How to Build a Home Office: Tips from the Experts

More storage, privacy, or space— we've got options for you.

From the onset of lockdown, many of us have been scrambling to re-arrange our homes to accommodate our work life and all the bits and bobs that go along with it. To date, many people have been able to make the necessary adjustments to accomplish their daily workloads without overwhelming their family living space, but others haven’t been as lucky. Some of us are still sitting on our beds using an old TV-tray or are adding couch cushions to our dining room chairs to offset daily backaches. Not only have visits to chiropractors increased, but visits to optometrists have likely gone up as well, as many of us don’t have the optimal lighting situation necessary to reduce eye strain from screen time, and our lunch breaks are becoming shorter and shorter while our work days are growing longer.  

From ergonomic chairs that don’t look hideous to fold-away tables to allow for extra corner space in a small apartment, the experts within our network have given us some tips on building a home office that is not only comfortable but beautiful and conducive to work. IPBN Dierdre Mc Gettrick, founder of Ufurnish.com sent us her list of must-haves to create the perfect workspace in your home. "When selecting the location of your home office space," McGettrick says, "it’s important to try and keep your desk close to a window so you get the happiness benefits of natural light.” Once you’ve chosen the optimal corner or room, you can get planning on how to maximize your space and minimize the office invasion of your home.

Using multi-functional, modular furniture elements can help you re-create the space depending on your needs, so consider items like these to get you started on the right track, and build out from there. If you’ve taken over the guest room of your home, Mc Gettrick recommends “The Fusion Desk [which] turns into a single bed in ten seconds allowing you to have both a home office and a spare room when needed.”

IPBN board member Susan Cabeceiras, Founder and CEO Konceptness had some tips of her own to share. She said, “COVID-19 made us understand that it is important to have the best possible working conditions at home because the hybrid work solution is going to be the new reality for the foreseeable future.” She recommended that while you are renovating or building your new home office or if you like to work all over your home, you should look into getting the Malla portable office solution by MPG Office Furniture that works like a desk and a storage system all in one that can be wheeled into almost any corner if unexpected guests arrive at your door or you need to reposition your desk for a zoom call so that you aren’t back-lit or in a cluttered space.

Now that we are all experts at video conferencing, we know we can hit the “video off” or “mute” buttons at will if our spouse has to get out of the shower, if our kids are running amok, or if our cat decided that it's time to play with the keyboard, but there are other more elegant solutions out there. To best ensure privacy, McGettrick recommended getting your hands on a partition or screen to wall off your space. She recommends this four-panel shabby-chic option that has shelving built-in, and it won’t break the bank.

Investing in a proper noise-canceling headset is not a bad bet either, according to Cabeceiras. It’s always easier to focus if your neighbor’s dog isn’t going bananas next door or your flatmates or family isn’t having an impromptu tango session in the kitchen. Cabeceiras went on to say that you should also “think about the acoustics in your office space. If the wall is made of glass or ceramic tile, you’ll need to make some changes so that you are comfortable and ready for calls and online conferences.” Try a rug or hanging tapestry panels to soak up some of the echoes, or move rooms entirely.