Friday, February 6, 2015

Home Office - How Simple Design Ideas Create a Big Impact in a Small Home Office

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Homeowners are constantly challenged with maximizing smaller spaces within their home.  My clients are no exception.  In today's economy, families are often hesitant to consider purchasing a larger, newer home when they want more space for a growing family or for their changing needs.  Most likely, an extra bedroom serves as the family's home office, rarely providing enough space for the needs of an office, which may also serve as guest sleeping quarters or a smaller den.  Three of the most common challenges homeowners face in a small space is lack of storage, ineffective use of space and poor design.

I am excited to share ten design tips that I have used successfully to take cramped and cluttered home offices to spaces the clients rarely wanted to leave:

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Considerfunction first-Determining how the space will be used helps to focus the arrangement of everything in the space.   A custom built desk unit specific to your body type, height and movement reduces dead space within a room.

Eliminate visual clutter-Keeping pattern to a minimum and creating a focal point help establish a restful mood.  Organize bookshelves and tuck away small miscellaneous items in drawers or cabinets.   Know when to use negative space (empty areas) to punctuate certain items and when negative space should be occupied to complete the design.

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Update the lighting - Lamps are vital to breathing life into a room.  There should be a balance of ambient, task and mood lighting around the entire room to diminish dark areas and draw attention to your focal points. It's also important to have appropriate lighting for reading and using the computer.  Wall sconces are an excellent way to set the mood for relaxing or watching television.

Lift the eye with dramatic verticals - This is another trick for increasing the perceived space in a room.  In an office it's natural to want to take shelving to the ceiling to create more storage.  Don't stop there! Use art work and window treatments to vertically draw your eye up to enlarge the space.

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Repeat color for balance - When the strongest color is on the wall, repeat the color in furnishings or accessories to expand a space.

Add a conversation or lounging spot - Mentally just knowing there's a comfortable area dedicated to relaxing or taking a break from work makes you more productive and less anxious in a work space.  Seating should be angled in a manner that invites you into the room.

Unify the conversation area with a rug.
Use the floor space - Not placing furniture in the center of the room is a common mistake.  Rather than opening up the space, it actually promotes a cavernous feeling.  Again, you want to feel drawn in.

Use large scale items - Furniture and accessories larger in scale are best.  Lots of little items are fussy.  Limit the number of objects in the room paying more attention to the type of and placement of each item in the room. 

Think like a designer - Although function is first in an office space, take every opportunity to create a harmonious beautiful space.  Select a unique trash can to add flair to your design. No item is too insignificant to jazz up your space.  Make it a space you won't want to leave.

Following some or all of these suggestions will help put you on the path to designing the home office you've always dreamed of.

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