Currently, two major social trends are converging into a massive wave of rethinking home design. The first is the need for efficiency brought on by shrinking space and runaway real estate prices that demand a maximum yield of utility from every square foot. The second is the blurring of traditional office and domestic needs, as currently one in five Americans works at home, a number that is only rising. Together, these patterns are forging bold new visions in home workspaces that emphasize a streamlined, less-is-more ethos. Here are five of the most salient home office designs this year:
While the idea of a home office is anything but new, they usually consisted of an entire room converted for work purposes; a den in reverse if you will. In the wake of the microchip revolution, retrofitting a separate room is wholly unnecessary. With so many previous pen and paper activities now taken over by laptops, tablets, and even smart phones, itís easy to fit most of your office needs into an alcove of a larger room, either with movable partitions or in a pre-existing nook, such as the neglected space beneath a staircase. Not only is a pocket office a great way to conserve space, it can also spur you towards greater efficiency.
If the governing idea of a pocket office is working with available space, then the idea of scalability should go hand in hand. Instead of imposing massive units all at once – a strategy that all too often leads to filling up unnecessary storage space with clutter – start small and then build up with cubbyhole-style shelving units and extendable wall ledges and desks.
It’s no surprise the need for efficiency would be accompanied by an embrace of minimalist design, with a big emphasis on the streamlined look of classic Swedish and Bauhaus furniture design. Not only are simple lines, basic geometric shapes (cubes, circles), and solid colors visually appealing, they are a subtle bulwark against the clutter trap. When our space presents a pristine backdrop, weíre more likely to keep it simple and not pile up unnecessary knickknacks.
While gutting your existing furniture can be a great way to maximize space, we donít want to feel our workspace is empty and sterile. A perfect way to scale down and still furnish for full functionality is with designs that do double duty or more. In particular, look for stools and seats that serve as flip-open storage units and wall cabinets and escritoires with pull-out shelves that function as desks.
Counterbalancing the austere simplicity of minimalism is a current embrace of looks from the past, especially the arresting looks of Op Art colors and mid-century modernism. Especially within a stripped-down office space, bold orange or red makes a room pop without becoming too busy, and the contoured plastic shapes of 1950s and 60s-style furniture strike a perfect balance of work and play for the home office.
With its zeitgeist of simplicity and functionalism, an added bonus of today’s home office is that they need not strain your budget either. Most of the trends above work hand-in-hand with a DIY, re-purposing sense of decorating, so be on the lookout for creative uses of vintage items at the thrift store, as well as items that may be collecting dust in your home already. †The same insight and practicality you want to employ in your office are just as valuable in designing it.
Uma Campbell is a freelance writer from Southern California. She loves writing about home design and decor trends. When sheís not writing, she loves running and practicing yoga. To view more of her writing, please visit the Soothing Company blog.