Having a productive, personal workspace in the comfort of your own home might sound unrealistic, but it can be achieved with the right layout, lighting and decor.
For some, working from home is the ultimate privilege. But when youâ€™ve got the television to contend with, concentration levels can often dip.
Itâ€™s important to maintain a clutter-free, productive space to help keep your goals on track and your mind focused. From clever lighting and tranquil scents to choosing the right wall colour, here are some simple ideas to maximise space and creativity at home.
Keep it green
Research shows that greenery is key when it comes to concentration; The American Psychological Association found that workers in spaces with plants showed 15% higher productivity than those without. Aside from freshening up your space, plants add visual interest to a room while also promoting a healthy, calm environment. The best plants to incorporate in to your home office space are:
Peace Lily – they donâ€™t need much light and help remove toxins from the air
Devils Ivy – these plants can adapt easily to a variety of conditions
Chinese Evergreen – offers visual variety and requires little maintenance
Let the light in
Poor lighting conditions can cause you to feel tired, strain your eyes, and even result in headaches, all of which can take away focus and motivation. A field study states a significant positive link between daylight and productivity, and found that natural light has been found to improve alertness, so a brightly lit space plays a crucial role in a home office space.
Set your desk near a window and stay away from harsh, electric lights – alternatively, a daylight or SAD lamp that simulates natural light would also do the trick.
Colour psychologists have confirmed that the colour of a room affects your behaviour, mood and concentration – so choosing the perfect shade for your home office is important.
Both blue and green have been said to encourage productivity, making these hues a popular choice for offices. For a modern, refreshing take, go with a feature blue wall against light neutrals, with pops of green decor or plants for a calming mix of colours.
Choose blue for: wakefulness, clarity and productivity
Choose green for: calm, reassurance, relaxation
Experiment with scents
If a carefully chosen colour palette, a few plants, and a lovely, bright room isnâ€™t enough to ward off that mid-afternoon slump, then try experimenting with some scents in your home office.
Many studies have shown that odours impact our mood, creativity and problem-solving skills – for example, one Japanese study found that diffusing lemon oil through an office increased the performance of workers by 54%.
Be careful not to create an overpowering smell; avoid artificial perfumes and stick with natural scents like lavender and essential oils.
Here are some scents to try out:
Pine – for alertness
Cinnamon â€“ for focus
Lavender â€“ to relax
Peppermint â€“ to lift your mood
Citrus (any) â€“ for wakefulness
Keep it cool
We all know the pain of removing layers at work, only to put them right back on when the aircon is on full blast. Itâ€™s more than just an inconvenience; research has shown that productivity can suffer if the temperature is even slightly off.
According to one review from the OSTI, the ideal temperature is between 21 and 25 degrees Celsius, with concentration levels dropping by two percent for every degree over 25. To avoid a dip in concentration, make sure temperature levels stay constant.
Bringing in a breeze, whether thatâ€™s via an open window or a small desk fan, can freshen up your work space while reducing temperatures.
Invest in storage solutions
If room clutter is becoming a massive distraction while you work, then itâ€™s time to think about storage solutions for your office.
A space to keep your creative ideas, notes and keepsakes organised is essential for a home office. A good place to start is with shelves that are fitted above eye level, where you can display the things that inspire you most.
We also recommend other practical solutions like bookcases with a filing unit at the bottom or desks that are fitted with a drawer or two. Alternatively, you could consider a storage bench to keep files, books and magazines in and use it as a working spot when you want a change from your chair.
If youâ€™re looking for a stylish and simple storage solution for your office, check out our DIY guide where you can fashion a minimal leather strap shelf in a few easy steps.