Working from home? Here’s how to create a productive office space

Transform your home office space into the perfect working environment

Swoon Editions
Swoon Editions

As most of us are looking at the prospect of working at home – having a functional office space that ignites productivity is essential. A quiet, light-filled zone that caters to all your needs is key in making sure you are at your most creative and productive. Our experts share their top tips…

Oak Furnitureland home office
Oak Furnitureland

Claim your space

Even if you don’t have a dedicated office space in your home, you can easily turn a would-be bedroom into a cosy work area. “It’s easy to do. You just need to organise the furniture layout in a way that makes the space functional yet homely,” says Dubai based interior designer Vincenzo Visciglia of Aavva Interiors.

“Utilise the space under the window for a desk – it doesn’t have to be massive.” There are loads of great options around or you can even have one custom-made by a local carpenter such as Art and Craft Furniture (located on Umm Suqeim Road.)

If you’re converting a box room into an office, utilise the space with an L-shaped desk with shelves and cabinets around it. If natural light is lacking, you could look at the possibility of building in a window, if you can get the required permissions. Visciglia says: “You can convert a maid’s room into an office by simply opening up the doorway by swapping out the wood for a glass partition door that lets the light in.”

Find a comfy chair

“Balancing comfort and aesthetic is very important,” says Clarice Claudette Jimenez, interior designer at Perfect Proportions.

“Make sure you have enough space for everything to flow. Finding the right desk chair can prove challenging. Choose one that’s the right height for your desk and adjust it according to your body – ease of movement is key.”

Do a sound check

“Making your office space acoustically sound will help shield you from noisy distractions, affording you the privacy you need to take calls at any time,” says Ranim Mortada, of Ranim Mortada Interiors in Dubai.

The easiest way to improve the acoustics is to layer up fabrics. Rugs are an easy solution and add a nice feeling under-foot, while fabric roman blinds or curtains will help, even if they remain open to allow for natural light.

For something a little more powerful, she suggests acoustic panels, which can easily be installed on the ceilings and walls. “The most stylish acoustic panels can look like pieces of art,” she adds. 

Executive Essentials

From first slide:

1 KVARNVIK Storage Box with Lid, grey, 30x30x30cm, Dhs49, IKEA

2 ROMMA Cable Management Box with Lid (white), Dhs29, IKEA

3 Langley Button Swivel Office Chair, Faux Leather Upholstered, Tan, around Dhs1,350 (GBP 279.00), Cult Furniture, cultfurniture.com

Illuminate the area

Ranim says while natural light is ideal, there are many other ways to brighten up your space. “A good tip is to strategically place a mirror on the wall to reflect and maximise the natural light. This, of course, has the added benefit of optically opening up the space.”

She suggests avoiding downlights and spotlights in rooms with low ceilings, which can cause glare, discomfort and cast shadows. She suggests using dimmable spotlights instead for general lighting, warm white LED lighting and adjustable desk lamps.

Wentworth study in 'Sorrel', Neville Johnson
Wentworth study in ‘Sorrel’, Neville Johnson

Get organised

“Clutter is your biggest enemy,” says Clarice. “Opt for built-in cabinets for storage and incorporate some open shelving on which you can place your storage boxes and ornaments. Less is more – don’t over-decorate your open shelves. Stack books according to their colour and size.” 

“Pretty labelled storage boxes can be a neat way to store away non-daily essentials,” agrees Ranim. “However, consistency is key and preferably all boxes should be of the same design. I particularly like IKEA’s monochrome storage boxes, which have a fabric finish. Mixing up storage containers with decorative items or books on shelves keeps the look personalised and airy. I like to place the boxes diagonally to each other for balance or line them up on the bottom shelf if the shelf cabinet is at floor level.”

If you need to store away larger equipment, such as a printer, choose
a low cabinet and make sure it has a cut out through which you can feed the cables. 

Wave goodbye to ugly cables

It’s impossible to avoid cabling altogether, however hi-tech we become. Get your cord chaos under control with cord winders, tubing, or a wire organiser attached to the desk. This helps keep things tidy, safe and brings the mess off the floor.

For the ones on the desk, invest in an attractive cord cover or feed the cords into a desk grommet – a hole in your desk which threads the cords under the desk and hides them.

Add plenty of personal touches

“Don’t be afraid to go all out by personalising your home office to your liking,” says Clarice. “This should inspire you to work even more. Think of your style, be chic and functional. A gallery wall styled with paintings, travel pictures and accessories is a great idea. Just be creative.”

Don’t forget the greenery. Plants not only add a dash of colour and bring the outside in, but they help clean the air and studies have shown that being around them can aid productivity. Low-maintenance plants include spider plants and peace lilies. 

And while your family may be just the other side of the door, photos can lend a sense of warmth when you’re trudging through the day’s tasks. You can display them on wire grids, peg boards or white boards.

  • Orchid Arrangement in Glass Vase White
  • Aysha Bookends
  • Nespresso VirtuoPlus coffee machine

Desktop Buddies

From first slide:

1 Orchid Arrangement in Glass Vase White, Dhs973, Chattels & More

2 Aysha Bookends, Dhs1,500 (set of two), Interiors

3 Nespresso VertuoPlus, Dhs1,299/VertuoPlus Deluxe, Dhs1,499, Nespresso

If you are a serial pinner-upper, you could consider covering an entire wall in corkboard. it goes especially well with a scandi style theme. Photo by Desenio

Kids bored at home? Read our expert tips on inspiring them to pick up a book and get reading

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