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Working From Home Office Design Tips

Courtesy of Little Albion's architect Terence Yong

'Home' has taken on an entirely new meaning these last few months! For a long time now, it's been a place for rest, for health and wellbeing. Now, it's also an office - a place of work and refuge - #WFH. 

To prepare ourselves for a totally new normal 'post-iso', where working from home could be the go-to setup for many businesses, here are our top tips for adapting an existing home in a swift and cost-effective manner, thanks to Little Albion's architect, Terence Yong. 

Step One: Maximise physical space

Introducing a home office to an existing home usually requires an increase in physical space for working, meetings, and oh yeh, storage! While most of us (especially apartment-dwellers) might not always be able to add more physical space, we can instead make the nooks and crannies (or oft-wasted areas) of our homes work a little harder.

How? 

  • Convert a floor into a raised platform with storage below (be sure to maintain a compliant head height if it is in an area like the living room or bedroom)
  • Convert a wall into a floor-to-ceiling built-in shelving unit (watch out for circulation width in corridors and small nooks)
  • Add a hanging shelving unit to a ceiling (watch your head though!) 

Step Two: Increasing the sense of space

No more space to grab? That's okay, work some magic with the illusion of more space.

How? 

  • Use a mirror or a reflective surface, like smoke glass, as a finish for a feature wall or feature joinery wall. When positioned correctly, say perpendicular or parallel to a window opening, a mirror or a reflective surface can also boost natural light while bringing the outside into a room.
  • Use white as a finish for other walls and ceilings, especially the latter. A combination of warm lush white, which creates a welcoming atmosphere, and cool clean white, which boosts natural light, can also bring dynamism to a room.

Step Three: Embracing flexible living

If there's no choice but to squeeze a home office into a living room, we need to ensure peaceful coexistence. 

How?

  • Use an acoustic curtain or a movable wall in a larger living room, or an acoustic cocoon seating in a smaller living room, to create an acoustically-separated room within a room.
  • Consider a series of multi-functional and movable furniture solutions to allow different household activities to take place in a concurrent and consecutive manner.

Step Four: Embracing natural living

When we combine living and working into one, nature, which contributes to health and wellbeing, has never been more important. While most of us (particularly those in small apartments) might not always have adequate access to natural light, cross-ventilation, and greenery, we can instead create and bring nature into our homes.

How? 

  • Natural light - Position a home office next to a window opening or integrate a home office with a built-in window seating (or banquette seating).
  • Cross-ventilation - Install a ceiling fan
  • Greenery inside Resurface a floor with engineered timber flooring, resurface a wall with timber wall lining, or the colour green, resurface a ceiling with timber ceiling lining, or the colour green, incorporate a variety of indoor plants as well as upholstery textiles, blinds, curtains, and wallpapers that feature natural motifs
  • Greenery outside - resurface a floor with artificial grass, transform an external balcony or terrace into a mini garden, if not a vegetable garden

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