In Style + Design

Gorgeous Gadgets To Order For A Sumptuous Home Office

The concept of ‘physical distancing’ calls for us to navigate a new normal where socialising, exercising and working should take place at home.

There’s a lot to consider when working from home, whether it’s from a designated nook, the living room, kitchen or spare bedroom and it ultimately brings an opportunity to challenge and redefine the common ‘nine-to-five mindset’, says a leading Australian interior designer.

Senior designer at Bates Smart in Melbourne Richard Healy specialises in workplace design and says the blending of home and office is very much at the fore at present.

Image: Herman Miller / supplied

“It brings an exciting freedom; presenting new ways for how we may want to work in future and allowing an opportunity to re-evaluate our work-life balance,” he says. “People will likely start to question whether they actually need to be office-bound for 40-odd hours in a week.”

It seems somewhat ironic that we can tap into a sense of liberty and flexibility with an at-home office in a time where freedom is compromised. So, how can we create an effective work environment at home and bring a sense of comfort, style and luxury into our day-to-day during undoubtedly unsettling times?

“Firstly, a workplace needs good lighting; that’s really important for mental health and wellbeing and statistics show it boosts productivity,” Healy says.

A beautiful desk or freestanding lamp will also do the trick, Healy says. There are bountiful options on the market including the ‘Goldman Lamp’ by Flos and the ‘Focal Led Lamp’ by Herman Miller that incorporates USB charging ports in the design.

Image: HAY / supplied

“Gadgets should be kept simple; everything should have a function, or a dual function. My advice is to buy something practical that will still look good in your home.”

A number of details can be added to a space to help create a sense of luxury. Consider a corkboard to not only track tasks, goals and inspirations, but to add a touch of warmth and texture.

Potted plants, fresh flowers, a leather desk mat, candles, marble coasters and bespoke carafes and water glasses are all important components that make a comfortable yet functional home office, Healy says.

Those lacking space are encouraged to get creative by converting an existing drinks trolley into a mobile workstation, or to store their laptop and other office supplies in a tote bag that they can pack away at the end of a workday. Even switching up the wall colour can give the impression of a bigger footprint, as prominent Sydney-based interior designer Greg Natale can attest.

Image: Greg Natale / supplied

“I recently worked on a skyscraper apartment which was filled with natural light but was incredibly small,” Natale says. “Opting to paint the walls black created the illusion of more space.”

Natale doesn’t recommend transforming a room dark if there’s not a lot of natural light already, instead he encourages the use of layering; for example a rug on timber floors, the addition of artwork, a throw, or coloured cushions.

Healy agrees: “The tactility and textures that evoke a sense of touch that we might not get at present are really important.”

It’s also crucial to incorporate normality and routine in a home office. A computer monitor screen enables tasks to be completed seamlessly and consistently, headphones work well to cancel distracting background noise and allow flexibility, and the right choice of seating is key, Healy says.

“If it’s wrong, it can negatively impact your ability to focus. I see a good chair as an investment, particularly if it aligns with the aesthetic of your home.”

Whether it’s an ergonomic office chair or a sophisticated and supportive fabric or wooden seat, consider options that reflect your personal style, lifestyle, type of work, and where at home you wish to work from.

Image: Greg Natale / supplied

“If you want to work from your kitchen island then a supportive stool could be what you opt for. If you want to work from your coffee table, look into different types of cushions or an ottoman,” Healy says.

The Australian-made portable table ‘Valet’ by Les Basic allows effortless work from the comfort of the sofa or in the company of children, and Healy encourages shoppers to buy local where possible.

“Is there something you can purchase that supports indigenous craft? Australia is filled with talented designers and buying locally and sustainably is always a good ethos to have; it will have a lovely story attached to it.”

While maintaining routine is crucial, it’s also equally important to adopt an open mind about how our typical day is subject to change during these unprecedented circumstances, Healy says.

Image: HAY / supplied

“Perhaps you continue to get up at your usual time but go for a walk before you begin work because you no longer have to factor in commute time to the office,” he says. “Or you may choose to work in the evenings once you’ve enjoyed a long lunch with your family and have spent more time with your children.”

Healy says that while we may currently be restricted in our movement, working from home brings an element of ownership to our day and has proven to enable better communication and clarity around decision-making.

“It’s important to build on our daily routine in order to maintain our wellbeing and ensure we enjoy working from home throughout the weeks ahead,” he says.

(Lead image: Resident / supplied) 

Published 30 March, 2020