The Home Office — ASID NJ designers have their say
EIGHT INTERIOR DESIGNERS SHARE TIPS TO ENHANCE YOUR HOME OFFICE
Whether it’s where you do all of your work or just some of it, your home office should be more than a desk squeezed into a corner. With a little effort, your home office can be designed to foster productivity, stimulate your creative juices and separate work life from personal life.
Need some guidance? Eight members of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) are here to assist. As members of this esteemed professional design organization, they undergo rigorous training and are mandated to refresh it ever year. They are better than a trusted friend. They are educated, experienced professionals whose talent, creativity and skills can positively impact the design of a home or place of business.
Below are some of the designers’ solutions for engineering an environment that will help you get down to business and do your best work.
Creating an office in the bedroom
“When your workspace is in your bedroom, separating the work area from the personal area is essential for productivity and stress relief,” says Susan Barbieri, ASID, of Susan Barbieri Interior Design. Some of the furnishings that can be used to serve this purpose:
- A freestanding bookshelf that doubles as a divider
- Drapery with ceiling-mounted hardware
- A Murphy bed. “When put away, it makes the work area seem like a dedicated space rather than a combined one,” says Barbieri.
Another solution is a spare closet (if you’re lucky enough to have one). Fit it out as a workspace that can be closed and out-of-sight at the end of the day, Barbieri suggests.
With an office-bedroom combo, you must be particularly careful about prepping your video conferencing backdrop, says Sharon L Sherman, ASID, Thyme & Place Design: “A virtual background, such as a green screen, is one option. Otherwise, you’ll need to set up an actual background that doesn’t show the bed. A cozy corner with good lighting, books, wall hangings or plants behind you project an air of calm and professionalism.”
Sharing a home office
“When your home office is a shared space, it’s very important for each person to have their own comfortable chair and portion of the room designated just for them, their computer and work files,” says Sandra Lambert, ASID, of Realm Designs. Sandra also advises minimizing noise, a major cause of distraction. This can be done through a number of methods:
- Putting acoustical panels or stackable surfaces on the wall will help with sound absorption, as will adding a low-pile carpet.
- Positioning desks so they are facing a wall or away from each other will help lower the transmission of phone conversations.
- Installing a white noise machine will mask sounds from keyboard clicking and paper shuffling.
Another noise solution is headsets, says Pat Valentine Ziv, ASID, PVZ Design, because “they provide a quieter way to communicate with others while not disturbing your office-mate.”
Larger rooms present more options for making a shared office comfortable. Sharon L. Sherman likes to construct a space that is separate from the primary work area. Furnished with a sofa and a table, along with a rug to pull the space together — this area can serve as a meeting venue or a place for stretching your legs while taking a call.
Making a home office function without a desk
“You don’t need a traditional desk to work, but you must have a flat surface to work on,” says Judy L Miller, Allied ASID, of Judy Miller Design. “This could be in the form of a folding table that you pull out and use when working or something that serves multi-functions, such as a vanity that can also serve as a desk. Above all, you need a comfortable place to sit, so consider the ergonomics of the chair you choose.”
Joan Ravasy, ASID, of Joan Ravasy Design uses wall-mounted shelves tucked into corners, hallways, landings and foyers. “This is my go-to for creating a dedicated area. Desks can be many things — a workbench, kitchen counter, a shelf,” says Ravasy.
Terri Fiori, Allied ASID, Fiori Interior Design, recommends C-shaped end tables: “You can slip them under a chair or a bed. Some of them of them serve a dual purpose, with a shelf feature or a flip top extension,” she says.
Making a particularly small home office function better
“In any small space I always look to vertical solutions, says Cozette Brown, Allied ASID, of Cozette Brown Interior Design. “Tall chests, bookcases, even an old armoire can all be repurposed for office use.”
Sandra Lambert recommends installing cabinets and shelving below work surfaces. “Don’t forget about the back of doors, she adds. “They can have hooks, folder holders or tack boards. This will free up valuable space on the surfaces from clutter.”
“I attempt to utilize every inch in all directions,” says Pat Valentin Ziv. “This may mean vertical storage above the desk. Function is paramount so you want most of your everyday items close at hand. A rolling drawer below the desk may house a printer. You may want to place the computer monitor on a desk or wall-mounted arm to free up desk space.”
Joan Ravasy says that “order is critical in a small office: To be organized is essential to functioning well and efficiently.” She opts for putting work items in stacked boxes, or a small shelf unit with labeled bins and covered containers to be pulled out when necessary. These tools “allow you to put your work away at the end of the day.”
How to make a home office both functional and elegant
“The most efficient way to make a home office both functional and sophisticated is with the utilization of built-ins,” says designer Alma Russo, ASID, AR Interiors.
“This allows the client to specify exactly what their needs are for the space, whether it be file cabinets, hidden printers or any other user-specific storage. Also, adding elements such as strong saturated color and wallpaper really enhance any work from home space.
Many people don’t consider how they can improve their home office. Testing new design ideas can help you boost your efficiency and get the most out of your workday.
To find an ASID NJ designer near you, visit: https://www.asid.org/find-a-pro
The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) believes that design transforms lives. ASID serves the full range of the interior design profession and practice through the Society’s programs, networks, and advocacy. We thrive on the strength of cross-functional and interdisciplinary relationships among designers of all specialties, including workplace, healthcare, retail and hospitality, education, institutional, and residential. We lead interior designers in shared conversations around topics that matter: from evidence-based and humancentric design to social responsibility, well-being, and sustainability. We showcase the impact of design on the human experience and the value interior designers provide. ASID was founded over 40 years ago when two organizations became one, but its legacy dates back to the early 1930s. As we celebrate nearly 85 years of industry leadership, we are leading the future of interior design, continuing to integrate the advantages of local connections with national reach, of small firms with big, and of the places we live with the places we work, play, and heal. Learn more at asid.org.