Chester-based interior designer Gabriela Bednarczyk has the definitive guide how to design your perfect home office.

Great British Life: Interior designer Gabriela Bednarczyk on designing your perfect home office Interior designer Gabriela Bednarczyk on designing your perfect home office

In the three years since the world experienced the challenges of COVID-19 and resulting lockdowns, the hybrid style of working has become increasingly popular. This shift has made having a dedicated home office more essential than ever before. Gone are the days of hastily carving out a workspace on the dining table, now the challenge lies in creating a dedicated and functional home office, especially if you hadn't considered this when initially designing your home. Small home office ideas have become invaluable in making the most of the space you have. With smart furniture choices that won't break the bank, you can create a stylish and practical workstation that enhances both your productivity and creativity.

Find your workspace

Before diving into the aesthetics of your home office, you must decide whether your workspace will be permanent or multifunctional and mobile. This decision will dictate which part of your home you'll convert into a home office or where you'll co-opt space from. Finding the right spot for your home office is paramount to productivity.

Great British Life: No space is too small to create a work-from-home optionNo space is too small to create a work-from-home option Remember, no space is too small to create an effective work area. That awkward kitchen or dining room wall, the overlooked box room, or even a corner of your living room can be harnessed and designed to your advantage.

Let there be light

Whether you're working in a small room or a portion of a larger space, the choice of colour is crucial. Light, bright shades and materials can make a space appear larger than it is. Pairing light colours with natural materials, like light wood, can create a calm and organic look and feel. Position your desk side onto a window (to prevent sunlight shining onto your computer screen) to make the most of natural light , which can increase productivity, prevent fatigue, and is easier on the eyes compared to artificial lighting. If your chosen workspace lacks natural light, invest in a quality desk lamp, preferably an adjustable task light. This will allow you to cast a wide pool of light or a focused spotlight as needed. Adequate lighting can transform even the darkest corners of your house into bright and engaging workspaces.

Choosing right

Now, let's talk about the exciting part – choosing the right furniture and storage solutions for your office area. Focus on furniture that serves dual purposes, such as a desk with built-in storage to help keep your workspace clutter-free when you're done for the day. Even in a multifunctional space, having some form of storage is crucial to maintaining a tidy environment. When designing your home office, ensure that it seamlessly integrates with your existing interior décor, creating a cohesive and natural flow throughout your home. Your office should enhance the overall design and functionality of the space, rather than overshadowing it.

Use panelling or colour to define the space: In a recent project, we created a permanent workstation between the kitchen and dining room. As most of the space was dominated by white with accents of natural wood and black details, we decided to make a statement with a panelled wall. We further enhanced the look by painting this section in a contrasting colour to the rest of the walls, adding depth and interest.

Great British Life: Dome Deco Lucca floating shelves, Dome Deco Lucca floating shelves,

Think vertically

Every inch of space is precious, especially in compact areas. This includes the space above your desk. Invest in stylish vertical shelves that can serve as additional storage or a display area. Since this spot might not be the easiest to reach, consider storing items you don't need daily.

Be green

Adding a few houseplants to any space in your home can have a positive impact. Place some around your workstation to reduce stress, boost productivity, improve mood, and enhance attention span. You can style your plants with unique pots or, if space is limited, use hanging planters. The snake plant, sansivera, is renowned for its air purifying properties, and is almost impossible to kill.

Flex the space

When designing a workstation in a shared space, think about how it can be used comfortably during the day and repurposed in the evening. For example, in one of our projects in Chester, we utilized an awkward corner of the living room beneath a skylight window. We paired a console table with a stylish chair, creating a dual-purpose space that functions as a desk during work hours and transforms into a home bar or drinks station for entertaining.

Tuck it in

In the past three years, our homes have become more multifunctional than ever before. In urban homes where space is often at a premium, dedicating an entire room to a home office may not always be feasible. When creating your workstation, consider using an alcove in your dining or living room. Maximize every inch of space for your home office area, investing in vertical storage solutions and customising furniture to fit seamlessly.

Great British Life: Harsha leather dining chair, Harsha leather dining chair,

Whether you're embarking on the journey of creating a home office on your own or with the guidance of an interior designer, remember to enjoy the process. I always remind my clients that while I'm here to listen to their needs and guide them through the design process, it's ultimately their space. It's essential that they are happy and confident with the design, ensuring that the space is used to its fullest potential.

The past few years have reshaped the way we work, and our homes have had to adapt accordingly. Whether you have a dedicated room or just a small corner to work with, these ideas can help you create a functional and stylish home office that seamlessly blends with your existing décor. By maximizing every inch of space and focusing on smart design choices, you can create a workspace that boosts your productivity and enhances your overall work-from-home experience.