Design Dilemma: Living and Working in the Same Space
More and more of us are doing it: living and working in the same space.Â A few of us are artists, splashing paint around a studio where we also happen to live. But it’s not just artists working at home these days. The legions of at-home workers includeÂ architects, graphic designers, businesspeople, computer techs, customer service representatives, payroll and billing workers, and the list goes on and go.
Most of those who work at home appreciate the many advantages to this lifestyle (no commuting!) but we’re also often stumped as to how we can successfully integrate a working space into our homes without feeling overwhelmed. Here are a few tips:
1. Create separation. If you live in a loft, separation might mean only a room divider or bookshelf to delineate your workspace. But if you live in a home or apartment with walls, usually your best option is dedicating one room entirely to your work. Separation allows you to organize your work space more easily and to detach from work when it’s time to play. It also allows you the opportunity to shut out distractions when necessary and it gives you a proper space to greet and meet clients who may enter your home. Working on your dining room or coffee table is usually not the best long-term solution for those working at home. Below, the same house on four levels offers one narrow room for work on one level, and the same narrow room on an entirely different level for leisure. Two floors guarantees a division of living and working space.
2. Outfit your operation to the max. A home office should have the complete set-up: phone, fax, computer, printer, scanner, internet access, storage for files, and everything else you would normally have access to in an office. A good artistic space should have good lighting, a good work table, a cart or shelves for art supplies, racks for storage, a display space, good ventilation and good protective flooring for easy clean-up. Don’t skimp on work equipment. You’ll work better if you’re fully equipped for all circumstances.
3. Declutter. Don’t allow papers, magazines and other clutter to build up in any part of your home. Clean it all out immediately by dedicating special recycling bins for junk mail, papers, etc. Your home should always be ready to accept clients and coworkers at any moment and in your off-hours, a decluttered home should offer you a sense of serenity and peaceful well-being. That’s hard when papers are stacked on every surface!
4. Keep your decor simple. When you live and work at home, you’ll make yourself happier by eliminatingÂ unnecessary objects. Clear away knick-knacks and tchotchkes!
5. If you’re bringing clients into your home, personalize your decor accordingly. Remember, your home is not just your home, it’s your calling card! So if you’re a designer, architect or artist, for example who is a proponent of a certain aesthetic, reflect that aesthetic throughout your home. If you’re an organizational expert, showcase your capabilities by expertly organizing you space in inventive and clever ways. Seek to express your working style through decor elements.
Images, via Apartmenttherapy.com, Verne for OWI.bz