By MARK DUTKA
Sometimes there is no choice but to have to use your bedroom or living room as an office.
Here are 10 tips for making it work
- Make sure the room has a door, especially if you have children or family members who come and go during the day. This will ensure privacy when concentration is essential, and eliminates embarrassing “house” noises.
- Choose office furniture that blends well with your existing furnishings, so that the room will retain its residential feel.
- If you also entertain in the room, consider furnishings that can contain and even hide computers, peripherals and papers. Furniture such as armoires and hutches can be closed up so that the office disappears completely when not in use.
- Managing multiple wires can be a problem in a room already filled with furnishings. To ensure that they stay out of sight and don’t pose safety hazards to children and others, look for furnishings that have wire management systems built in, or purchase wire management channels or Velcro fasteners and attach them to the underside of the work surface.
- To avoid power problems, check on the electrical usage and power supply in the space you’re considering for your office. Appliances that use a lot of energy often cannot be plugged into the same outlet as a computer or fax.
- Check to make sure you have enough outlets for modems/fax, and telephones. Don’t add any until you have decided where these machines will be placed in the room.
- Plan placement of your computer workstation so that equipment is not in direct sun, and so there will not be glare on or behind your monitor screen. Black out shades installed behind drapes can help. If you have a great view and plan to face it as well as your screen, be aware that outside light will compete with the screen, making it difficult to focus. Avoid placing bright lights behind the screen, as this too, causes eye strain. Bright lights behind you can cause distracting shadows.
- Avoid purchasing a desk chair simply because it will look great in the room. Your body will thank you and your productivity will increase when you choose a chair that offers optimal lumbar support, adjustable arms, pneumatic height adjustment, and overall flexibility.
- If you’ll be doing more than working on a computer, make sure you have a task lamp on your desk for paperwork.
Avoid putting your keyboard on top of your work surface, as this height can strain arms, shoulders and wrists. Purchase an articulating keyboard tray which can accommodate both a keyboard and mouse. These trays not only pull out from under the desk, but can be height and tilt adjusted to your specific body needs.
If you’d like more information on planning and furnishing your home office, contact InHouse, the specialists in home office furniture and custom design.