Home Office Interior Design: Work from Home like a Boss | Ana Marcu | Skillshare

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Home Office Interior Design: Work from Home like a Boss

teacher avatar Ana Marcu, Home Wellbeing, Licensed architect

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

27 Lessons (1h 9m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. What Work Do You Do?

    • 3. What Do You Need?

    • 4. How Much Do You Need?

    • 5. What Are Your Quirks?

    • 6. What Stimulates You?

    • 7. Measure The Space

    • 8. Measure Your Furniture

    • 9. Composition And Functionality

    • 10. Daylight

    • 11. Table

    • 12. Chair

    • 13. Storage

    • 14. Lighting

    • 15. Intro: Part 3

    • 16. Nature

    • 17. Artificial Nature

    • 18. Materials

    • 19. Seeing and Touching

    • 20. Sound

    • 21. Smell

    • 22. Ordered Complexity

    • 23. Simplicity

    • 24. Symmetry

    • 25. DIY

    • 26. Color

    • 27. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

A home office space is complete when it has two things: 

1. It has what you need to work

2. It sets you in the best mood to do great work

A great design fulfils both physical and emotional needs

 A couple of things  I am going to touch on are: that nature has an impact on our health improving recuperation time, that certain smells heighten our attention making us less likely to do mistakes, that our brains are particularly attuned to symmetry and making some furniture yourself is not just good for the environment but it's also good for your mental health.

The class is composed of 3 chapters:

  1. "Fundamentals" which are about understanding: on one side yourself and the type of work that you do, and on the other, the space you are dealing with, and how the first influences the second 
  2. In "Components", we will learn about the elements that make a great home office
  3. And in part 3 "Tying it all together" we will learn the guidelines according to which you will put the components together as well as see some examples of great office designs and will explain how you can do that too.

If you want to follow up on any of the photos you can find them under "Home office interior design" pinterest board. 

If you liked this class, you should absolutely check out my class: "Home Office Interior Design for More Creativity" 


Who am I?

I’m a licensed architect with over a decade of experience in Vienna, Austria. I have a double degree in Architecture and "Building Science and Technology" and I am deeply passionate about design psychology and optimising interior design in order to create great emotional experiences for people. My goal is to design spaces that make people FEEL loved, happier, healthier, and more creative.

In my classes, you will find tips and strategies that will help you design a great home. You will learn how certain design decisions can influence your emotions and behaviour and what you can do to create a home that will make you feel happier and supported in your goals.

You can also check out my class How to Think Like an Architect.

Books and Media I recommend.  


Links to other classes

Home Interior Design for Better Habits. Self-development by Design.

Color Psychology. The Influence of Color on Emotions & Behavior in Architectural & Interior Design.


Back to Skillshare Lifestyle / Other category pages


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Meet Your Teacher

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Ana Marcu

Home Wellbeing, Licensed architect


The design of your environment can influence how you feel, which, in return, can impact your thinking, behaviour, performance and overall wellbeing. 

So the environment of your home can be designed to create: 

more well-being: feel calmer, more relaxed, sleep better, self-care etc more fulfilment: be more creative, more productive, have better habits etc 

In my classes, you will learn both how spaces influence you and what you can do to design your environment towards the desired outcome. 

Most classes come with worksheets and resource materials to help you reflect on the ideas you learned in the class, so always check the "Projects and Resources" section of each class.

