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Home office havens

Posted on April 1, 2015 by Emma Martin

Work spaces for productivity, inspiration

Wake up, brew a pot of coffee and begin your work day. For some people commuting to their job is not required, their work day starts by simply walking into their home office and turning on their computer. Home offices are no longer dark dens with large built-in desks and cabinets. These areas are being designed as bright rooms filled with natural light, rustic accents, comfortable furniture and sleek desks.

Telecommuting has increased 80 percent nationally since 2005, accordingm to globalworkplaceanalytics.com. Some individuals work from their homes every day, others do so occasionally or when their workload requires extra hours. Since more work is being done at home, office spaces are becoming a priority in home design.

Personalized comfort

If you are going to spend countless hours working in a home office having it reflect your personality can provide comfort and inspiration. “People are really personalizing their home offices based on their interests. We recently worked on an office that incorporated a wall of guitars and old amps to represent the owners interest in music,” says Paul Driessen of Timber Innovations in Kimberly. Driessen adds, “We also used a tree we had to remove from his property to build his desk, it was a way to give it back to him in a different form.”

Photo courtesy of Timber Innovations

Photo courtesy of Timber Innovations

For another client, Driessen included a patio door in her office. The door provided a lot of natural light, as well as easy access outside for the homeowner to enjoy brief breaks from her work.

In addition to a space that showcases people’s individual interests, comfort also is a top priority for homeowners designing their offices. “Some people who work from home feel more comfortable having an open concept office, maybe they need to keep an eye on their kids while also getting work done,” shares Nickolas Arnoldussen of Arn’s Cabinets in Little Chute.

“People are really trying to make their home offices enjoyable to be in since they are working from home more often,” adds Alexandria Hakenjos of Northtown Lighting Center in Appleton.

Rustic trend

Visit the social media website Pinterest and you are bound to see home decor pins featuring images of country chic interior design trends. People also are including natural decor in their home offices. “A lot of people like using the earthy wood look to give their office a rustic feel,” says Hakenjos.

Driessen shares, “We completed an office that used a sliding barn door to close off the space from the rest of the home. The desk also had a rustic influence that worked well with the door.”

Functional furniture

In the late 1990s, office equipment required a lot of space. Computers involved large monitors, towers and printers. As technology has evolved, the size of computers have gotten smaller causing home office furniture needs to change. “Large executive style desks are no longer popular; people are now choosing smaller desk styles. There isn’t as much of a need for the large built-in furniture,” explains Pat Dewar of Gabriel Furniture in Appleton.

Photo courtesy of Arn's Cabinets

Photo courtesy of Arn’s Cabinets

Arnoldussen agrees, “With the size of computers going down, things have become easier to conceal.” The office functionality is hidden so the decor elements stand out and the space doesn’t scream office.

Chairs and sofas add comfort to home offices. “For people who need to sit for long periods time, comfortable leather desk chairs are popular,” says Dewar. He adds, “Including a sofa sleeper in a home office can provide comfort and allows the space to double as a guest room when needed.”

Lovely lighting

Lighting adds style and ambiance to any room. In home offices, it is important to not only consider the design of the fixture or lamp, but also the lighting needs based on the work being done. According to Hakenjos, “People have been choosing functional lighting pieces such as ceiling fans with lights. Ceiling fans that have rustic restoration looks using reclaimed wood are very popular.”

For a home office light fixture that becomes a central show piece in the room, Hakenjos says some people are choosing to incorporate chandeliers. “We recently worked on a home that had two home office spaces for a husband and wife who both worked from home. The woman’s office included a chandelier made of nickel with an airy look. The chandelier in the man’s office had a more masculine dark bronze look,” shares Hakenjos.

To achieve a lighting look that is subtle and soft, Hakenjos adds that drum shades are frequently being chosen for home office spaces. Whatever your lighting needs and preferences are there is a fit, you are no longer limited to traditional office desk lamps.

Flooring underfoot

Hardwood flooring also is a popular home trend right now and utilizing it in home offices has not gone unnoticed. “Carpet can be tricky in home offices with rolling desk chairs. Hardwood or tile flooring is often used. We have also done hard flooring just under the desk for clients who prefer carpeting,” says Driessen.

Cork flooring is another option people are choosing for their home offices. Driessen adds, “Cork is a flooring that is durable and warm.”

Beautiful bookshelves

Bookshelves and home offices go hand and hand. Even as technology advances and more content is stored digitally, bookshelves stay a staple in office spaces. According to Dewar, “Bookcases continue to be popular because they are both decorative and functional.”

Photo courtesy of Northtown Lighting Center

Photo courtesy of Northtown Lighting Center

Driessen agrees that including a wall of bookshelves remains a popular choice among homeowners. He adds that painted white cabinets and shelving is a current trend he is seeing in home offices.

Shared space

When two people need to share one home office it can pose a challenge to the design configuration and technology set up. “At times, we are asked to set up an office for two people. This can be challenging to put together from a logistical standpoint. First and foremost, we consider the layout,” explains Arnoldussen. He adds, “Technology is also an important consideration when planning an office space for two people. Will one printer be shared or will separate printers be used?” Technology integration for two people also has become easier to plan for as the size of components have gotten smaller.

Home showcase

Home offices have come out of hiding as forgotten spaces of the home to become rooms that are now carefully planned and designed. Arnoldussen says, “Creating a space that is simple and functional is always a top priority.”

“A lot of people who work from home are having client meetings in their home offices. The office has gone from being a tucked-away space to a showcase within a home,” shares Hakenjos. Thoughtful and quality home office design will wow both guests in your home, as well as clients and colleagues who spend time in the space for business meetings.

—FC

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