Guide to Making a Home Office with Limited Space

COVID-19 has left employers and employees alike struggling to find ways to make work…work. And one of these is by moving the office into the homes of those who have a position that doesn’t require hands-on attention. While going remote has many benefits, including slowing the spread of the disease, it also has its drawbacks, particularly if you are living in an already-cramped home or apartment with roommates or family.

Luckily, creating a home office in a small space is possible, but it might call for a touch of creative thinking. Here are some tips you can use to make the most of your space and create the home office you need to thrive.

Create a Conducive Environment

Office designers often talk about ergonomics. Many people think this term refers to comfort, but it’s actually a lot more specific than that. Ergonomics is the study of one’s relationship to work. Anything that makes it easier (or harder) to get your job done falls under this umbrella. Whether that’s a chair that supports your posture, or lighting that keeps you from getting a headache, all the details matter. Office spaces are designed with these details in mind, but homes aren’t. You’ll need to craft your own ergonomics to recreate the experience.

Focus on how it feels to be in your workspace. Is it too dim? Get a desk lamp. Too bright? Invest in curtains. How’s the temperature? If you’re too warm, a simple fan can do the trick. Too cold, and you can invest in a space heater; although be sure to check reviews to find something safe and effective at your price point. Ultimately, you want your space to help you feel energized, comfortable, and able to focus on the task at hand. Anything distracting will pull you out of your work and make it hard to stay on track.

Think Multi-Functional

When working with a small space, multi-functional pieces of furniture are invaluable. When picking out a work-from-home desk, consider something that can either be folded away or can serve a different function when it’s not a desk. For example, something with a lot of drawer space can double as storage. A fold-up desk installed in a wall can reveal wall art when tucked away. Maximizing your space means finding ways to make the most of every item you use.

Consider Your Budget

You don’t want your home office to break the bank. Make sure you’re considering your budget while planning your office. Start by taking a look at your finances and figuring out how much money you have to spend. Set a firm price ceiling and commit to spending less than that to make sure your bottom line doesn’t get out of hand.

There are plenty of ways to save money and stick to your budget while furnishing your small space. Look into secondhand shops or listings on local boards to find good pieces that don’t cost a ton. You can find great deals this way, especially on older items that have a lot of character. You can also look into furniture intended for dorms. These are made for small spaces, and since they’re targeted toward college students, they’re usually pretty affordable. And remember, you may be able to claim furnishing expenses on your taxes if you meet certain requirements.

You’ll be amazed to see how much more productive you can be once you have a dedicated workspace. Home may be the place where you pull off your very best work.

Photo Credit: Reshot

2 Hotspots For Vintage Design Lovers In Amsterdam

On a recent visit to Amsterdam, My wife and I sought out what the beautiful city has to offer vintage and industrial design lovers. We found two gems across the street from each other in the Amsterdam-Noord area that I can recommend strongly – Neef Louis Design & Van Dijik en Ko. They are a bit outside of the city centre, but the area is worth the travel. Taking the ferry from central station to either NDSM or Buiksloterweg, it is a nice bike ride through a more industrial and gritty side of Amsterdam most tourists will never see.

Van Dijk en Ko is one of those stores which you might not want to enter due to its cluttered appearance, but hidden behind that facade is a bombastic collection of treasures. This place is perfect if you love vintage, but don’t have the patience to search for hours on end in thrift stores. It is full of Hungarian cupboards, benches, tables, barrels, stools and chests of drawers, buckets, Romanian buffets, earthenware, crates and shutters, troughs, jars, crates, chairs, crockery, work benches and dressing furniture, carts and counter tops, Danish Design, Belgian office furniture, Dutch books and a large amount of unexpected objects such as a horse on wheels, a life-size Pieta and a large assortment of linen, glassware and lampshades! They also have garden furniture and old doors.

Across the street is Neef Louis Design. A huge warehouse full of vintage, designer and industrial furniture, this is a treasure trove of antique luggage, mid-century bookcases, retro radios, neon signs and much, much more. They have all sorts of objects from the last century, recovered from various industries, laboratories, shops; from grocery scales to industrial-style lockers and operation room lamps, not to mention vintage telephones and lamps. 

Neef Louis Design (NLD) has been in business since 1999 and is the life’s work of Louis Vlaarkamp. He started in a garage at the Haarlemmerplein, afterwards in a loft in the Houthavens (Amsterdam West), before moving the warehouse in Amsterdam North. The shop is a collection of unique, used goods: vintage, design or industrials, a journey through time, a return to your youth, or a touch of the future. An assortment of industrial lamps or tables combined with design classics or mid-century design. Imported from Poland, Czech, Ukraine or Denmark etc. An adventure, an inspiration for stylists, set decorators, art directors or private persons. You name it, and there is a pretty good chance you’ll find it here.

