Whether you’re working from the kitchen table, are a parent who is having to homeschool your kids or, like many of us, juggling both of these things, you will have found that suddenly your home is having to flex and become a space where you work, rest and play.
Creating separation between this new office, classroom and play park might seem impossible but here are some practical tips you can try to help make the most of the space you have while boosting productivity, creativity… and hopefully, happiness.
If you can, carve out an area that will be your designated work/study area. One of the positives about a “home office” is the space is yours to decorate or style however you want, so creating a comfortable environment that reflects the personality and style of the rest of your home will mean work doesn’t dominate.
Make the move
Consider reconfiguring the layout of certain rooms. Psychologically, changing your surroundings when you’re stuck in one place can feel uplifting, even if it’s only a small switch around. Can you shift your furniture to improve flow or make better use of the light and any views you might be lucky enough to have? For example, if you’re going to be spending more time at the kitchen table for the next few months, then why not move it next to the window so you can connect with the outside world.
Zone your home
Joanna Thornhill, stylist and author of “My Bedroom is an Office & Other Interior Design Dilemmas” has a tip for a clever way to zone multi-use areas. “Offering flexibility that walls can’t, a strategically placed bookcase partitions space for a home office without totally blocking the room’s flow.”
Open framed styles like these ones in our Brooklyn range are ideal because they still let the light flood in. To prevent a feeling of being boxed in, she suggests using a shorter design at the end to help create more flow. If you don’t have bookcases, you can create a similar zoning effect using any rugs you might have.
If you’re strapped for space and having a dedicated office space with a desk is a luxury, then maybe you can repurpose an existing piece of furniture. Do you have a console table in the sitting room or a dressing table in the bedroom? Both pieces are favourites in our ranges because of their versatility and their generous solid oak tops serve as great makeshift desks, particularly if you only envisage working from home being something temporary and don’t want to invest in a desk.
Give Everything a Home
Tidying away the work things at the end of the day won’t just clear the decks, it will clear your head too and mean you can properly switch off without being surrounded by reminders of jobs to be done. Don’t under-estimate what a difference being organised it will make to your mood, it’s well worth spending a bit of time putting everything in its place. Having a specific space for stuff will give you some semblance of a work/ life balance.
In situations where every bit of space counts, the most useful bits of furniture are the ones that multi-task. With your sitting room making a daily transformation into a classroom or office, a storage footstool, like this one from our Cooper collection, does two jobs at once providing you with a pretty place to pop your feet and somewhere stylish to store all the essentials you need to help you get on with your job.
Alternatively, use one of our super spacious blanket boxes to house everything from craft supplies and toys to files and paperwork while the sturdy top doubles as a coffee table or a place for the kids to crack on with their tasks.
Make room for mindfulness
While we’re all confined to our homes, retaining a space where you can switch off will work wonders for recharging your batteries. With the help of a couple of cushions, some candles and a diffuser filled with calming essential oils, you can create a mindful relaxation nook in the corner of even the smallest room.
Joanna Thornhill recommends, “However small your space, try carving out a nook dedicated to meditation or relaxation. You don’t need much: you could even repurpose a small TV cabinet to house your supplies. and display your favourite calming décor pieces if there’s not space for anything larger.”
Connect with Nature
We all know the positive effects of spending time in outdoors and during this time of isolation, lots of us will be missing that all-important connection to nature. Despite being cooped up, it’s still possible to make use of greenery and its power to relax and calm. If you have a garden, cut some foliage and fill vases around your home or if you’re in a flat, without easy access to outdoor space, you’ll find spring is a great time to propagate your favourite houseplants. You’ll also enjoy the satisfaction of having the time to watch these plant babies bloom and grow.