Setting Up A Home Office

Not everyone works at a job that can be done effectively at home. There are many positions which entail being out of the house for part or all of the day and these are great—for those who must do them. But there are plenty of men and women who work from home and truly enjoy the experience. Large and small corporations are downsizing these days and human resource directors are cutting the costs of running an office by moving their employees out of the main company environment and setting them up to do business from their homes. This set-up works to the benefit of both employer and employee.

Once you have reached the decision that a home setting is the way to go for your home business, there are a few good ideas you should adopt in order to optimize your working location. As an interior designer, some of my ideas may not suit everybody so please feel free to adjust my suggestions to best suit your personality and needs.

Choose Your Position

The finished basement or the attic of your house is one of the best places for a home office. Both these areas are usually far enough away from the buzz and noise of the rest of the house to be able to conduct business without any interference. Make sure it has a door that can be closed should household activities start to interfere with your concentration.

 It would be ideal to have a window that looks out on to a pastoral setting—a flowering tree or a garden with colorful foliage—as this emits a relaxed feeling which is conducive to good brain function. If no window exists and it would be too costly to break through the wall to build one, you could order a 3D poster online of an outdoor venue and paste it on the wall near your desk.

Your Working Area

Speaking of your desk, this is extremely important. You must have enough room to situate your laptop or PC in the best position, spread out all your papers in whatever configuration you desire and still have room left over to place your cup of java without knocking it over.

Your work area can be any flat surface—even a door placed on two filing cabinets is worthy of being called a desk. A few fake flowers in a short glass bud glass will add color to an otherwise formal setting. On your desk, you should have a good selection of pens, clips, writing material and your phone. Although we all depend on our mobile phone to run our lives, a desktop telephone makes your office look official and can sometimes come in handy.

Your choice of seating can be a major decision. Sitting in a chair for hours on end can do much damage to your back or neck so a good choice would be a high swivel variety with adjustable contours for the curvature of your spine. Don’t stint on this item. It is probably the most significant purchase you will make.


Check the ventilation in your office. Is there enough air circulating? Too much heat in the winter or too much cold air in the summer can be very uncomfortable and can cause health problems both short and long term. And you certainly don’t want to run up an outrageous electric bill.  Of course, it definitely makes a difference if you have set up your office in the basement—which is usually cool—or the attic—where heat rises and accumulates.

Portable a/c units and movable heaters are often useful items to have on hand.


The lighting in your office should be both decorative and functional. An interesting desk lamp adds character to your space but should also give direct light to your work area. Ceiling or wall lights can also be creative and purposeful. Choose fixtures that blend with the décor of your room. Make sure they fill the room with just the right amount of light: too much is glaring, too little makes everything seem drab and may lead to eventual eye strain.


Which leads me to the walls and floors of your new workplace. No matter what your flooring is, a coloured or patterned rug makes your room look cozy and welcoming. Choose a warm blend of browns, russets and oranges or a more playful combination of blues, yellows and greens. Try to cover at least the area closest to your desk. Match up a Roman blind or curtain for your window (if you have one) and hang some pictures or posters that blend in to your design scheme and are appropriate to the work you do.

If your work involves visitors or clients coming to your home office, choose at least two comfortable chairs, preferably of fabric, that blend with your rug selection. Small items of interest, such as pillows or knickknacks can be scattered around the room in keeping with your colour scheme.

There it is. Your new office. Enjoy and be productive!

Cina Coren is a contributing editor at and a freelance interior designer.

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