I always edit the "automatic captions" in English shortly a... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Today's landscape of work is changing. People can work from everywhere and at times that are convenient to them. Whether you want to set up a home office for yourself or have had one for a while, that needs a bit of freshening up, this class is for you. My purpose with this class is to teach you how to think a little bit like an architect about your space. Strategically, creatively, sustainably and budget conscious. I also want to give you some evergreen guidelines based in the latest scientific research. "What does scientific research have to do with design?" you might ask. Well, the latest scientific research is telling us more and more how the design of space impacts our psychological health and well being. A couple of things I'm going to touch on are: how nature impacts our health and recuperation time, how certain smells heighten, our attention, making us less prone to mistakes, how our eyes are attuned to symmetry and that engaging in some do it yourself projects are not only good for the environment but are also good for your mental health. This class is composed of three chapters. The first chapter, is "Fundamentals", where we will try to understand on one side your work style and on the other the space in which your home office will go and how the 1st one will influence the second. In the second chapter, we'll talk about the elements that make a great home office, and in the third chapter "tying all together", we'll talk about the guidelines according to which this elements will be joined together. as well as some great examples of home office design, and I will explain also how you can do that, too. Hi, my name is Ana Marcu. I'm a licensed, architect in the owner of Videar Architecture Studio, based in Vienna, Austria. My background is in architecture and building science, and I'm very passionate about architectural psychology and how the design of space impacts our health, well-being, emotions and behavior. So stick around for some great tips on how to transform your home office into a tool that will help you become the most creative and productive self 2. What Work Do You Do?: welcome to the first lesson. Before we start designing anything, we need to make sure we fully understand the two major factors at play: the human and the space. In order to understand you the human, we need to go through a series of exercises where we can identify all the different task that you will be performing at your desk and the amount of storage you will need for all the tools and devices there will help you perform the best. Additionally, we will explore what your work patterns are and what kind of environment stimulates you the most in order for you to accomplish your best work. Let's have a look. Our first exercise about identifying the different types of tasks taking place at desk, as well as the amount of time that you need for each of them. I would recommend you do this exercise for a period of one month to identify not only the kind of tasks that take place repeatedly but also those tasks that only take place once a month. Here's how it could look like: in the first column. we have:" type of work", in the second the "time/month" and in the third a couple of notes. I imagined a graphic designer writing down this table and here are her activities. But you, write down, whatever makes sense for you: research and reading, sketch and design, Skillshare classes, social media posts and taxes. And here's the time allocated for each of them, which makes a total of 140 hours per month. What is it that we noticed in this table? Or why is table important? Well, for once, we notice that "sketch and design" is one of the activities that takes the most amount of times during a month. So that means that wherever tools, paper and devices we might be using have to be really close by. Easy to reach, quick to grab. We need them in the immediate vicinity. But things like social media and taxes only happened once a month, right? Whatever tools, paper and devices that we might be needing for them can be further away. This is important, especially if we don't have that much space for our home office, and we need to be very careful where we can put everything.This way, we can prioritise what needs to be close by and what can go in harder to reach spaces. We also know that, per week we spend roughly 35 hours. That means thar we need to invest in a very good chair. We'll be sitting a long amount of time at our desk and therefore we have to invest in a chair that is comfortable, sturdy, that holds our back, makes it easy for us to sit at our desk. We also have to invest in a separate room if our home allows it, Or we have to make sure that we can be in a room or will not be disturbed for long periods of time. If it happy less than 35 hours per week, then we could think of a more temporary solution for home, especially if our home is not very large. So, for example, a wall-mounted table like the one on the right could be a solution for you for a couple of hours per week. You just lift it up, work at it and then put it back down and you can use that space for something else. Another solution is this one underneath the staircase. It has enough space for a laptop, a lamp and a little bit of storage, and you can work for a couple of hours. It's definitely not a solution that you want to have for 35 - 40 hours a week, But if you have just a couple of hours per week working at home, especially if you don't have enough space, this kind of solution might be for you. So we have to consider very closely what you need. But what kind of workspace might we use? On the left side we have the blogger who has a normal-sized table, not a lot of storage, a couple of books and one computer. On the right side, on the other hand, is a different story. We have an artist. We have a large table and one that is inclined. A lot of need for space, for storage, for paints. So it looks completely different and the needs are completely different. What