefully about the kinds of items you want to tuck away, and whether you’re interested in displaying decor, too. For those with minimal storage needs, a desk with comprehensive drawers might suffice, whereas others will be drawn to large-scale bookshelves, cabinets and sideboards that also provide space to show off your favourite homewares. Don’t forget to consider tech and how you’ll store these items, as well as how you’ll hide cables and cords.
Tip #7: Create comfort
Maybe you associate the home office with productivity, hustle and grit, but that’s not to say it can’t be a comfortable place, too. After all, what better way to make big business moves than ensconced in cosiness? This is also a key consideration if you hold meetings at your home, or will need to occasionally host a client.
If you’ve got the space, why not go whole hog and create a comfy corner? They’re perfect for bringing style into the room, adding more functionality, and establishing a place to take ‘brain breaks’. Pair a chic armchair with a side table or ottoman if it’s just you, or establish a beautiful setup with a sofa and coffee table if others will be paying you a visit (or if you simply have space to burn). You might like to slot this space up against a bookshelf for easy access to your favourite reads – hereby turning your office into a multipurpose space, complete with a book nook.
Perhaps this option isn’t for you, or you’re working with a smaller space – that’s okay! There are other ways to bring comfort and softness into your home office. Add a plump cushion to your office chair, and drape a blanket nearby for those chilly moments. You might also like to invest in comfortable items that aren’t as aesthetically pleasing, like foot rests or alternative chairs (we’re a big fan of the exercise ball).
Tip #8: Translate your style
One common mistake when setting up a home office is thinking of it as an entirely separate entity to the rest of your house, when in reality, it should be an extension of the beautifully curated home we know has monopolised lots of your time and consideration. So, your task is to try to bring the outside in, and translate your existing aesthetic into your workspace as best you can. Thankfully, office furniture is becoming less utilitarian and more eye-catching by the minute, so you’ll have some stunning options to choose from as you pick out pieces.
It’s likely you already have a solid idea of your style, and find it quite easy to identify pieces you like and feel as if ‘go’ with the rest of your home. But, if you’re having doubts, one way to create a cohesive look is by highlighting standout features and bringing them into the new space in question – in this case, the office. For instance, Scandinavian furniture is typically constructed with a minimalist design and using light wood, so when you’re looking for a desk, these might be some of your requirements. Similarly, modern contemporary style relies on simple neutral tones like black, white and grey, and often incorporates a clean, sleek look with glass or marble. Pick out the items in your space using these as a guide and a way to narrow down your choices.
Tip #9: Sprinkle your aesthetic
Home offices are notoriously utilitarian and function-focused spaces, but that doesn’t mean they have to be devoid of beauty. We’ve identified many places to inject a little fun or creativity, and as you know, office furniture is better than it’s ever been. But, if you want to keep pushing your individuality (and bringing some sunshine to the space in the process!), another way to customise your office is by finding small styling opportunities.
If you have surfaces in the space that aren’t going to be cluttered with paper or tech every day, consider using them as places to pepper your personality. We’re talking photo frames, art prints, vases, trinkets, flowers – the list is never-ending. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Rugs are a go-to in an office space, as they provide textural contrast, and don’t hinder the flow or functionality of the room in any way. You can hang art pieces on the walls, or use paint to create a feature wall or on-trend mural. Don’t forget the plants, either! Greenery is a beloved addition to any space and is also a surefire mood booster, plus they’ll give you something to do when you’re looking for motivation.
Tip #10: Try, and try again
Finally, like any room in your home, it all comes down to trial and error. While you might have perfectly accommodated all of your needs and created what seems like the perfect workspace, chances are it’ll change as the work you do evolves. One week might be all about late nights at the laptop, and the next will throw you a curveball with calls and meetings – like our lives, our spaces have to be adaptable and ready to adjust at any moment. If something isn’t feeling right, rearrange and reassess.
Well, you’ve got all of the makings of a home office that works as hard as you do – now, all there’s left to do is put plans into action. Be sure to take the time to considerately plan out every facet of your home office, as this is bound to save you time, money, effort, and importantly, your sanity as you navigate a busy work and home life. Remember, you’re at the heart of your home office – so if it works for and speaks to you, you’ve nailed it.
Make nailing the perfect home office layout and design even easier with pieces from Brosa. Our extensive range of home office furniture and decor takes a once-utilitarian genre and turns it on its head for gorgeous pieces you’ll want to keep for years and years, even as your work ebbs and flows. Shop today with Australia-wide shipping, expert virtual styling services, and flexible payment options.