A New Look at Your Home Office
“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be ‘happy.” I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be honorable, to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.” –Leo C. Rosten
Why do so many of us have inadequate and inconvenient work spaces in our homes? Too often we have home offices, laundries, studies, and project rooms that are shut off in a cramped and ugly corner of an otherwise pretty space. What a shame, when you enjoy the fruits of your labor so much, to create a space for it that makes success more difficult rather than as easy as possible!
Just as a healthy lifestyle integrates work and play into a balanced whole, a well-designed house weaves work stations and living spaces together. Why stick your desk against a blank wall in the guest bedroom when you can set up a lovely spot in the living room next to the window onto the garden? No law requires that your washer and dryer be in the basement or the garage, several flights of stairs and hundreds of steps away from the center of family life. And I have yet to hear a good reason why the handsome table in your dining room can’t double as a desk during the day.
It is very easy for offices to feel too clinical. All work, and no play, often dictates the surroundings, with little focus on making the both functional but also visually pleasing. Your eye needs a chance to rest on something beautiful, to refresh your spirits as you pause for a moment in your labors. Whether it is the pleasing strength of sun filtering through shuttered doors or lovely pieces of art, it is possible to make a place of work a visually enjoyable place.
Utilizing space can be key. You can take a space that doesn’t have an architectural statement of any merit and with floating shelves give it line and define the space so that it says, “I am strong and perfectly proportioned and I’m really handsome.” And they provide terrific storage or display space to boot. Try using thick white shelves and create a contrast by painting out the background wall in a rich dark color.
Work Space Ideas to Remember:
Integrate work spaces throughout the home.
Tables can be used for a variety of purposes in a number of areas.
Bring air and light and art into your work space.
Find a hole and fill it–situate a work area in a location (no matter how unusual) convenient to the task at hand.
Adequate lighting is a must.
A floor-to-ceiling “door” can be a terrific way to screen your home office from view when the room is being used for another purpose.
Adapted from A Good House Is Never Done by John Wheatman ( Conari Press, 2002).