the artist needs is not what the blogger needs. So now we have to look a little bit closer at what is it that we need for our workspace before we start designing it. 3. What Do You Need?: we look back at our table and we have on one column the "type of work" and for each type of work that we wrote down, we now have to write down all the tools and devices and the paper that we might need for each of these activities. It doesn't matter if one of them repeats itself. We just have to do a small brain dumb, in which we articulate everything we need for each of those activities. Let's have a look at them. So these are our activities. And now we have to write down, what is it that we need for each of these activities? We have books, office supplies and computer for research and reading. We might have A3 and A4 papers for sketch and design, maybe some paper rolls, some pencils and pens, For the Skillshare classes we might need a microphone, a webcam, some lights and a computer. For the social media posts we need again the camera and computer, maybe an Ipad. And for the taxes, we need our files and books, maybe our computer again. So try to get into sa much detail you can for each of these tasks. Now remember we said that the "sketch and design" activity is the one that takes the most amount of time. So the paper and the sketch paper, the pencils and the pens, they really have to be in the immediate vicinity. 4. How Much Do You Need?: Our last table is about listing out all the tools, devices and paper, as well as objects of emotional value that you we will need to store around our home office space. We need this information because we want to make sure how much storage space we should plan for, right? Are we the blogger or the artist? How much stuff do we need and how much surface do we need? So let's list out from the previous table all the tools, devices and paper that we actually have in the first column of "existing" and also, try to think about what are the projected objects that you might want to have in your possession that might also need a storage space. So we shouldn't think only about the story space that we need now, but also the one we need in the near future. And then we try to estimate kind of... the amount of surface needed for all of this. Either "surface" in terms of square meters like you need for maybe your printer, but also the length of your shelf, and it can be endlessly long, but you need to know if you need one meter, two meters, 10 meters... How much do you need? How many books? How much paper do you have? How much do you roughly need right now? So let's list them out. These are the things that we currently have, and for "projected", we might need to buy some more, um, paint supplies and maybe a printer, which is also this is very important because printers usually are very close by to your home office desk, and you want to make sure you will plan a shelf or cabinet for that. You need to know that you"ll be bringing more files, so you need to plan for a shelf, and that's about it. So now we look at the surface that we need, and either you can lay all these objects out on your table and try to roughly estimate how much that is. Or some of these objects, like a printer, come with their own surface, and you can measure it out. Maybe you already have them stored somewhere on a shelf and you can just measure that shelf if you intend to move them away from that shelf, So just try to estimate this best as you can. how much surface to the things that you intend to store around your home office space need. Right? You don't want to clutter your home office space but you also don't want to look through your entire house for the tools and devices that you actually need in your immediate vicinity. So you wanna, you wanna have a good understanding of all the things that you have and all the things that you will need in the future and also how much surface all these things require. Specifically for objects of emotional value, which might be paintings or collectables, you want to make sure that you give them a really good place where you can often look at If you have paintings that might be the wall in front of your table or you need an amount of shelf length if you know you really love your Star Wars collection, and that needs a special place, so you need to to have an idea where your objects will go and how easy it is to reach them. 5. What Are Your Quirks?: Lastly, you want to think of what is required for you to do your best work? These are particular features specific to you only. Here's what I mean, and you should definitely think about these things on your own. Are you a night owl or morning person? If you spend most of your time at night doing your work, maybe you're a writer, and you like to spend the quiet time at night, then you should definitely think more about giving special attention to the artificial lighting and less about next to which window should you install your table. Because clearly, the best time of day for you to do your best work is at night. If you're a morning person, then perhaps you don't have to invest in another home office. Perhaps you can just share a table with somebody from your family and you can do your best work in the morning until the afternoon, and they can take over the table in the afternoon until night. So before you start making big investments in your home office, think a bit about your needs and how you operate. and if going forward the way you originally thought is actually the best way. What else might there be? And you an extrovert or an introvert? If you are an extrovert and you really like working with other people or even working around other people makes you filled with joy and you do your best work when you are around other people, than definitely do not invest the money in a home office. You're gonna spend big bucks on your home office and still be somewhere else doing your work. So perhaps investing in a membership of a coworking space might be better for you. But if you are a creative introvert than the home office, is definitely something