Design tips for home working spaces
By April of this year, 46.6% of workers in the UK were working from home. Of these people, some 86% were doing so due to the pandemic.
For many Londonders, where 45% of boroughs have a median property size of smaller than 78sqm, this has meant that a small living space has had to double as a working space — that often needs to accommodate more than one person.
While it’s important to heed expert advice and stay home where possible to prevent the spread of the virus, there are ways in which we can arrange and design our work spaces to ease the mental burden of monotony. We caught up with Anna Burles, Creative Director and Founder of interior design agency Run for the Hills and the woman behind Kindred’s recent interior redesign, and asked for her top tips on how to make home working feel less like you’re living at work.
Storage, storage, storage
You may still be physically in the same space at the end of the working day, but to ease the mental transition into downtime it helps to have a ritual of putting your work things away. Here, storage is key, says Anna: “It’s about getting it out of sight and out of mind, which helps you switch off. Don’t worry about where you’re putting it — whether that’s getting a little chest of drawers or taking stuff out of an existing drawer. It doesn’t matter if you put it in your wardrobe!”
As well as using storage boxes or existing furniture, you could also use small curtains or doors to simply hide things from sight. Anything is fair game: you could use your bedside table or even a blanket box at the end of the bed. “The more messy my work area is, this impacts how my home feels, which adds stress to the situation,” says Anna. “A really easy way to have a sense of calm is to remove clutter.”
This bookshelf inside Kindred is used to divide parts of the Hall into separate working spaces
Use what you’ve got
Key to making your space work for you is figuring out how to use what you’ve got. You might find that it helps to create a sense of division within the space that separates working and living areas. If you have a bookshelf, for example, this could be repositioned as a room divide, to separate your desk from the rest of the space. A sideboard or storage unit could also work.
If you need to save space, consider pieces of furniture that could be dual-purpose — for example, a ladder shelf that has a desk below it. This can also help to prevent your space from looking too much like an office. Anna encourages creativity in finding a desk to work from, as long as it functions as a desk. For example, you might repurpose a dressing table that has enough space to host a laptop.
Anna is also currently working from home, and is using a narrow table in her bedroom as a desk. “I wouldn’t want it to be a work desk, I wanted it to still look nice in the bedroom. So I chose a very narrow table that can house a laptop,” she says.
“Comfort at home makes a big difference,” says Anna. This can refer to both the physical comfort of your furniture and the look and feel of a space.
“A comfortable chair can make a big difference. With a ladder shelf, you could have a few cool books and a piece of art, so that it doesn’t feel like work or a desk. You could buy interesting boxes and folders, which you can just put things in to make it look nice,” she says.
As the days get shorter, you might find that candles add a cosy sense of warmth to your space.
Plants feature throughout Kindred’s interiors
Bring the outside in
A popular — and brilliant — way to breathe life into a space is by adding plants. “Plants make a huge difference, they bring the outside in, even if you aren’t getting out as much,” says Anna. And it doesn’t matter if you aren’t green-fingered: there’s no shame in buying some fake plants, some of which can be very realistic. Just adding one plant can make a difference: “Even against a very plain wall, if you have one lovely plant and a great piece of art, it can be really lovely.” This is especially great if you need to make Zoom calls and would like to have a nice background scene.
Another tip Anna shares is to consider using mirrors to create a reflection of the view outside. “If your desk can’t see out of the window, you can use a mirror to create a reflection and then you have a nice view out of the mirror,” she says. This really helps to remind us that a world exists beyond the walls of our homes.
Following government guidance, Kindred are aiming to re-open on December 3rd. We are accepting bookings for Christmas from December 10th. Learn more about how we are keeping our building safe
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