Interior Design Style and Colour Use for the Home Office

There are two ways that you can go about selecting the general decor of your home office: either follow the style that prevails in the rest of your home, or treat your office as an individual space. Choosing which way to go is a simple task requiring answers to only a few questions.

> Has your home been decorated in one style that is visible throughout?

> Is your office easily visible from other rooms/areas of your home?

> Does your work suggest a style of its own?

Based on the questions above, here are a few simple ways to help you easily achieve a pleasing decor in your home office.

If you are going to treat your office as a part of your home, using the same decor and style, your job is already half done. But remember, you don’t have to use the exact colour scheme or mood. You can modify what you see outside your office to blend smoothly. For instance, you can reverse the main and accent colours; you can use the same colours but in different proportions; or a different level of formality. Because you are decorating an office, it is likely that you are going to want to treat the style differently than how it appears in other areas of your home, and this is normal. Don’t be afraid to create a variation in the atmosphere — it is only the general style you are aiming to respect.

For a home office that is open within an area of your home, you are going to have to be a little more cautious. In this case, you must respect the style seen around your office, but at the same time you should definitely aim to create a sense of separation between your work space and living space. Visual separation does not mean building a wall; it means creating a new environment within the existing one. Some ways of creating visual separation include changes in ceiling height and/or floor level (a step up or down); a room divider placed to look decorative rather than confining; colour changes such as reversing the main and accent paint colours used on the walls; and furniture placement.

Placing furniture in a way that the layout separates space is fairly simple, but don’t forget to play with your ideas on graph paper first or else you may find yourself still rearranging while you should already be at your desk. Consider using a large bookshelf or storage cabinet as a room divider — the back of it can be decorated with fabric, paint, a collage… or place furniture back-to-back to create the sense of two separate zones. Keep in mind while you are working on the layout that you don’t want to feel that your office is, for instance, in the back of your basement — it is at the back of the basement. Just as words can be played with, so can space.

A home office that is to receive a style of its own is a fun thing to work out. You should aim to have a bit of who you are visible in the decor, while creating a visual sense of what you do. This is not a cubicle in a large office complex — this is your office. If you have a love of bold patterns, classic cars, angels… incorporate them into the decor even if they have nothing to do with what you will be doing in your office. At the same time, your office should say more about whay you do that “I work at a desk.” What do you do at that desk? If you are in the computer business, have things around that suggest that, like an enlarged and framed comic strip that has something to do with computers. If your office is actually more of a workshop and you do clothing alterations, incorporate your supplies into your decor: display spools of thread in a rainbow-like pattern, hand a rod a few inches from a wall and drape some fabrics over it for an ever-changing backdrop. If you work in the travel industry, have a model plane suspended, and display items or pictures symbolic of some of your favorite destinations; if it won’t get in your way, have a beach ball in your office, or make a “sandbox” to hang on the wall by gluing sand to the back of a shadow box and gluing small shells onto the sand.

When choosing the colours for your office, there are a few basic points to consider. Yellows, reds, and other very warm colours in large quantities can cause you to feel thirsty. Blue is very relaxing, but be careful not to choose a bland grey-blue that can actually lead to feeling tired or restless. The best way to go about selecting the colours for your office is to choose three colours; use one as a main colour (for instance on the walls), another as the main accent colour (visible in a pattern on a rug, drapes, desk accessories…), and the third as an accent colour appearing only in splashes here and there (such as flowers in a vase, a couple of photo frames…). At this point your colour scheme is set, and all you have to do is keep in mind some basic points of colour psychology. A dark ceiling will feel very low; mirrors and reflective materials make a space feel larger; too many colours, especially bold ones, can cause a feeling of clutter even if there is none.

A final point on the topic of colour and style: materials such as woods, stone, and metal can be incorporated into any colour scheme — although they may affect the style, they will not clash. A natural pine desk will certainly give a different look than a mahogany one, but either will match any colour scheme; ditto for stainless steel and brass, and marble and concrete.

Look for the final article from this 4-part series on home offices: Lighting and Window Treatments for the Home Office.

Have a Luxurious Home on a Tight Budget

Luxurious homes, inevitably, evoke one word from every aspirant of a luxurious home. And that is – ‘expensive’. Normally, luxury homes are viewed from the amount of money invested in furnishing these homes. We tend to believe that royalty of luxurious homes come from money. But, very conveniently, forget that some astute thinking and of course, little money can transform our homes into a royal castle. In fact, if we trace the journey of some of the luxury furniture, we can easily find out that the things that were commonplace in ancient homes have been rendered luxurious in the form of antiques. So, present day’s luxury is yesterday’s normalcy. So, why not try to make it a present day’s normalcy?

The first thing to take care of is to avoid buying fakes. If antiques are your choice to bring in luxury to your home, never settle for cheap furniture or look-alikes. For instance, an exclusive Amish made furniture could be your ideal choice but never get duped by unscrupulous dealers, who make a quick buck out of the ignorant buyers. Always opt for a reputed dealer of Amish furniture who provides adequate guarantees and warranties on your purchase. Similarly, if dealing with Antique furniture dealers, always choose the one who has a good reputation both online as well as offline.

The next thing to plan is the art works. While expensive paintings by renowned painters may be out of your budget range, you certainly need not lose heart. A beautiful oil painting or water-colored painting can be an impressive alternative. The artwork need not be a “branded” one. The important things are that the painting should (a) gel with the overall scheme of the room; and (b) not look like a poor replica of some original artwork. As long as these two conditions are met, the “brand” won’t matter much.

Flooring comes next. A decent priced wool carpet or stone tiles can provide the look and feel of luxury to your home. A carefully crafted handmade carpet is any day better than artificially created custom-made flooring.

You must be extra careful while spending on furniture requirements. One thing about luxury furniture is that it acts like a seductive temptress. You have to be extra careful to resist the temptation of spending too much on luxury furniture items. A better option is to look for the reproduction pieces manufactured by furniture makers, like Baker Furniture or Century Furniture. Kitchen with granite finish can be inexpensively royal.

Affordable luxuries also come at a price but this should not daunt you, as the satisfaction of having a luxurious home is much more valuable than affordable luxuries. Apart from buying new items, you can also mould your existing furniture into a luxurious outlook. Silk pillows and tapestry finish are good options for affordable luxury. Decorative and inexpensive plants could lend the oomph factor in the drawing room. And most importantly, never clutter your home with excessive furniture. Always allow some breathing space in your rooms.

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