you might need to look at. Are you the kind of person who likes everything on the table or in the closet? Personally, I really like having a really large table on which I can display everything and quickly pick it up. But some people really like their things in the closet. If you were one of those, then you want to think about the kind of storage that you will have. Personally, a pegboard is very good for me. I have everything in sight, Other people, really like putting things in very well assembled boxes, in the locker, and that's for them. Another thing is, if you're a messy type or you like things alphabetically arranged. I would definitely subscribe under the "messy". Um, just because I like working with a lot of tools, and at the end, I like to put them in boxes. But other people really like their stuff, arranged by color and by labels and by titles. and I've always been a big admirer of such people. If you're not a "messy" type, I don't even bother investing in doors. You can definitely save a lot of money from investing in shelves, which are open. 6. What Stimulates You?: Lastly, you want to look at where do you currently do your best work and think a little bit about the environments that best stimulate you. Perhaps you can even do a Pinterest board. What is it that those environments do for you? What is specific about them that really make you happy and make you feel like you could do your best work there? There is it the nature that they display? is it the people? There are specific people that you like working with and around and they stimulate you? Is it the fact that you have quiet time and you can finally work? Is it the good coffee that they offer? Might there be some smells that stimulate you, some perfumes, or the smell of croissant that you like when you go into your favourite coffee shop? Sometimes there could be some chill-out background music that can set the tone and the mood for a specific kind of work. And sometimes or even often enough, there's the interior design, the choice of colour or specific space that you genuinely like. The reason I'm encouraging you to think about it is because you want to take a little bit off the mood and the stimulations that make you feel the best and do the best work and implement them in your home office. This is very important to stimulate your creativity a little bit. To recap, monitor yourself and identify all the activities that you perform in a month. Identify and prioritize all the tools, paper and devices that you need for each of your tasks. Figure out the surface, your paper, tools and devices actually need. Find out what your particular preferences for work are. Determine what your favorite environments are and what specifically about them stimulate your creativity and your focus. How can you bring that into your home office? 7. Measure The Space: Our first building block in understanding our space is to measure it. As an architect. I can draw out pretty quickly, building models in CAD or 3D modelling programs, but I'm assuming you have none of that. So I thought about a very simple way in which you can measure a room and also understand the units at the same time. Just take a ruled piece of paper and you draw out your walls on it like this, and you might say 10 centimeters is one square. That means that one meter is 10 squares. Or if you work in the Imperial system and you say 4 Inch is 1 square, then I have 3 squares are equal to, 1 foot. Let's assume, for example, that we want to draw a table that is 60 centimetres wide and 120 centimetres long. If we take our unit at 10 centimetres is 1 square, then we have a table that is 6 squares by 12 squares. If, on the other hand, we find that we don't have enough ruled paper for this dimension, and we want to make the table a little smaller, then we can say we have 20 centimetres for one square and then our table is 3 squares by 6 squares. Whatever unit system you choose, stick to it. If you choose 10 centimetres to 1 square, then draw everything in this system. If you choose 20 centimetres to 1 square, then draw everything out in this system. Do not mix them. So let's take, for example, this room. For the sake of the exercise I've made it 320 centimetres wide and 350 centimetres long. That means on our ruled piece of paper that is 32 by 35 squares in the unit system, 1 to 10 centimetres. That also means, that, the window is 15 squares and the door is 9 squares. I hope by now, you understand how to draw your room on your rule piece of paper. So what is it that we need to know about this room? We need to know the width and the length and we also need to know where the windows and the doors are located in relationship to the rest off the walls. As you can see here, my window, is position one meter away from each wall left to right, while my door is position 60 centimetres away from one wall and 200 cm away from the other. Another important thing to know is where our light switches and sockets are. This is especially important if we tend to buy new furniture. We want to make sure that we don't cover our life switches, and we want to make especially sure that we don't cover all our sockets in the room or if we cover them, It was intended that way, and we can still reach them with the cables of our electrical devices. Lastly, we also want to look at where our window is located in relationship to the floor and the ceiling. This is particularly important if we want to place our table in front of it, but also to understand the space that is left available for furniture. You also want to know the distance from sockets to the wall, especially if we intend to place our desk further away. 8. Measure Your Furniture: Besides measuring the space, you also have to measure your furniture. Why is this important? Because you don't want to have situations where you purchase your furniture, and it turns out that it's bigger than the space you allocated to it, like in this case, the shelves to the right or the wardrobe to the left. You want to make sure that it fits perfectly like in this situation. You also