Make Working from Home Work For You—An Interior Designer’s Perspective

Placing desks, shelves, books, house plants and display pieces near a window for working at home. Optimising living room for working during the Corona virus pandemic (COVID)

Whether you own your home or are renting, you need to reevaluate how you utilize your space for work versus pleasure. Undoubtedly, most of us are guilty of working on our laptops on the sofa; in the same spot where we try to unwind in the evening, with a cup of tea and our favourite show on Netflix. There needs to be a line drawn between work productivity and self-care.

We have now spent more time in our homes than we could ever have anticipated when rumours of a lockdown first emerged in early March. The past six months have become an impromptu case study in discovering how to adapt to remote working; and how we can adapt our homes to suit this additional need in terms of Interior Design and spatial planning.

For the duration of the national lockdown and up to today, my living room has been the heart of my home where I have worked, exercised and eaten my meals on a daily basis. Though all these activities have taken place within the same room, the space has been divided for the various tasks. My workspace has been carved from an opening that lies between the TV and the window, backed by a shelving display housing books, photographs and artwork. A small desk for my laptop fits perfectly in this nook, with natural light and a view from the window. The two lower shelves which are hidden behind the desk have been cleared to store my materials, files and a printer.

Living room space layout for working from home. Working space near the window.
Photo by Alyssa Kirton

The available space in your home and the way you work are two key factors as to how you can go about setting up your dedicated workspace. Whether you need a large surface for two monitors or copious amounts of storage, desks are essential, and the size and design options are endless.

If you can’t identify an unused corner that you can utilize to create a dedicated workspace, you may need to reshuffle your existing furniture. At this point, you shouldn’t settle for working at the kitchen table, as it is disruptive for many reasons and not a viable permanent solution for the future. You’ll need to provide ample space to accommodate an appropriate desk and a comfortable chair which you can get in and out of easily. Positioning a desk next to a window with a nice view would be ideal, however, if you have to face a wall you can add a wall décor such as a mirror, which will reflect the room behind you and create the illusion of a lighter space. You can curate a display of wall hangings or books on a floating shelf behind the desk which inspires you; add a lamp for when the afternoons get a bit darker. Only add essential stationary storage you will use daily, to not clutter your work surface. Storage boxes are a great idea to keep your working files or materials close during the week, then slip them away into a cupboard elsewhere at the end of the day—out of sight, out of mind.  

By no means do you need a considerable budget to elevate your home into a healthier, happier working and living environment, which sparks joy and encourages productivity (a little decluttering never hurts). Some easy budget-friendly solutions to switch things up in your home, are to maybe change your sofa cushion covers every once in a while, add a new houseplant to an empty corner, buy a new print, or simply reorganize your book or display shelves to make them look new.  

Check out Alymay Interiors for help in designing your WFH (Work from Home) space!