From Sliding Doors to Oversized Couches: Designing the Modern Home Office

Well-Designed Office

A well-designed office can increase comfort, boost productivity, and spur creativity. That’s as true of home offices as it is of corporate offices. From sliding doors to articulating keyboards, here are some of the top trends in home office design.

The Modern Home Office

These days, many employees and business owners work from home at least part of the time. The shift to a partially mobile workforce has moved the home office to center stage. Given its importance in the digital era, you might think people would dedicate as much time to designing their home office as they do their away-from-home office.

You would be wrong. Far too many people approach their residential workspaces in a haphazard way, and that can have a devastating impact on efficiency (not to mention sanity). Regrettably, the average home office is strewn with papers, cluttered with electronic gadgets, and clogged up by clunky furniture.

The solution is to focus on upgrading your workspace to reflect more modern design principles—minimalist layouts, simple furniture, space-saving ideas. When you set out to create the perfect modern office, you’re looking for a space that is at once pleasant and functional, sparse yet fully equipped. To set you on the right path, we’ve listed a few simple things you can do to smarten up your work area.

Install a Sliding Door to Save Space

Corporate Office Sliding Doors

These days, more corporate offices are installing a sliding door in place of a swinging door. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing; they’re also impressively functional. Their biggest claim to fame is their ability to maximize space. In an era of rising prices and decreasing square footage, that’s no mean feat.

If it’s true that corporate offices need to capitalize on existing space, then it’s even more true of home offices, which are often cramped and cluttered. Unlike traditional doors, which open out and swing into the adjoining room, sliding doors open sideways and remain nearly flush with the wall, eliminating the need for a no-go space. That leaves room for both furniture and footpaths. Whether your office opens up onto a hallway or a living room, a few feet of extra space can make a huge difference.

Design Tips for Sliding Doors: In the end, the look of the door and the hardware should fit in with the décor of your home. From barn doors and reclaimed metal to glass and other materials, there are plenty of options. Whether you’re going for a retro mid-century look or a contemporary rustic look, you can find a sliding door to fit your style.

Sliding Door Hardware

Whatever you do, don’t forget about the sliding door hardware—the tracks, hangers, and pull handles—which can be just as important as the door itself. The hardware is, after all, what turns that slab of wood or piece of glass into a fully functional door. Without it, you might as well block the opening to your office with a giant boulder.

In addition to bearing all of the weight, the hanging door hardware can make or break the look of the door and, therefore, the look of the room. Choose a supplier that provides both high-quality tracks and hangers as well as plenty of color and finish options. Your best bet is a trusted RW Door Hardware barn door hardware kit.

Let in the Light to Improve Health and Happiness

Light is essential to the modern office. Gone are the days when studios looked more like dungeons than workspaces. Nowadays, the typical office allows for plenty of illumination. Those offices that don’t upgrade to a brighter look risk getting left behind in the race to the top. That’s because access to sunlight not only improves health and wellness, it also tends to boost productivity.

Bright Office Space

Design Tips for Brightening a Room – Of course, the best way to create an airy feel is to let in plenty of natural light. Large windows that let the sun shine right into the office are a huge plus if you can make it work. Of course, you’ll have to watch for glare. That means getting your hands on a good set of shades or blinds to cut down on distracting sun spots.

Another way to open up the room is to choose light colored paint. Even if you have a windowless office or suffer from poor exposure, shades of white or light neutral can make you feel as if there were more space and more light.

Finally, an interior sliding door made of framed glass instead of wood or metal can also add to the feeling of expansive lightness. If you prefer the world didn’t see you while you’re working away, frosted glass is a great compromise, increasing brightness while still allowing for privacy.

Go Minimalist to Boost Productivity

Minimalist Office Space

Offices today tend to have a more open floor plan than older, more traditional workplaces. With fewer partitions or pieces of furniture, they cut the clutter down to the bare minimum. Such spacious layouts are critical for businesses with large numbers of employees, but you can also apply the same principles to the average home office.

Indeed, you’d be amazed how much productivity you can squeeze out of even the smallest improvement. In fact, some studies show that the physical environment is the single biggest factor impacting a worker’s ability to focus, and focus is the single biggest factor determining productivity. That means that a chaotic workspace could be seriously reducing your ability to get your work done.

Design Tips for Creating an Open Layout – Perhaps you have a dedicated workspace. Perhaps you simply have a dining room or living room that doubles as an office. Either way, you should consider rearranging the space so there can be less clutter and confusion.

To begin with, purchase less cumbersome furniture or at least furniture that does double-duty—a dining table equipped with an articulating keyboard; a dresser that holds office supplies. You could also go in the opposite direction: bigger but fewer. Choose only a few select pieces of furniture, such as a super-comfortable oversized couch instead of office chairs. Finally, a sliding door can also open the floor plan significantly, leaving more room for walking and for thinking.

Hide the Gadgets to Improve Focus

It’s not only the big things like room size and furniture that affect your ability to focus; the small things can also create distractions. Wires, hubs, and power strips, for example, can clutter your office and get in your way. So can stray papers and files, which still seem to be ubiquitous in spite of the digital revolution.

Clutter-Free Desk

Design Tips for Reducing Clutter – To get rid of the unsightly mess, you should invest in a few simple solutions. Gather power strips together and attach them to the inside your desk. If you have a lot of gear—say you work in the IT field—put up a series of wall-to-ceiling shelves to hold all the flotsam and jetsam. For all of those papers, find dressers or custom cabinets that can hold your files. Then install another sliding door to hide all of your paraphernalia from guests as well as from yourself.

Find a Bigger Space to Maximize Efficiency

Another way to maximize efficiency is simply to upgrade to a larger space. For people who work with a lot of equipment—artists, craftsmen, home manufacturers—that’s even more critical, as space is often at a premium.

In many cases, home workers spread out and take up more than one room. While that’s a great temporary solution, it’s hardly ideal. Not only is it inefficient, but it also ups the clutter factor, since equipment manages to find its way to every room in the house.

Design Tips for Upsizing – To enlarge the space and cut down on disorder, combine a few rooms into one. By asking yourself whether you utilize your existing space efficiently, you can open up all sorts of possibilities. Does anyone ever use that extra guest bedroom? Is your living room just a superfluous showpiece? Consider knocking down a wall (or two or three) and creating a single, spacious workplace. If that sounds too drastic, simply create an additional opening and install a sliding door to integrate rooms without reducing the number of rooms.

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