Get your home office working for you

My office is wherever I happen to be, in the car, at home or the design office – basically, wherever my phone is. But it’s hard to ignore how many in the work force are following the shifting trend to work part time or full time from home.

There are many factors that can help make your home office a productive and beautiful place to work.

Today’s wireless technology in the house allows you to work from almost any room, but pick one and make it yours. I always recommend a home office be set up in a room with a door that closes and locks, rather than the dining room table or in an open concept loft or basement.

For business calls and for concentration it’s best to have a door for privacy. If you need to share a space try to make it the guest room or a place that isn’t occupied during the day.

The size of the room isn’t as important as how functional it is. Organization is key and the way to stay productive is with proper storage. Having the right place to put everything can help contain clutter and keep your mind focused on what’s important.

You’ll need organization systems for paper and cord/cable management to tame that tangle under your desk. Many office stores carry organizational solutions for computers and supporting tech but I think custom built-in cabinetry is the way to go for storage.

Every need can be addressed and interpreted into good-looking, yet practical storage. After all, if you’re going to spend eight hours in a space, why not make it functional and beautiful?

Your personal style can carry through from the rest of your home to your office or you can create a unique, personal space that makes you happy just to be in it.

Good lighting is one of the most important considerations. There’s no such thing as too much lighting, you can always turn something off. If you can, Invest in recessed ceiling lights for clear, ambient lighting and good desk lighting for task work.

Hire a designer to put together a lighting plan for you if you’re not sure what you need. The second important factor to consider is your chair. Get the most supportive, comfortable seat in the house, because you will be in it a lot. That means no dining chairs!

An area carpet and drapery may seem like overkill in an office but both will help dampen sound. You’re still in a functioning household and sound travels both in and out of rooms, so remember fabric helps keep the noise level down.

If you’re bringing in an electrician to update your lighting, ask about having some of the room’s wall outlets raised to counter height so you don’t have to crawl under your desk to plug in your computer.

If you still work with a lot of paper (like me) you need space to spread stuff out. A computer is one thing – or maybe two things, you require for your job but a stretch of counter space can make life much easier.

Many home offices integrate counters with cabinetry to eliminate the stand-alone desk. Whatever works for you is the right solution. But my last piece of advice is the most important to remember.

The best way to tame that paper pile is to tackle it and let it go, so get a high quality paper shredder and don’t forget to use it!

Jane Lockhart is a celebrity designer, TV personality and leading expert in the world of design. Visit


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