Swapping your commute for a stroll from kitchen to study sounds enviable. But there’s a reason why ‘working from home’ tends to mean ‘watching breakfast TV in your pyjamas’. Most home offices don’t deserve the name: your kitchen table is not an office; your sofa is not an office; your bed definitely isn’t an office, no matter how propped up you are.
But by fashioning an environment it’s a pleasure to spend time in, you’ll look forward to hitting your desk. “Be extremely mindful of how you’re actually going to use the space,” says Kia Stanford, of Kia Designs. Are you planning to ditch the office for good, in which case you’ll need somewhere ergonomic and with practical amenities like a printer? Or is this just a space to escape when the kids are causing a ruckus? In which case, you can probably put your inkjet money towards that record player you’ve been eyeing up.
The great works of literature, you want to show off. Tax For Dummies you do not. “If you keep a lot of ‘unattractive’ books for reference, you want to cover these up,” says Stanford. A shelving and cabinet combination, like IKEA’s IVAR units, keep work tomes hidden away, but ensure those Thomas Pynchon novels – which you swear you’ll get to this summer – stay on show to impress guests. Just make sure you crack the spines first.
Available at IKEA, priced £216.
Unlike at the actual office, where you can call on the guys from downstairs to rejig your storage should a bunch of awkwardly shaped folders come in, in a home office, you’re on your own. Which is why you need Vitsoe’s smart shelving system.
“All you need is the aluminium E-Track and a pin,” says Urszlua Russek, interior designer at Sigma London. “You can easily install shelves, cabinets and tables that are hung from the E-Track. You don’t have to use tools, all you have to do it to slip the notched pins into position.”
You can change the arrangement at any point, so it’s equally handy for those whose decisions don’t tend to stick.
Available at Vitsoe.
Hunchbacks aren’t a good look. Just ask your tailor, who has to deploy all manner of clever cuts and folds to hide the fruits of years spent folded over your computer keyboard. But beside aesthetics, sitting all day is bad news for your body. Studies show that the more hours you log in your chair, the higher your odds of diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s, even if you hit the gym every day.
To ensure your body enjoys the constant, micro-movements that keep your hormones and blood pressure in check, you need to spend more time vertical. The Varidesk means you can join the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Walt Disney in ploughing through your to-do list stood up, a position that burns an extra 500 calories a day – and prevents your post-lunch energy slump.
Its position adjusts in seconds, so you can switch between stood and standing depending on what job you’re tackling next. It’s the right kind of lift.
Available at Varidesk, priced £335.
Of course, you’ll be sitting down sometimes. Comfort is key when designing your own personal work space, so you need something that isn’t going to send you straight to the chiropractor. Russek recommends the high back Leadchair from Walter Knoll.
It’s a modern, understated chair whose minimalist design works with anything else you decide to toss into your office. But the flowing form and clean lines aren’t purely decorative – they nudge your warped back back into position.
Available at Walter Knoll.
At home, you don’t need to suffer the skin- and sight-harshing displeasures of flourescent lighting. “This splash of brushed brass type of lamp, from and David Chipperfield, works great for most home offices,” says Russek.
Wonderfully simple with no visible joints, it blends in easily into your work space without looking like you pinched it out on your way out of the everyday office.
Available at scp.co.uk, priced £489.
A plethora of cables and an organised space aren’t synonymous. Most multiplugs are aesthetically unappealing but this sleek docking station lets you charge your smartphones, screens and other gadgets, while keeping tabs on loose desk clutter like keys, documents or your wallet.
Available at finoak.com, priced £42.