Valeria Crescenzi

How to create your ideal home office

Back in June, I published a video on my YouTube Channel talking about the essentials in designing a home office. The video (recorded in Italian with English subtitles) focused on what should be included in a home office and what are the ergonomics to keep in mind when choosing office furniture and lighting fixtures.

I got some very positive feedback from that video and since I was actually waiting for my new desk to arrive, I promised to write an in-depth guide with tips and inspiration to create your ideal home office.

It took some time (I got my new desk with a one-month delay and then it was August) but finally, here we are! Better late than never!

Let’s start with the home office essentials…

A DEDICATED SPACE. A separate room would be ideal but if you don’t have a spare room whose door can be shut, try to carve out some space from a quiet corner in your home. Choose a spot that is away from the hustle and bustle of the household life.

SOURCE A PROPER DESK. This is very important both for your posture and sight. Ideal height: 74-75 cm; width: between 60-80 cm; length: min. 120 cm. Say yes to matt surfaces and avoid glossy ones because they can create uncomfortable glares.

CHOOSE A REALLY GOOD OFFICE CHAIR (your back will thank you). Be sure to get one that is stable, with adjustable height, that can roll, and that provides lumbar support.

(NATURAL) LIGHT IS KEY. Natural light is irreplaceable for our well-being. If you don’t have access to natural light, make sure to have different artificial light sources. The best combination is overhead/ambient light + a desk lamp. I’m a big fan of dimmable lamps: you can adjust the amount of light depending on the moment during the day. The best position for your desk is perpendicular to the window but if this is not possible, put it in front of the window. In such a way you’ll avoid annoying glares on the PC monitor.

USE A LARGE MONITOR. The larger the better. I had to use an 11-inch monitor for months before setting my new home office corner and, I assure you, my eyes were strained at the end of the working day. Protect your eyes, buy an adjustable monitor that is at least 22-inch or bigger.

How to create your ideal home office. My temporary home office

The photo below shows you my temporary home office from March to July. Since my husband really needed a separate room due to the many e-meetings he has on a daily basis, I’ve left him my studio and I’ve set up a temporary home office at the dining table.

I bought a laptop stand to improve the monitor hight and I used some cushions to make the ergonomics of my chair a bit better.

For a limited period of time it worked out but after months of bad posture, I’m happy to have a desk and an office chair again!

So.. to recap, the downsides of this setting were:

  • The chair (which is more an armchair) was too low to comfortably work for at least 8 hours a day;
  • The monitor of my laptop was too small;
  • The dining table is located in a very luminous part of the home. This is usually a benefit but when working with a large window on the back…mmmm not really! Too many glares on the monitor;
  • The dining table is very close to the kitchen and when the dishwasher was in use, well, let’s just say that it wasn’t ideal.

How to create your ideal home office. My new home office

This is my new home office setting. I moved to the living room where lighting is definitely better: I can adjust both natural and artificial light. There is less noise and when I’m done for the day I’m under the impression of really disconnecting from work. It is almost like closing the door of the studio as it was before the Covid-19 era.

As you can see, now I have a new desk, a new office chair, and a 25-inch monitor. My neck stopped hurting, my eyes are more rested and I can concentrate better.

Let’s breakdown the new furniture items, the decor (and their benefits):

THE DESK — it’s 120×60 cm, a respectable size for a working station. I have enough space for my keyboard, computer as well as some free surface when I have to write on paper. Moreover, the distance between me and the monitor is enough and respects the ergonomics standards (remember at least 50-70 cm).

I went for a desk by French company TipToe. It’s called ‘Noma’ and it’s made of an oakwood tabletop (matt surface with rounded corners) and 4 table legs in powder-coated steel. I chose a desk that I can easily assemble and disassemble for a reason: if in the future I will no longer need the desk in my living room, I can easily disassemble it and move the desk to a new place or use each element separately.

THE OFFICE CHAIR — it’s a real treat (and an investment for my back). I went for the Physix chair designed by Alberto Meda for Vitra. This used to be my chair when I was working as an editor in a Swiss publishing house so I played safe: I knew for sure it was very comfortable and just right for my physique. Watch my video to deepen what are the key features of a good office chair.

DECOR — I have to say that this is still a work-in-progress aspect but you can see that I already added something decorative and something green. Plants help to reduce the stress and the noise in the room, while decorative items make the workstation more personal. There is no need to rush the decor part but I’m thinking about adding some desk accessories and more hang more prints on the wall.

If you love plants and want to add some in your home office, have a look at this article on 5 plant shops that deliver to your doorstep: it’s one of the most popular on the blog!

How to create your ideal home office if you have a dedicated room

If you have a designated room you can go big and furnish it as if it was a regular office. To the home office essentials, listed above, you can add a shelf and even create a relaxing corner when you need a break from work.

photo courtesy: muuto
Photo courtesy: ikea, 2021 catalogue
IMAge source: oh happy day
image source: sugar and cloth blog
IMAGE SOURCE: the girl in the yellow dress

How to create your ideal home office if you have a nook

Built-in study nooks are a cool way to go if you can’t reserve an entire room in the house for work. Get some inspiration from the studio settings below.

PHoto courtesy: ikea
image source: homes to love
image source: est living
Scandinavian vibes in the home studio of Ingrid Opstad
PHOTO COURTESY: THAT SCANDINAVIAN FEELING. TO DISCOVER MORE ABOUT THIS HOUSE, READ THE FULL HOME TOUR HERE.

How to create your ideal home office. Wondering what you can do with space under the stairs?

Space under the stairs is usually overlooked not realizing its hidden potential. It can be a place for extra storage, a kitchen pantry, a wine cellar, a reading corner, or turn into a beautiful office nook. Here is some inspiration to steal!

image source via pinterest
photo courtesy: ikea
image source via pinterest

How to create your ideal home office in case of tiny, tiny spaces

If you live in a small apartment don’t despair! You can always create an office nook. You just need to be a bit more creative and you might need to opt for foldable furniture or custom-built-solutions such as hidden desks or wall-mounted secretaries. Lucky for you, there are many stylish and practical solutions. Here is some to get inspiration from!

photo courtesy: hartÔ
photo courtesy: ikea
image source: three salt design co.
photo courtesy: karup design

Whether you are new to working from home or not, I hope this guide will inspire you to create a workable and comfortable home office space. If you need more tips or are looking for specific advice, let me know in the comments below: I’d be happy to help you create your ideal home office!

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Cover photo: courtesy of HAY.

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