The world of work changed drastically in 2020. One minute we were commuting to our 9 to 5, the next we were working from home whilst juggling home-schooling, workouts and general household tasks.
To cater for this new way of working, it’s more important than ever to craft the perfect workspace that suits your needs. The warmth, style and comfort of your workspace are incredibly important factors to consider, not only because they make your working day more pleasant, but also because they can increase productivity as well.
With spring officially upon us, you might feel it’s time for a home office revamp. But where to start? We’ve put together some ideas below for sprucing up your workspace, with a little help from retailer Next’s latest study.
Using Google search data for hundreds of decor queries, Next looked at how these have changed over the past year since the start of the pandemic. Supported by interior design experts, their study also sheds some light on what the biggest home décor trends for 2021 are going to be.
So, if you’re feeling inspired, keep reading to find out our top tips on how to transform your home office!
1. Spruce up your workspace with plants
We were all desperate to spend more time outside in 2020 and as such, looked to incorporate more greenery into our surroundings. In fact, according to Next’s study, searches for “indoor pot plants” rose by +173% between March and October 2020, while “hanging indoor baskets” increased by 50%.
Investing in plants is an easy way to bring the outside into your home office. We often find solace in nature – whether it’s playing outside with our children, or going on scenic walks.
Incorporating greenery into our workspaces not only helps to maintain the indoor air quality, but also helps to reduce stress. Plus, plants actually alter the acoustics of a room by absorbing noise; great for when your children are distracting you during a zoom call!
Interiors expert Nicola Burt believes this trend of bringing the outdoors in is here to stay in 2021: “I think many people have realised the benefits of having organic, living things around them. Plants are not only good to look at and bring life to a space, but many indoor plants have health-giving properties; detoxifying the air so we can sleep better, for example.”
2. Use lamps to brighten up your office
Natural light is important for home office spaces, but so is having an extra boost of brightness for those days when you need to work late or start early.
Avoid overwhelming overhead lights and instead opt for smaller lamps. For example, clip-on lamps are a perfect addition to your workspace because they can be easily moved around to suit the areas where you need the light the most, while statement lamps are nice accent pieces that give off lots of light within a particular area. Whatever your lamp’s style, make sure you invest in the right bulb so you get adequate light.
Proper lighting in your office will boost your mood, keep your eyes from straining and help you feel less drowsy. We could all use an extra burst of energy when working from home!
If you’re in a room with lots of dim lighting, it could make you feel tired and lethargic. Imagine staring at a bright computer screen all day in a low-lit room – it’s enough to fill you with dread for the working day ahead!
3. Choose a neutral shade for your walls
We all know that giving a room a fresh lick of paint can give it a new lease of life. Bold and bright colours might be great for a photograph, but hues like orange or red aren’t a great choice for a home office as they can be stimulating and distracting.
However, having an office completely devoid of colour can make your space feel sterile and not very inspiring to work in.
Instead, it’s best to go for more neutral and subtle shades on your walls like taupes, greys or even light blues, and hire a professional painter and decorator to help you. If you don’t want your office to be completely neutral, then add little pops of colour in the form of photos, desk accessories and accent pieces.
In addition to their insights on home décor searches, Next also looked into the most popular colours for some of the key themes identified – including Scandi, Indian, Biophilic, Rustic, Farmhouse and Modern. Similarly to our tips, they found that the palettes predominantly feature neutral greys, light greens and blues.
Nicola believes that one of the colours we will be incorporating more into our homes this year is green: “Green promotes a sense of connection with nature, which many of us are missing at present. So bringing green into our homes helps us to feel that sense of closeness to nature, and creates the feeling of calm and wellbeing in our homes.”
While at home, why not have some fun designing your home office space? For all the decor inspiration you need, be sure to check out the Next homeware range. If you’re looking for more tips on balancing family and working from home life, take a look at our content on flexible working.