Jeff Shauger, Associate Broker, ABR, CDPE, CRS, ePRO, GRI , SRES, SRS
Jeff Shauger, Associate Broker, ABR, CDPE, CRS, ePRO, GRI , SRES, SRS
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Savvy Home-Office Design Tips

June 14, 2011 2:57 pm

Forget the home office. Create a home haven to run your home-based business.

"Today's new breed of virtual professional doesn't just want a home office. They need a dynamic, high-function, home-office haven," according to Philadelphia interior designer Donna Hoffman. "High performance clients need to develop home work environments that provide enhanced focus, enhanced creativity and enhanced pleasure."

Today's urban developers have recognized this virtual professional niche and, in response, they are advertising what would have been a second small bedroom or even alcove as the home office. However, Hoffman says they are missing the mark entirely by casting them as lifeless, "work-less" utilitarian spaces that are cold and uninviting.

"It's barely a step up from the office cubicle. Today's high performance virtual executive craves better life balance, which now includes home work environments that are not only high function, but also high octane for enhanced productivity, and high pleasure for enhanced focus, creativity and satisfaction. In other words, a computer, a swivel chair and writing desk just don't cut it," she says.

Here are interior design tips for creating high-output, high-satisfaction home offices that will make work a pleasure.

1) Beauty Counts. "Aesthetic pleasure" is a key driving force that compels our desire to spend time in any environment. Ignore this truism and you will have a nails-on-the-chalkboard-bad experience every time you go to work. To ensure optimal focus and pleasure beyond the functional needs, take care to load the office design with the precise colors, textures and ambiance the owner craves. "Enhance the aesthetic, and watch productivity and focus rise as well," Hoffman explains.

2) Function comes first. In today's savvy home-office design, the aesthetic needs count big, but as with all design, function must come first. Critical questions must be addressed to cover all functional needs. Determine exactly the tasks that need to be supported and by way of which furnishings. Note precise activity zones and storage access for both long- and short-term storage. Identify clear organizational needs right down to whether you’re a righty or lefty. Remember to add pleasurable function, too. Need a mini-coffee station in the office or a second workstation for the kids to sit at when they bounce in after school and want to do some homework nearby? Carefully think out what you'll need and want before getting started to ensure maximum functionality.

3) If possible, have a door to close. Boundaries in a home office are important, as is the ability to walk away from the job. Otherwise, the temptation is to sneak in to check one more thing, and before you know it, you're really working 12-hour days. In darker spaces, Hoffman suggests adding French doors with ruched fabric to create the sense of boundary and window at the same time. For apartment dwellers who are working with alcoves, consider a beautiful screen placed at the threshold when it's quitting time.

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