want to measure the furniture that you already have just to get a good understanding of the opportunities and challenges that your room provides. In this case, I have some pieces of furniture in the room, the table to the right, with a chair and a trolly and to the left some shelves. Shelves could be between 35 to 45 centimetres wide. It can also be a wardrobe is if it's up to 60 centimetres, why do you need to pay attention to In this case, you need to make sure, and this is something that you always need to make sure, is that the space between the table and whatever lies behind your chair, whether it's a piece of furniture or a wall, should be at least one meter. In this case is 2,30 which is fine, but you don't want to have it less than that. It's quite uncomfortable to get up from your chair and leave the room. Another important dimension is the space between your table and the wall to the left in the space between your table in the wall to the right. Um, you need to understand how much space you have available there and what kind of pieces of furniture might they're fit, depending on how much storage need you have. Additionally, there are particular corners that you need to watch out for, like the space between the window and table. In this case, there is enough space. But it might be that your table overlaps the window, and in that case, hopefully, it is below the window. If it's above the window, you might have to find, an elegant way of solving that problem. if you have instead of shelves, you have a wardrobe or lockers with doors, you have to check in which direction these doors open and that they don't clash with with an existing door, like the door from your space. So watch out for doors. The last thing that you need to watch out for is the space between pieces of furniture. You want to make sure that you can reach everything in your room from your shelves to your locker, to your table. If two pieces of furniture meet, try to make an elegant solution out of it. 00:02:49.450 --> 00:02:52.130 Like in this case here, where you have the table seamlessly flowing into the shelf, therefore, making the surface of the table a piece of the shelf. I don't think you can do that with standard furniture, but you can definitely do this together with a carpenter. As you can see there, there's also a niche for sockets below and above the table, so it's quite elegantly resolved. 9. Composition And Functionality: A few thoughts about composition. I want you to take your ruled piece of paper where you have drawn your room and try to figure out on which side of this room your table would fit best. Maybe you have, a, new fresh room. Or maybe your home desk is in an already existing room. I want you to make an exercise of imagination where you would walk into this room and figure out what the best location for this table would be, based on how easy it would be for you to use that table in that space. So let's take our room. We have our door and our window. Where would the location of the table fit best? In this version, I have put the table on the left side. So what happens? I'm going into the room, I open the door, and wham! One big table corner greets me! As well as the impression of clutter of the room because of the chair that is positioned right in the middle. Looks very scattered. Not very orderly is composition and will probably not be the best way to position the table in this room. What other situation do we have? We can put the table at the back wall right next to the door. What's bothering me about this version is that the window is in my back. So whatever I'm doing at my table, I will not be able to see because of the big shadow my body is going to leave on the table. So this situation is definitely not good either. So we only have two walls where we can position our table. Either to the wall at the right side, or the wall with the window. This would be very helpful because I can use the space behind the door to position my shelves from one wall to the other, making the space look very clear. And on the other side create a balanced composition with my table. And if I want, I can make this asymmetrical composition with the table in the middle, and exactly the same furniture left and right. Or I can make it a little bit more asymmetrical and put some plans on one side and a roll-container on the other. Then I can also have shelves on top of the table. I can position my table to the left side, which is closer to the window and leave a little bit more space for maybe a wardrobe or some shelves on the right side. What I can do is also make a really large table wall-to-wall. In this case, it will be 3,2 meters. I personally would love such a table. Because I do a lot of hand drawing. I work with really large pieces of papers as an architect, so I always need a lot of surface on which I can pull out all the paper rolls. If you're an artist, you might like this, if you are a model maker you might enjoy this kind of table. If you only work with your PC, this might not necessarily be something you need. If your space offers it, go for it, but if not, you can do with also a smaller table. I also like the version of putting my table right next to the window because then I could take advantage of the natural light right away. I keep my really large table and I can connect it to the shelf like in the exercise before I can also have shelves to the back and this makes the room a little bit more compact and easy to understand when you get in. If I don't need that much storage, then you shouldn't purchase that much shelf. Keep your room as simple and as uncluttered as you can. You can have your table right next to the window and your shelves at the back. Or if you need a little bit more storage, you can add more shelves left and right of the window. This will limit a bit the amount of light going into the room. But because you have your table right at the window, this will not be much of a problem for you. I hope these are enough ideas for you to think about what would be the best location of your table in the room. 10. Daylight: A few thoughts about how important daylight is for your ability to perform your best work. Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain's release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused. Exposure to light affects your circadian rhythm which is basically your 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain . It cycles between sleepiness and alertness. It's also known as the sleep-wake cycle. Sunlight strongly affect your appetite, your mood, your ability to heal and productivity. It plays an important role in your ability to be alert in your capacity for mental and physical tasks. Lighting is the dominant factor in the brain's ability to focus. Studies have shown that learners in brightly lit environments got higher grades than those in dimmly lit classrooms. A study conducted by the Sorbonne university covering 30 European countries concluded that that academic performance can increase by up to 15% when students working classrooms with larger windows due both to increased daylight and a better view of the outside world. Lack of exposure to light can generate the seasonal affective disorder. Its symptoms are lethargy and alterations in thinking. Having the right lighting conditions will make a huge difference in the work environment. It will induce more positive behaviours and increase creativity. Additionally, consider taking breaks in the sunlight to regenerate. Exposure to daylight and sunlight are especially important for your health. You the human need sunlight so you can operate the best. Depending on what you do your work might also need the full spectrum of natural light. If you're an artist or a model maker, than you want to take full advantage off the daylight hours? It's then where your colours will look the best. If you're the proverbial night owl, then that this might no matter to you. But even if you do your best work at night, you will still need to get your time in the sun. So let's take the room example from the previous exercise, but your home. Look at the room in which you intend to place your home office. What cardinal direction is your window facing? And does having direct sunlight help or hurt your work? If you work with a lot of screens then facing the window might not be the best position for you because of glair, but also because they would probably block the entire window. If you work with more paper and objects than screens, than facing direct sunlight might be helpful. If you're facing east, you will get your sunlight in the morning and if you're facing west you'll have sunlight in the evening. If your room is facing south, you will have direct sunlight all day. Depending on where you are located in the world and the type of work that you do, this might be both a good thing and a bad thing. But having too much sunlight is a good problem to have, because you can regulate it with curtains and shades and blinds, which will also help you regulate the heat. If you're facing north, then you will not see direct sunlight ever, at least not from this window. The same can happen if you face a big building or a small courtyard or brick wall. It can be a good thing if you live in a country where the summer temperatures can reach very high levels. But for work, you will need the support of a lot of artificial lighting in the room. Not to worry though There are already very affordable LED lighting systems that mimic natural daylight. They can change colour to reflect the entire spectrum of daylight colors which significantly support your circadian rhythm. 11. Table: Let's talk about tables. What should you know about them? Tables can come in multiple shapes and sizes and depending on how you work and the availability of your space, your choice on what table to pick and can vary greatly. I can't go into every table, size, shape and style. But here, are a couple of strategic ideas from me on how to go about picking a table and what features you might have to look out for. Because it is important to know if your furniture fits this space I can tell you that the width of on average table is between 60 to 80 centimetres. The length can vary, but an average office space table, at least in Europe, is 160 centimeters long. The first feature that you have to look out for is flexibility. When choosing your work table, you might want to pick the table and the legs separately. There are a least three reasons I can think of why this makes sense. If you damage any of the parts, you don't have to replace the entire table. Should you relocate, which in the mobile society of today happens a lot the transportation and storage of the parts is going to be much, much easier. Just imagine bringing your table up the stairs to your apartment. Do you want to bring the parts or the entirety table? If you happen to need more storage later on, you can always replace one leg or both with containers with drawers. You can add more legs and more tables to the system. Like in this image here. You can have two tables sharing one container. Why do I like this? Flexibility is a very strong component of sustainability. It helps you adapt the furniture you have to new demands instead of throwing it away entirely so you can replace it with another table. Why throw away the entire furniture when you can just throw away the parts? Of course this prolongs the life of your furniture in your home, minimizing the amount of landfill waste that you're producing. This approach is of course also very friendly to the budget. Another flexible table is this one from Breaded Escalope, which is a design studio here in Vienna, Austria. They have created a table frame on which different surface units can be installed depending on the activity that has to be performed. You can have an office table like below or a carpenter's workstation. The table can support you in a large number of activities. Everything is on the table. You don't have to search for it in drawers. As technology advances, and we work with more and more devices, so must the tables adapt their features. Some tables come with drawers