Home Office Design: Can Good Design Increase Productivity?

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As we roll further into the 2010s, it seems that more and more of us are making our living while working from home.  Home can be a place of distractions. So, can the power of good design help increase productivity and focus in our home offices?

Guest blogger Zoe Williams, herself a person who works in a home office, is here to expand upon the possibilities here.


I was inspired to write this blog post after reading Nan Fischer’s excellent article on 10 Art Studio Outbuilding Designs; home offices or studios are a fantastic alternative to the humdrum of a 9-5 schedule. While Nan was brilliantly perceptive and lucid, I wanted to add my voice to the chorus regarding this issue and why it is such a practical and productive option.

Firstly, I must begin with how a redesign is not a task to quickly gloss over. Office refurbishment is something you must seriously take into consideration. It requires an unbelievable amount of thought and planning; but why would you undertake such a challenge? Maybe you need additional space for your business or need to improve your existing facilities.

I myself work in a home office. With the technological luxuries of the 21st century in our grasp, I can still conduct business via conference call or the internet, and do it in a cost-effective manner. But what you may not be aware of, is the increase in productivity that can be achieved by working from home. In this post I am going to offer three useful redesign factors that can help you adjust to working from home.

Color in your home office design

Color scheme is more than simply an aesthetic decision. There is such a thing as “color psychology”, in that color has a subconscious effect on how productive we are in our surroundings. As a woman wanting to create a home office that reflected my identity rather than a corporate identity, I found that my natural inclinations for purple and black had powerful implications. Purple and black can imply impracticality, arrogance and negativity.

It is advisable to use a mix of colors for your desired psychological trigger, such as self-belief and confidence. Thus, when choosing a home office color scheme, be aware of the connotations of color. A useful guide I found when making this decision was this website that talks about color meanings in business; by all means, choose a color to your specific palette, but be aware of the existence of color combinations.

Light and good design in home offices

The idea is to create a home office that is an alternative option to the much-dreaded commute. With a home office, it may feel like you are simply working in your study, but it can actually feel like a bona-fide productive workplace with some help. This can be achieved by the careful consideration of light.

Light can be achieved through without the excessive placement of artificial fixtures. In fact, natural light does more good for the person working from home than artificial light does; natural light increases productivity and alertness, according to a recent Swiss study. Personally, I believe natural light can be achieved through a simple measure: mirrors.

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As Build Direct Blog Editor-in-chief Rob Jones quite rightly states “the placement of mirrors is a subtle art” and in my home office, I ensure they are always present. I feel that it is not only an aesthetic choice, but an interior design decision that creates the vital components of positive light.

Minimalist equipment for a home office

An idea for a home office redesign is little more than a shell to most people, but for me, it is a blank canvas. Your interior fit-out could depend on the specific field of your work; for example, a designer would ensure the office is as minimalist as possible whereas a freelance public relations executive would need a suitable plethora of technology.

Beware of loading your office with too many gadgets; a minimalist office can still achieve the aim of productivity if you ensure you have quality equipment that covers you in 90% of situations. Keep the number of monitors and appliances to a minimum for example. Err on the side of being completely void of identity though, this is your home office and you are entitled to display photos or art of your choice.


Thanks, Zoe!

 Zoe Williams is a British guest blogger, writing on behalf of Opus-4 to promote home office environments.



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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.