Creating a Relaxing Home Retreat

As much as you’d love to hit the beach or mountains for an escape from daily stress, sometimes it just isn’t possible. But you can recreate that retreat in the comfort of your own home. It takes some thought, rearranging, and a little creativity, but luxury and relaxation aren’t far away. 

Your first task is to find a space that can act as your escape. The bedroom is the logical choice. It’s your most private space and stays hidden from the rest of the world. If you have an ensuite, you could even turn your retreat into a spa. However, if the bedroom doesn’t work, any space that offers privacy will do. 

Clear the Clutter

A cluttered space can trip up your mind as much as it does your body, causing anxiety and affecting your ability to sleep. Move everything out that creates visual or mental noise. Get this room down to the bare bones. If books and magazines litter your nightstand or an end table, sort and take them out. If it’s overcrowded with furniture, pick the vital pieces and repurpose the rest throughout your home. As you get rid of visual stimulation, you’ll create space for your mind and body to decompress. 

Light

Bathe the space in natural light. Of course, if you’ve chosen the bedroom as your retreat, you’ll also have to block that light at night for the best sleep. Natural light helps set the body’s circadian rhythms, which regulate your sleep and eating cycles. 

Light also affects your mood. Light and airy often feel inviting and open, which is perfect for a daytime retreat. However, window treatments like blackout curtains, drapes, and blinds that give you the option of privacy night or day are a good idea. Add table lamps and floor lamps and other artificial light sources to keep the right mood no matter the time of day. 

Accessorize with Purpose

You decluttered, but now it’s time to add personality. Accessories add depth, and in this case,  the welcoming touches that make your retreat uniquely yours. Appeal to your senses. Soft inviting textures in pieces like rugs, throws, and pillows, especially natural fabrics like linen or cotton, are perfect for sitting down and staying awhile.  

Add a sound system or keep a portable speaker hidden in the room so you can add nature sounds or your favorite soothing playlist. Don’t forget about your sense of smell. A diffuser loaded with calming jasmine or lavender can leak stress from your body and fully prepare you for pampering. They can be hidden or become part of the decor with faux wood exteriors or those that allow you to change the color to suit your mood. 

Conclusion

Whether it’s leather or linen that makes you feel safe and far from stress or an animal skin rug and a chaise lounge, your retreat should fit your lifestyle and home. With the right design, a retreat can be a barrier from the stress and demands of the outside world.  

Frank Ponterio joins Arteriors’ guest collaboration program

Arteriors is growing its guest collaboration program, with Frank Ponterio as its latest designer, following partnerships with Laura Kirar, Barry Dixon, Windsor Smith and Jay Jeffers. This April at High Point Market, the brand will launch a line of lighting, accessories and accent items developed with Ponterio.

Chicago-based guest designer Frank Ponterio

“When we created our guest collaboration program, we were inspired by the creative energy of the interior design community and sought to work together with the people who we admired to bring their creativity and product ideas to our broader customer base,” stated Mark Moussa, Arteriors founder and creative director. “Each of our guest designer partners brings a unique perspective to our product assortment and we cherish the relationships that we have developed and the collaborative process of working together to bring these original ideas to life.”

Each collaboration involves a two-and-a-half-year-long development process, including, the brand explains, “multiple rounds of review of inspiration drawings, samples, materials and prototypes between Arteriors and each guest designer, until a fully realized collection that merges the collaborators’ design ethos and Arteriors aesthetic, is ready for market.” They debut at High Point with product already in stock.

Chicago-based designer Frank Ponterio approaches each project with impeccable restraint and intention, employing exquisite craftsmanship to deliver awe-inducing interiors that encourage conversation. In his debut collection for Arteriors, Frank travels between old world and new, seamlessly blending architectural influences drawn from his family’s rich Italian history with an astute precision that could only be attributed to a 25-year career. A delicate dichotomy unfolds – metal and hand-woven rope, embossed leather and hammered brass, polished bronze, vellum and hand etching – all designed for a life well-lived and shared with others.

Arteriors is our go-to showroom at the High Point market due to their impactful visual merchandising and ability to incorporate a variety of diverse style and trends into cohesive displays that are sophisticated, yet approachable. Merchandising at Arteriors is about creating a space that allows product to not only be seen in an engaging setting but also conveys a vision of style and design. Can’t wait to once again take in Arteriors’ unique blend of craftsmanship, beauty and arresting design at the upcoming High Point market APRIL 3-10 in the C&D Building.