For most homeowners, there’s BP and AP – Before Pandemic and After Pandemic. There’s no denying that Covid-19 has impacted the way we not only live in our homes, but how we are now working with design. The home office is probably seeing the biggest change in home design as a result of the pandemic.
While working from home seemed like a dream job for most of us, since the pandemic it’s become a way of life. When the coronavirus struck earlier this year and sent office workers home, many of us discovered that their improvised home office setup became wormholes of household clutter, nagging family members, and ergonomic strife. Since a well-designed space can help shut out distractions, center the mind, and inspire creativity, our experts weigh in on the best design home office features for 2021 to balance work and homelife.
To start, the 2021 home office should be bright and airy and, according to Mindy Bledsoe of Tailored Living of Nashville, “have adequate counter space for multiple monitors, sufficient outlets to accommodate all equipment and a recharging stations. Lighting and acoustics are important factors to consider with more people participating in virtual meetings.” Shelly LaBash of Keller Williams adds the space should be versatile, “Adding a Murphy bed that can be a desk or a small couch during the work day and a comfy, cozy bed at night is a great trend for 2021 as it can turn your home office into an instant guest room with less real estate cost.”
Our experts also point out the biggest trend they are seeing is formal dining rooms being turned into the home office. There is an up and a downside to this trend. Since it’s near the hub of the home, the kitchen, it can be noisy for video conferencing or focused work as most dining rooms don’t have a door installed. On the upside, it’s convenient for supervising children’s homework time. Both are things to consider. Again, our experts point to making the space versatile and flexible and focused on what will work best for the home and those who live in it. Samantha Boozer of reliant Realty points out, “Homeowners have more family members in need of desk space, computer time and virtual classes or meetings. Areas of the home that facilitate those things are desirable.”
Since so much time is spent in the home off it shouldn’t just be functional, it should also reflect the homeowner’s sense of style. At the end of the day, a home office isn’t just a place to get things done—it’s a reflection of who you are. With that in mind, our experts point to a minimalist style taking over home office design. Rather than storing files and books and miscellaneous office supplies, experts recommend going for less distraction and clear thinking. Rebecca Peden of Benchmark Realty says, “Minimalist is definitely trending. After already feeling trapped in an enclosed space, the less distraction and clutter is needed for clarity of thought and mental stability.” Samantha Boozer adds, “Most home offices today seem to lean toward minimalist or even urban chic since most people are relying on laptops, enhanced speakers, maybe additional lighting or speakers too. The desire is to have a professional looking background area in any video meetings.”
Experts also point out that while the space has to be versatile, many homeowners are moving in the direction of dedicated space so they can delineate between work and home. Experts recommend focusing on storage, room dividers, and nice looking furniture to create a useful but chic space. Sandra Sokol of Closets by Design suggests, “Home Offices need to meet function as far as the needs of the space, but clients definitely need areas to put things away. If you are sharing spaces, you don’t want piles of work laying on a desk in the corner. A priority in the proper design of a Home Office, is in planning for storage as well. Things such as drawers or doors need to be available to put items away, but keep them organized as well as easily accessible.
When it comes to technology, there is nothing more important in a home office. Between video conferences, shared documents, and online schooling, making sure the home office space is more important than ever. Rochelle Coll of Nashville Glass Company says, “During 2020 and leading into 2021, customers are depending on updated equipment, internet services and the right location of their space.” Rebecca Peden reminds homeowners that as important as technology is, it also needs to be designed into the space, “One can create an aesthetically pleasing office which is also high tech and fits in with the current vibe of the home-or not.” Our experts suggest that homeowners must think about technology in terms of a design plan – something with a specific purpose or intention. Identifying what technology is necessary or will be used and making informed decisions from function to style will allow for a beautiful yet functional space.
In terms of beauty in the design, experts point to solid color furniture with patterned accents, and keeping colors light and bright. Rebecca Peden says, “Calming colors like Pale Oak, Olive Green, even a dark, bold color for an office wall, trim, and ceilings are trending. Using a deeper tone helps distinguish the room the minute you step foot inside and close the door behind you making the room feel cozy.” Sandra Sokol adds, “We are seeing lots of greys and whites, as well as a trend towards our textured melamine products.” Overall, experts recommend that particularly since home offices are becoming more the norm than simply a place to pay bills and file documents, that homeowners make the home office a place to get work done AND making the space an extension of the rest of the home so there’s less urge to hate going to work every day.
Since the enclosure is considered an extension of the interior design, our experts suggest focusing on colors and flooring. Jamie of Signature Homes says, “Light, airy, natural textures always make a room feel comfortable,” and Nancy Moore points out, “Make the floor of the porch the same level as the house. Enlarge door openings between the spaces to make them feel better connected and have the color theme continue from interior living space to porch.” Connecting all the elements of the design will make the space feel more natural to the design of the entire home.
Regardless of where the home office is, or how it’s used, our experts have some special tips for designing the perfect space:
Get Professional Help!!! There are so many details that can be incorporated into a well thought out home office design, so rely on the experts to make sure that your space is providing all of the features and function that you need. A well-designed home office should make your job and life a little bit easier!
Besides the three faux leather footstool cubes with my files in them, I also have a wicker basket with cozy blankets in it and I have put my calendar and command center for the day inside the lid…Office wall by day, plain old blanket basket by night.
Don’t forget traffic flow. Make sure you can move around the space in a natural way.
Find ways to organize differently because most people are in a smaller space. Always face your desk towards an open door.
Home offices are something that is now adding great value to homes. We recommend that creating a “workstation” area for virtual learning, but also crafts, reading or homework in children’s rooms.
Use plate glass or tempered glass to protect your new or existing furniture/desks.
Technology is what makes working from home possible – don’t let it be an afterthought anymore.
Plan for a lot of wires that will need bundling and hidden from view to give a clean, organized look. If the office plan can accommodate a closet, that would be desirable to homeowners.
Consider a glass desktop and drawer storage in a credenza with a custom built base cabinet for client files, and supplies, and additional desk area for office help.
Don’t forget: Neat storage cabinets for files and supplies.
There is no denying that home offices are not only necessary but changing the way people live in their homes. The home office is much more than a functional place to pay bills and store files. With some planning and creativity, homeowners can create a unique space that works for the whole family and can accommodate work and school, along with daily home life.
There are a number of sources for home office design in the Greater Nashville area including:
Absolute AV Consulting, Inc Brentwood, TN 615-656-8900
Benchmark Realty Franklin, TN 615-788-1131
Closets by Design Franklin, TN 615-261-8700
Crye Leike Realtors Franklin, TN (615) 395-8212
Hermitage Nashville, TN 407-913-3104
Jennifer Jones Design, Inc. Nashville, TN 615-354-8907
Just Design This Auburntown, TN 615-606-8450
Keller Williams Nashville, TN 480-529-3924
Nashville Glass Co. Inc. Nashville, TN 615-254-1345
Realty Association Nolensville 615-485-1608
Red Triangle Interior Design Franklin, TN 267-421-4239
Reliant Realty Murfreesboro, TN 615-439-0546
Tailored Living of Nashville Nashville, TN 615-590-8775