that you can access from the surface, where you can store in charge tablets and keyboards together with other office supplies. They also offer hideaways for electrical sockets. Another accessory for you might want to look for is this cable support here to the right, it doesn't look like much, but it makes the cable chaos much more manageable as well as more pleasing to the eye. There are also some table storage accessories like this pedestal on your left for your screen, which helps your posture by lifting the screen a little higher, as well as creating more quickly available storage for your office desk. You might want to consider setting up a higher table to support you in doing some work standing. If your budget allows it, maybe you can purchase a height-adjustable table. But if your budget is low, you can install this wall-mounted table somewhere in your house. I can't stress this enough, but sitting prolonged hours at desk can be very damaging for your health and anything you can do to stop sitting so much will help your long term health tremendously. 12. Chair: These days we could be sitting anywhere in order to do our work. But if we are seated at the table and especially if we work many hours, then we will need a proper chair. There are many chairs you could be choosing from, so I thought I would give you a few tips on what qualities an ideal chair should have not so much on how it should look like. The backrest of an office chair should be adjustable and follow the shape of the spine. It should also support the curve of the lower back. Your feet should wrest flat on the floor comfortably. if not, adjusted chair height or add a foot wrest. Arm wrest should be close to the body and allow the shoulders to relax. Arm height should be adjustable and match the height of the desk. This will prevent strain to the shoulders. in a sitting position looking forward, what you should see in front of your eyes is the centre of the screen of your computer. The back off the chair should come to the middle of the shoulder blades in order to provide adequate support. If it's above the shoulder, it is even better. The seat of the chair should be long enough to put two or three finger-lengths between it and the knee. If you're on the budget, I suggest the chair should not be the piece of furniture you want to save money on. Out of all the furniture that is part of your home office, the chair can have the biggest impact on your health, so you want to make sure that you have a very good one. There are many different types of chairs out there, and some people swear by this exercise ball. The idea of sitting it on an exercise ball instead of a traditional officechair is that the instability of the exercise ball requires the user to increase trunk muscle activation and thus increase core strength, improving posture and the and decrease discomfort. Apparently, it can also help you burn some calories. 13. Storage: Ample storage both accessible and hidden, are important in the home office. In any office situation, reference material, paperwork and project files can easily pile up and make the space feel cluttered. Organizing these components can polish your workspace. Where could we find the home office storage? As touched upon in the table chapter we could find it underneath the desk in the shape of containers and cabinets, with drawers for paper and office supplies. You can also find it in front of the desk in the shape of pegboards, which are especially good for people who use a lot of tools or to the left and the right side of the table. Here, you find the supplies that are most frequent in use. If you should need scanners and printers, try to plan for them. Where should they be located? How will you access an electrical socket? How easy will be to use? In this example we can draw out the devices and used them, then push them backwards. It all depends on the list of tools, devices and paper that you created in the first exercise. 14. Lighting : Before we go into the electrical lighting topic, I would encourage you to maximize the use of your natural light. It is a strategy that is going to save you a lot of money, but also natural light, as mentioned in the previous chapter, is going to be the healthiest for you. This is why I would generally discourage you to paint the walls of your workspace very dark , especially if your space is very small. It is particularly bad if you live in a hot climate. Dark colours absorb UV light, which heats whatever surface wears that colour, and you will have to pay a lot more for ventilation than you would have with lighter colour walls . There are however, some cases where it makes sense. If it's a small patch of colour or just one wall covered with lighter colour art. it really makes the light art shine. And they also attract the view. Dark walls might also be supportive of your work if you are a videographer and you generally need a darker space to edit your videos or use a dark wall as a background for filming yourself in let's say YouTube videos. You want your skin colour to pop from the background and that could make your videos quite dramatic. In that case, it makes us. Other than that I can't think of many situations where going black and dark grey is good for you. So stick to light coloured walls. Where should light to be positioned so you have the best view of your desk? As a general rule, try to have ambient light further away from your desk, and the more diffuse light closer to your desk. You do not want to create any strong shadows from any one side, and if you do, like from a desk lamp then you can adjust it according to what you are doing, So if you should position the light right above, make sure it's further away and not quite over your head. Otherwise, you will have a big head shadow on your desk. If it is further in front, you will not get the full spectrum of light. If you have a shelf above your workspace light should come at an angle so you don't have any hand shadows on your desk. You can also diffuse the light by adding a layer of a translucent plastic stripe on top of your lights or my having them face the opposite direction. That way you received a light that has been reflected on the wall. You can also use LED lights to create a certain kind of mood, in this case, a very computer-gamer vibe and you can find all kinds of coloured lights on the market. Lastly, if you have a small budget, you can have more ambient light on your desk and bring back the Christmas mood with Christmas tree lights. 