Well now that January is half way gone (hooray!) , I’m finally getting into the full swing of work. It’s been a rip roaring start to the year and following my annual Vision Board process, I’m happy to report I’ve got my mojo back.
Like many of you I work from home and creating an inspirational space that helps me feel motivated and creative is essential to my success. Like every room in your home, creating the right mood and feeling, using colour, texture and layout is the key to getting the most out of your space. But I don’t always get it right first time!
The first version of my home office in this house had all-white walls and a white ceiling, and white painted cupboards – can you even imagine?! I thought at the time, it would be a great blank canvas for all my colour swatches, mood boards and help spark creative ideas. I thought the white would offer a calming space to work in, because my working week is far from calm! But I was astonished how wrong I got it, and I quickly realised! For me, rather than the blank canvas to spark ideas, it just felt drab and I could feel the energy draining from me as soon as I walked in. I don’t like all-white interiors, so I should have known but I was following the trope that a all-white decluttered space would be good for concentration. Biggest take away for me is you have to KNOW yourself, and how you react to colour, because it’s deeply personal. Let it be said it wasn’t long before I got the brush out again, desperate to give it some more of my personality!
The first thing to consider when designing your work space is to have a think about the spaces in which you already feel inspired. Are they calm and serene places or are they colourful and creative? I’m in the colourful and creative camp. Do you feel invigorated by nature or find it distracting? Are you a post-it notes on a wall calendar kinda person or do you prefer having everything systematically inputted on a digital Trello board? Next think about how you use the space. Do you need your printer close to hand or can it be set up in a cupboard, where you can access it occasionaly? Working out how you work will help you define what you need from your work area. Do you need a large notice board? Do you need a bare wall so you’re not distracted? Or do you want your desk to overlook a window?
It may be worth jotting down some of your functional ‘must-haves’ first, and then having a look on Pinterest too at what spaces or decor will motivate you. The good news is that so many creatives have shared their creative spaces, studios and home offices you can find a wealth of inspiration. After the white debacle I went a full 180 and chose the vibrant Artemis House of Hackney wallpaper and my favourite cobalt blue for the wood work. It gave me all the squeals and I practically cartwheeled into my office every day.
It will come as no surprise that I find colour deeply uplifting and life affirming. In my home office 3.0, the new mural , from my new collection with at Harlequin, was hand painted by Flora Daly to reflect the view of our garden and the woodland beyond that I see outside the window. I then chose a pretty sky blue colour, Pale Berlin from Little Green, on the ceiling to complete the immersive feel. I love it truly feels like I am surrounded by nature. A long way from the all white interiors above. I find the green and blue colour palette more restful and calming than to hot bubblegum pink I had before. There is some data to prove that the calming colours of nature help us regulate, feel calm and indeed focused so looking to the great outdoors for your inspiration is a great place to start. And a few house plants will set you on your way.
If you don’t want to be distracted by pots, papers and paraphernalia whilst you work then it’s a great idea to install as much storage as you can. I went for bespoke fitted drawers and cupboards which means I can hide away all the ugly office supplies, samples, filing, printers and cables which I would find distracting if staring at the whole time. It also means my home office doesn’t LOOK like an office.
Some people like to look up and gaze outside the window, whilst others may prefer the window to the side with eyes set towards a notice board, vision board or striking work of art, positioned behind your screen. If you are on zoom calls all day, it’s worth considering that the most flattering light the natural light from a window falling onto your face front on. Down lighters are not flattering, they just give you bags!
As our work habits have changed this is a newer thing to consider but certainly no less important. If you are on Zoom all day, it’s definitely worth considering what your colleagues and clients will see when they are calling you. In the same way you wouldn’t turn up at work looking dishevelled (well not from the waist up anyway!) it’s a good idea to ensure your backdrop gives the right impression too. Whether that be some artwork, a book case or pretty wallpaper, make sure you don’t have anything too personal and it’s not a space prone to unsightly clutter.
Just because it’s an office, it doesn’t need to be a cold and clinical space. Think rugs on the floor, natural woods, beautiful lamps and artwork, colourful wallpaper or a cushion on your chair. You may wish to have a blanket near by in a basket for chillier days or invest in one of those electric blankets to save on heating. I love mine! I also have an armchair to use every now and then if I’m just doing work on my phone or on a call and want something a little comfier to curl up on. And Lucy the dog, who loves to keep me company rather likes it too.
This may be an area in which you will work out best over time what you need. From sheer curtains or blinds to block out direct sunlight that affects your screen to thermal curtains to keep the room warmer – it’s worth giving the space a bit of time to ensure you don’t jump knee deep into an option that turns out not to be quite what you need. If you’re likely to work a lot in the evenings, it may be worth investing in thick curtains or blinds to help keep the warmth in and maintain privacy. If you have direct sun to manage during the day a sheer blind can diffuse the harsh light.
As with each room in your home, your work space is deeply personal so must be tailored to your style, needs and colour palette in order to ensure you are your most inspired and productive. I work five full days a week in thsi space so it was essential that I got it just right. It may be that your space goes on a creative journey of its own like mine has, and you may not get it right straight away, but that’s ok!
If you’d like some more inspiration, tips and ideas on how to create a dream interior for every room in your home, sign up to my free webinar this week, Thursday 25th january. Here’s the link to reserve your seat!