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As our work patterns have shifted in the past few months, it’s no exaggeration to say that the home office has never been more important. Our home offices have quickly become an essential function of our domestic environments – and we’ve quickly learned that thoughtful design of this space not only aids with utility and productivity, but also provides sanity, privacy, and a little serenity.
If you’re currently working from home, you know it’s easiest to be productive when you have a workspace that works for you! Here’s some inspiration and guidance for your custom home office.
A custom home gives you the opportunity to create a home office that is built for your needs. Talk to your custom home builder about how to make the most of your space with a functional office design. Think critically about the amount of books, files, office equipment, and other material that will need to be stored in your office.
What function does your home office need to serve? If you just need a small area for occasional financial management and organization, you may want to consider dedicating a space in your kitchen, hallway, laundry room, under the stairs, or corner of a room as an office area. Do you have kids at home? Maybe you’ll want to set aside space in your home for them to focus on their homework and other projects. If you spend a lot of time brainstorming, you could paint a wall of your office with chalkboard paint or have a custom whiteboard installed. If you spend a lot of time drawing or working with materials spread out all over your desk, you may want to consider a custom desk.
Whatever your home office needs, building a custom home gives you the opportunity to make sure your space matches your work.
Home offices can end up being a bit of an afterthought – sometimes without even having any window! When the floor-to-ceiling height of a residence is generous enough, an office loft can be slipped in with a minimum head height of 7’-6”. These spaces offer a dedicated office area with a connection to the common areas below.
The open concept of a loft workspace is a breath of fresh air compared to what’s often depicted as a small space. This is the perfect option for keeping the air (and the creativity) flowing freely.
Natural light is a key element to any home office. In contrast to harsh and distracting artificial lamps, natural light creates an airy, well-lit space. It has even been shown to increase productivity and regulate human circadian rhythms – and who couldn’t use a solid night’s sleep?
Expert homebuilders embrace daylighting: the strategic placement of windows and skylights to effectively bring sunlight into your home. An east-facing office window will fill the room with generous morning light – giving you the jump start you need at the beginning of your workday.
However, in other cases there are good reasons to decrease natural light in an office – in particular because strong light makes screens harder to see. Screening or filtering natural light can reduce monitor glare and help with monitor accuracy (think illustrations for graphic designers, x-rays for doctors, etc). Other times, a view or access to direct sunlight simply isn’t desirable. Not to mention, because the privacy office is detached from any sort of view, they, by design, have more flexibility on where they can be located within a residence.
Etch-matte glass and interior screens are great for this. During the day, the room fills with a soft, consistent light, and (if used on an exterior wall) at night the windows give a soft glow to the outside.
As we continue to enhance the design and function of our home offices, one feature has risen to the top as essential: a clean and unencumbered background for video calls. Every surface in a home can very often be usurped for storage, however with video becoming more prominent throughout the workday, your background can communicate a lot about how you work and what you value.
Storage closets are indispensable, as they allow the clutter to be neatly tucked away at a moment’s notice. Similarly, built-in bookshelves offer tremendous value, as they provide much needed organizational structure.
If your home office is your primary or only office, having a nice seating area for clients or business partners is a great idea. Meeting in the comfort of your home office can save huge amounts of time from having to run out and meet at a local coffee shop.
With the right custom home builder and clever refinements to our home office designs, we can create lasting and meaningful melding of our domestic and professional spaces. Ready to build your custom dream home? Give us a call at 650.322.7069