If you’ve made the switch to working from home, one of the biggest challenges you might have faced was finding a place to set up a desk where you can concentrate.
With real estate at a premium, many of us don’t have the luxury of a spare room to serve as their home office – which means you might have to get a little creative to steal back space from an area that has another purpose. This could be a corner of an open plan living area, a bedroom or even a finished garage.
The trouble is, it can be hard to find the motivation to get down to work at home – especially when your office also happens to be your bedroom, kitchen, dining room or living room. While it might be nice to have a home office that’s surrounded by four walls and a door that can be closed to minimise distractions, it might not be realistic for your setup. Paint can be a handy tool for defining your desk space, making it an attractive part of your room design and keeping you on task. Plus, it'll be a lot easier to roll up your sleeves and get to work if your home office looks stylish, feels energising and is easy to keep organised.
Rejuvenating colours, ample light, uncluttered surfaces and comfortable furniture are the magic combination for a space that inspires focus and looks good while doing it. Soft and dusty Resene Cashmere, for instance, is an excellent choice for the walls of a home office that shares floor space with a room you like to relax in, such as a living room or bedroom. The hue has the warm and rosy glow of a supple suede. However, Resene Nocturnal has been used to ‘colour block’ and define the office area. This deep and recessive near black is easy on the eyes, making it easier to concentrate on the tasks at hand.
People (and their homes) come in all different shapes and sizes, which can make it tricky to find the right office furniture to fit you and your space. One idea is to build your own desk, which can be as simple as trimming down a thick plank of timber to the correct length and width, cutting a thick piece of doweling to the right height, then screwing them together. By anchoring the desk surface to the wall with small shelf straps, you likely won’t need more than one leg to keep it balanced and square – which will allow more room underneath for your own legs, and to add a handy filling cabinet and rubbish bin.
While it’s good to keep visual interference in a home office to a minimum, you’ll still want to create interest by leveraging key design principles. Staggering the lengths of the shelves and desk visually draws the eye diagonally downward and across the room, creating both asymmetrical balance and a sense of movement. Adding a stylishly curved corner to your colour block adds a touch of contemporary flair while echoing the shape of the desktop and the lines of the chair. But it’s what you can’t see that makes it really special. The feature is painted in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen and works as both a chalkboard, which can be wiped clean with a damp cloth, as well as a ‘pin board’ to tack up notes and memos using strong magnets thanks to two basecoats in Resene FX Magnetic Magic. It serves both as a more stylish element than your typical rectangular noticeboard or chalkboard, becoming part of the room design, but also as a handy place to keep track of your projects or display things that inspire you.
Each of the key accent colours, Resene Rebel, Resene Half Chicago, Resene Sepia and Resene Swiss Caramel, follow the ‘rule of three’, while secondary accent colours, Resene Stonewashed, Resene Zeus, Resene Double Cod Grey and Resene Triple Rice Cake, have only been used once to break things up and create visual interest. But thanks to their neutrality, it keeps them from becoming too distracting.
The desk, shelves, pendant lamp and coat stand have been painted in Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel in Resene Nocturnal, which has a durable finish suitable for furniture, joinery, doors and trims without being ‘too shiny’ so as not to create unnecessary glare. The bin and picture frame are in Resene Rebel, the magazine file and pencil cup are in Resene Cashmere and the painted accessories on shelves are in Resene Rebel, Resene Cod Grey, Resene Half Chicago, Resene Swiss Coffee and Resene Nero.
Resene Half Chicago is a great colour for painted floors. It’s neutral and contemporary, and its tone is both dark enough and light enough to mask the appearance of dust or footprints in between cleanings. Ask for this hue to be tinted into Resene Walk-on for your flooring and finish with Resene Concrete Wax for extra protection.
If this colour combo is too high contrast for your tastes, try Resene Rainee for your walls with a Resene Half Spanish Green floor, furniture in Resene Spanish Green and accessories in Resene Rivergum and Resene Half Rivergum for a tonal look in popular Resene sage greens.
Project by Laura Lynn Johnston. Images by Wendy Fenwick. 2021
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