Hot desk

Whether you’ve got a tiny cor­ner, a nook un­der the stairs or a whole room, you can cre­ate a great home of­fice space. NZ House & Gar­den staff re­port.

The Dominion Post - Your Weekend (Dominion Post) - - At Home -

Many of us are spend­ing an in­creas­ing amount of time on home-based work. Even if you’re not work­ing from home, you’ll prob­a­bly need an area for a com­puter, some­where for pay­ing bills, a place for kids to do home­work or a space for hob­bies and cre­ative pas­times.

FIND A NICHE

The good thing is that you don’t need a big space to cre­ate a work­able home of­fice and it doesn’t need to be dom­i­nated by chunky com­puter equip­ment.

With tech­nol­ogy be­com­ing in­creas­ingly minia­turised, cord­less and portable, a slim­line com­puter can fit neatly on some­thing as small as a wall-hung shelf. So think cre­atively about where you can squeeze in an of­fice space.

Un­der-used “be­tween” spa­ces, such as mez­za­nines, nooks un­der stairs or a good-sized land­ing can be turned into a com­pact work area or cre­ative space. Or you can set up a home of­fice in part of a larger mul­tipur­pose area such as a kitchen, and sep­a­rate it with a par­ti­tion or door you can close when it is not in use.

A but­ler’s pantry can be a good spot to in­clude a mini home of­fice, with room for charg­ing elec­tronic ap­pli­ances, space for a lap­top and stor­age for school notices and bills.

Wher­ever it is, take ad­van­tage of ev­ery avail­able inch for stor­age – above and be­low eye level.

If you take some time to set up a stor­age sys­tem, not only will it look bet­ter, but you’ll al­ways know what’s where. La­bel boxes and files, use drawer di­viders or lit­tle boxes and pop odds and ends such as pa­per clips in ded­i­cated con­tain­ers.

If you can, build in draw­ers and shelves. And don’t for­get er­gonomics; when plan­ning your work space make sure that your desk, chair and screen are at the right lev­els.

Think about light if you’re tuck­ing an of­fice space in an un­used cor­ner. Nat­u­ral light is best, but if that’s not pos­si­ble, make sure you have some well-placed light­ing in­stalled.

If too much sun on your com­puter screen is likely to be a prob­lem, blinds can be a good op­tion, es­pe­cially in a small space where cur­tains would be too bulky.

DON’T FOR­GET DEC­O­RA­TION

You’re more likely to en­joy spend­ing time in your of­fice if it looks at­trac­tive.

Some­times the tools in your workspace can cre­ate a beau­ti­ful dis­play in their own right. Think colour­co­or­di­nated file boxes, as well as in­ter­est­ing con­tain­ers for pens and other para­pher­na­lia. You can stamp your own style on your space with a bold wall­pa­per, a quirky lamp or a framed print.

Where an of­fice is set within a multi-pur­pose space, keep­ing decor colours the same through­out will help blend it in seam­lessly.

Even in small spa­ces it’s pos­si­ble to have fun with colour and pat­tern. The key to suc­cess is not to over­whelm. One or two sur­faces picked out in a strong colour can be enough to add vi­tal­ity; drench­ing an en­tire area can be over-pow­er­ing.

IF YOU’RE MESSY

An of­fice that can be tucked away be­hind closed doors is the ideal so­lu­tion for those who use their workspace often and find that tidy­ing up af­ter each ses­sion is im­prac­ti­cal.

A tall cup­board or wardrobe that is sur­plus to re­quire­ments can pro­vide enough space for a built-in desk, along with wall space for post­ing notes and re­minders.

If there’s no room for doors, a solid blind that can be pulled down to hide the chaos may do the trick.

EDIBLES

• Sow cold-weather let­tuces such as Merveille des Qu­a­tre Saisons and Red Oak in a sunny shel­tered spot in rich soil. Cloches may be used in frost-prone ar­eas – the ends of soft-drink bot­tles, makeshift shel­ters made from plas­tic bags and sticks or old win­dows will do the trick. Jerusalem ar­ti­chokes will be ready to har­vest. As they are not good keep­ers, they are best har­vested just be­fore they’re due to be eaten. It is also time to plant them – if you can find any! They do best in ma­nure-rich soil and their stalks and leaves are use­ful for shel­ter­ing ten­der crops in early spring. But re­mem­ber, they can spread rapidly, so con­sider grow­ing them in con­tain­ers.

Make the most of ev­ery inch of space. In­door plants placed on neat shelv­ing make this of­fice cor­ner at­trac­tive. Given that you’ll spend so much time in your of­fice, make it a pleas­ant place to be, with some­thing to look at.

A wooden desk was cho­sen to tie in with the tim­ber used in this home.

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