As more of us work from home and embrace flexible job schedules, home offices have come into their own. Here, Jo Caruana explores how to best walk the line between chic and practical in a space that has to work hard
A good home office needs to be as calming as it is motivating, and as flexible as it is particular and packed with personality. It’s quite an ask so where to begin?
‘Great home offices are one of the biggest trends of the moment,’ says Matthew Borg, from the Studio Moda Group. ‘Life has become really fast paced, and people need to be able to balance their home and work lives more than ever. But a great home office starts with serious planning – so I suggest that you begin by thinking of the function the space will play. This will help you to create an office you want to spend time in, rather than have to force yourself to sit in.’
In fact, when it comes to a home office, every good design decision starts with function. Thus, it helps to kick-start planning your home office around what you need it to achieve. Is it a place for you to lock yourself away for writing time or strategising? Or would you rather it played a central role in your home, so you can keep an eye on the children while you catch up with admin? Can it be a little nook with just a computer and internet connection, or do you need a larger area for storing work-related materials.
‘Before you do anything else, make a list of the main tasks you’ll be doing most,’ advises Chris Pace, from Vivendo Group. ‘Emailing? Calling? Editing videos? Once you know what you will be doing in the office, then you’ll start to understand what it will need to look like. My advice is not to add furniture unnecessarily – but do invest in a good, ergonomic chair.’
The FourMe® 66 armchair is made of a bio-composite material enforced with excess wood fibers visible to the eyes and hands, making every chair unique and a very different tactile experience from other conventional shell chairs. Studio Moda
A great chair, it seems, is central to to getting you in the zone to work. ‘People perform at their best when they are most comfortable,’ Chris continues. ‘But studies also show that you need to constantly move about, so having a swivel and reclining office chair will allow you to move about freely without leaving your desk. Productivity is the main aim here, so think about that at every stage.’
Technology is also a crucial aspect of having a great home office. What good would a working space be if it didn’t have enough plugs for your computer, screen and printer? Equally, how annoying would it be if those plugs were at the opposite end of the room to your desk?
The Qwerty desk by Andrea Lucatello is a stylish desk with creatives in mind. The desk top is the ideal space for a laptop and includes a space at the back to keep wires tidy. FINO
Height-adjustable desk systems make it easier to change one’s posture while working, reducing time in the seated position and standing more, which has a positive effect on one’s health. BSL Lifestyles
‘In the past, we focused primarily on encouraging our clients to have a great desk and chair,’ says Rachel Cluett, from Satariano. ‘Nowadays, we know that devices and gadgets also have a vital role to play, while paper storage and filing cabinets have lost their primary importance. This is great, as the shift into a paperless office is also more environmentally-friendly. Think, instead, about other things, such as specialised lighting that encourages different work moods, sound absorption and acoustics, the colours that make you most productive, and the technology that you will need to have at your fingertips. The rest will unfold.’
TA selection of filing cupboards, available in a number of sizes, colours and finishes, perfect for both an office or homespace environment. Made from high quality laminate wood. Available at maltaofficechairsandmore.com
Of course, it isn’t always possible to dedicate a whole room to your home office – in which case, you can select a spot that can multi-task within your living room, kitchen or bedroom. ‘The compact nature of new technological devices has led to a shift towards a more minimalist approach when it comes to home offices,’ says Giulio Gallese, Head of Projects from FINO. ‘Desks today also look fantastic because designers know that they often have to be integrated into more public parts of the home; good desks now have channels that run down the sides to pass wires, suspended cable-brackets hidden below the work-surface, hooks and hangers attached to the legs of the desk, and back-panels to hide any messy wiring.’
Made from an innovative composite of plastic and wood fibres, Muuto’s Fiber Side Chair has a textured matt surface and a soft touch. Studio Moda
Height-adjustable desks featuring a user-friendly control panel. This motor-operated desk may be adjusted according to your desired height. Models in stock are of 140cm in length, in either black or white. Available at
Giulio explains that another common request in this sphere is to hide or segregate your home work space using a divider or walk-in wardrobe. ‘It can all be done,’ he says. ‘And we delight in finding the right solution for every person. There is so much to consider in getting this right – the furniture, décor, layout, and colour – that speaking to an expert will always be a great place to start. Listening to outside ideas can be an excellent way to discover unique approaches that might not have occurred to you otherwise.’
HOME OFFICE ADVICE
CHOOSE FUNCTION OVER DESIGN
Pinterest and other visual inspiration tools are great when planning a space, but don’t get too caught up in the look to begin with. A home office must be practical above all else, and you can then have fun thinking about the visuals later.
GO NATURAL IF YOU CAN
Natural light is always the best for working, so if you have the option of setting your home office up in a room with a large window, take it. A lovely view is a bonus too, of course!
Stuff somehow accumulates in offices – bills, paper work, stationery, and knickknacks. If you don’t like the cluttered look, then think about where all of that can go when you don’t want it to be seen but can’t yet face sorting through it. Bookcases with stylish, closed-top storage boxes make a great combination.
Your home office doesn’t have to be all work. One of the best things about working from home is that you can work the way you want to. This is where a comfy reading chair or sofa could come in, as well as a luxurious throw or pillow.
MAKE IT PERSONAL
Again, one of the benefits of your office being at home is that you don’t have to suit any status quo or match with corporate colours. Once you’re done with the planning practicalities, make the space your own by adding your favourite photos and paintings, as well as plants and other mood-boosting items. The result? You won’t ever want to leave!