There's two kinds of light to consider in planning a home office: natural light and electric light. Both have an aesthetic impact as well as providing necessary illumination.
As Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors points out in this House Beautiful post, “Replacing builder-grade light fixtures is a quick transformation that’s super high impact...You can really change the look and feel of a space with a few new pendants, a chandelier or a sconce.”
If you have a window in your space, placing the desk near it will maximize the natural light that comes through it, as well as provide opportunities to look out the window to think.
The home office pictured below doubles down on diurnal light; bold green patterns on wall and ceiling energize. Our Andover fixture's hard angles contrast the archway entrance, the curved lines of mirror and chair, while complementing the chrome X of the desk's legs.
The kinds of things you do at your desk will decide what kind of illumination you need on your desk. Working on a computer doesn’t need much light. Handwriting or consulting books, check writing, referring to notes, handsketching all take some close illumination. A lamp that will set the right tone is essential.
With limited deskspace to work with, a lamp may not fit. In a situation like this, a small pendant hanging low enough to concentrate light where you need it or a wall sconce that doubles on accent and task duty will do the trick.
Putting a desk next to a wall adds another lighting option. Adjustable articulated wall sconces like our Claremont are a perfect fit for such a space. Extend it and adjust it to get the light you need. This way you can move it out of place when not needed, and pull it right over when it is needed.
DON'T YOU FORGET ABOUT YOU
Do you thrive on being surrounded by layers of things you like, stacks of books, push-pinned magazine page cut-outs, and the like? Or do you require a minimalist space, perfectly clean, to think clearly enough for what work requires of you? What calls you to sit down and work? Is it the gravity of dark wood, solemn furniture, and filled shelves? Or do you prefer an airy space, light and spacious, the air charged with harmonious qi?
The owner of this office is obviously a lover of horses and the equestrian life. Props from that world adorn this home office space, making it inviting for its user. Our forthcoming Brasher's opulence adds a pleasing contrast to the simplicity and earthy materials and colors in this office.
A sculptural element and a table lamp whose heft matches it adds the visual weight and interest that gives the room the desired sense of gravity and poise.
The home office is your palace. Your place to hold your ground, to dream your dreams, to kick butt and take names. It’s your command center.
It’s your workspace and only you know what makes you feel the most energized and helps you to focus the most.
Here, our Hinsdale illuminates a minimalist workspace, playfully off-center. From a feature on the fixture by Lumens.
Sometimes, the only space you have for an office at home is a small one. There are plenty of ways to make a great little office space in a tight spot (and great careers have been launched from tiny desks). Acrylic chairs and tables and other transparent materials are perennial standbys for this.
Clear items look cool and elegant while making small spaces seem larger. They may add a sense of levity, helping with the heavy feeling work can bring.
However, think it through. Some items that look alluring have pragmatic consequences worth bearing in mind. In appointing your space, remember that things like glass and stone keep cold, making a desk made of either uncomfortable on bare forearms.
With limited space, you might build a nook in underneath a window, like the inviting work station below. An industrial-era lamp and a gorgeous Art Deco chair make a small, functional space feel a little luxurious. (Flowers always help, too!).
The size of your home office dictates the size of furniture and what kinds of things will be included. People with a large room dedicated to their home office can make of it an extended place to hang out and enjoy the things they love. Brooke Inabnett here, for example, built a couch cove into her office. As an interior designer with a lot of books on design, architecture, and art available for inspiration, her study is filled with them. Nestled between her custom shelves is a cozy couch and glam coffee table. Wall sconces above the couch offer reading light to pull out a volume for help on a project, and accent light for working at night. Ton-sized tome LYRICS of Bob Dylan awaits on the coffee table and a picture of Jimi Hendrix hangs over the couch. We all have our pools to which we return for inspiration or to remind us who we are. Maybe late-sixties musical geniuses is Brooke’s. Besides, it’s easy to imagine the Lyrics tome as a kind of I Ching to be consulted when blocked.
Light, dark, or the natural tones of a material? Subdued or bold? We're affected by the colors around us in subtle ways. Some of us are even affected by the lack of them.
When we first came across this picture, it made us stop for quite some time. While it's no doubt a real space, it almost operates as a slightly surrealist work of art as photographed here. It's an interior designer's home office in Spain and it testifies to a highly advanced aesthetic taste.
Orange is an intense color, and not everyone can handle it saturating their space. Here, it's inflected with a rich earthy umber, like the rock faces of Sedona in the dying light. This hue complements the darker wood of the ceiling's antique beams and the smooth blonde wood of the floor. The light grey bookcase, stuffed with books, and with a matching ladder, takes up enough presence to absorb the heat of the orange. The sconce seems to be wired into the bookshelf, at a location one does not often see, but which probably allows it to both illuminate the books and cast light onto the desk.
Dark walls help concentration by quieting the mind. They also allow other features of the room to pop. In this elegant office, brassy shelving units stand out from the wall and a beautiful, light, blue carpet is given the chance to be the room's focal point. Its full opulence may have been lost in a white room. Here, it feels like an oasis.
The designer of this room brilliantly chose a Lucite desk, realizing that the room would feel too cumbersome with both the dark walls and big somber desk. Also, that rug!
We're also fond of the way they deliberately went for symmetry and used the chandelier (only glimpsed here) as something to visually echo throughout the room, with several spiky coral-like paperweights visible on the bookshelf.
Whether your home office is a place worked in day-in, day-out, or a backup plan for bad weather, or an ideal space that calls to you but you seldom find the time to spend time in, it needs to support you and not the other way around. Consider what makes you tick, what helps you focus, and work on putting that into place in the best way possible.
Are you doing a home office? Check out our Home Office Pinterest board for more inspiration.
*Featured Image found on "The Workspaces We Want" on House & Garden UK (No. 23: Disappearing Act)