2020 is the year of promoting interior designs that encourage health and well-being. It must be kismet because we are spending so much more time at home and now can look at our spaces intently to find ways of incorporating wellness design. For example, Stay at Home Orders to reduce the spread of COVID-19 find many of us working remotely from our home offices. We begin and end our workdays here. The good news is that with just a few tweaks the office space can become more enjoyable and promote healthy living.
Lighting can change a room’s mood from dull and drab to bright and cheery. It seems simple, right? Not quite, there is a bit more to it than just adding a lamp, for instance. The key here is to look at how lighting is absorbed and reflected in a space.
Location. Location. Location.
First, figure out how the natural sunlight changes throughout the day. Is your desk located in a good spot to capture the natural sunlight for most of the day?
Below gives you an idea of how lighting is affected by the room’s directional position.
North-facing rooms: Light in these rooms is cool and bluish. Bolder colors show up better than muted tones, as lighter colors will look subdued.
South-facing rooms: Plenty of high-in-the-sky light brings out the best in cool and warm colors. Light colors present a happier atmosphere here.
East-facing rooms: East light is warm and yellowy before noon, then turns bluer later in the day. Light and warm colors add cheeriness.
West-facing rooms: Evening light in these rooms is beautiful and warm, while scant morning light can produce shadows and make colors look dull.
The importance of proper lighting, once the paint color is determined, cannot be understated. The popularity of LED bulbs has given us light that lasts longer than conventional incandescent bulbs, and more importantly, can create a very peaceful and Zen-like atmosphere.
It is best to analyze how to blend natural and artificial light during all times of the day. You may have to experiment with different bulbs and with the light placement to find the perfect lighting that brings harmony into the space. It may take several attempts, but once you find the correct combination of natural and artificial light, you will feel the difference in your mood.
Desks come in all shapes and sizes. If your desk is not adequate for your work needs, it may be time for a new one. It is best to assess how much room you have by measuring the space where you want to place the desk. Consider what you want to face when seated at the desk as this will change your measurements. Is the desk in a shared space, such as a bedroom? Note the desk surface space and height requirements. Will your needs be met with a 30” deep desk? Or is an 18” deep desk adequate? Multiple users, no problem. An adjustable desk that changes to several preset heights with the push of a button, will give you and the other users versatility and comfort. Consider the placement of a bookcase, file cabinet, printer, or other office items. Now determine the style of the desk. It should match the style of the space. Do not buy a traditional style desk if you have contemporary furniture in the room. Set a realistic budget that matches your desk requirements. A quality desk that can withstand daily use may cost a bit more, but in the long run, it will hold up beautifully, keep you organized and able to work efficiently.
The desk chair is the key to your well being while working in your home office. If you are constantly squirming in the chair because it makes you uncomfortable or worse, causes pain, it is time for a new one. Determine how many hours per day you are in your office. If you only use your home office for 30 minutes a day, a stylish over comfortable chair may win out. On the contrary, if you spend 7-10 hours per day in your office, the comfort of your chair is paramount. Ensure that your chair height is proportioned to your body. For example, if you are short, a chair that is too high and non-adjustable may have your feet dangling like a child. A proper desk chair should look great but allow you to sit in it comfortably for hours.
“Spaces that harmonize with the environment create better energy and make us happier. Something as simple as bringing in fresh flowers or a beautiful plant can enhance the quality of a space,” says interior designer and architect, Ramona Albert. Working in an environment that brings joy makes us more productive.
Give your office a face lift towards harmony and wellness by incorporating good lighting, a functional desk, a comfortable chair, and a positive environment. Choose wisely and your home office will reward you with a space that brings you joy the moment you walk into it. Now get to work!