15. Intro: Part 3: Nature has been the place we called home for about 8000 generations, and only six generations have passed since the beginning of agriculture. A mere 12 generations have passed since the birth of the modern city that we know today. We live in a bit of an experiment, and do you think that this might have an impact on our health, wellness and well-being? When we are in nature, all our senses are engaged. We detect colour and texture and temperature and humidity. The weather is a complex information system that connects to all our senses. Our highly insulated environment, while it protects us, It's also alienating a little bit our senses. Because we live in the age of information overload, sensory deprivation tanks have become quite prevalent. But according to research, complete sensory deprivation, even for about 2-3 days, can dramatically reduce our cognitive abilities and even have us hallucinating. So while I'm not saying that we should leave everything behind and move into nature, I am saying that perhaps we should under-stimulate our mind a little bit and overstimulate the rest of our senses in order to achieve a state of health, happiness and wellbeing. So how might we re-engage our senses with nature while still living in the modern city? 16. Nature: The first tip that I have for you is to surround yourself with more plants. They bring both a psychological and physiological benefit. We all know that plants improve air quality and raise oxygen levels and remove air pollutants from the room. But what most people don't know is that, according to research, even a couple of plants in the windowless room, can improve productivity, can decrease blood pressure and can even support a more generous behaviour towards others. Plants even have an influence on your recovery as a 1980 study shows that patients recovering from gallbladder surgery left the hospital sooner, and needed less pain medication when their windows faced a group of trees than patients whose windows faced a brick wall. Studies from the United States, Britain and the Netherlands also show that people who live in greener areas have less incidents of anxiety and depression, and recover quicker from stressful life events than people living in less greener areas. So try to surround yourself with as many plants as you can, even fresh cut flowers will do. 17. Artificial Nature: Although more research is needed in this area, it appears that nature has an impact on our health and well-being even when it's not real. The mere exposure to the colour green seems to have an impact on your creativity. And a research from 1993 on a hospital emergency room where a windowless environment was improved with a big savannah mural and a lot of plants showed to have a huge impact on decreasing patients, aggressive behaviour as well as significantly decrease their stress. 18. Materials: The third tip I have for you is to use natural materials. You know how the doctor says that processed food is not good for you, and you should eat natural food? Well the same thing applies for natural textures. So try to surround yourself with wall coverings, carpet and furniture that use natural materials such as wood, stone, wicker and natural fibres. 19. Seeing and Touching : Tip number 5. Have color and texture in your environment. You know how when kids are upset, they reach for their teddy bear or when we are in a negative state of mind for feeling anxious, we reach for that soft blanket or want to crawl under the covers. That's because when we're in a negative state of mind, we have an increased sensitivity to touch. But in conditions of health and happiness, our visual sensitivity encourages broad exploration. Colour is therefore not just a piece of decoration, but if you think about it in nature, colour informs us. of an abundant environment, of energy, colour extents through the full thickness of an object, it means a stage of growth. It means the concentration of minerals. To generalize, happy people like to look, and sad people crave touch. So the summarise: in order to achieve a sense of health and well being, you need to have both a visual and tactile stimulation in your environment. 20. Sound: Tip number six: Use ambient sound. Recordings of natural sounds have been used in children's hospital to relieve pain and calm patients, as well as ease the stress of travel in lounges, in airports all over the world. A possible explanation as to why we respond to ambient sounds is that we have evolved to rely on them, particularly bird songs as a sign of safety in our environments. Before a big storm or really dangerous situations . birds flee in the world goes eerily quiet. "Quiet" is not a good sound to hear. But the ambient sound on the other hand, is a sign of business as usual in the natural kingdom. If you have one advantage with working from home, is that you can play any music you like without bothering any colleagues. So use ambient sound to calm your mind and put yourself in the state of well being and achieve a high level of productivity in your home office. 21. Smell: The last tip I have for you is to use your sense of smell. The sense of smell is directly linked to the emotional centre of our brain, causing a flood of warm and fuzzy feelings with a simple sniff. Unlike touch or taste, the sense of smell is directly correlated with past experiences. Research has shown that fragrances have a measurable effect on our mood, and particularly on eight factors: depression, stress, anxiety, apathy, relaxation, stimulation, happiness and sensuality. The mere scent of coffee seems to help people focus better. According to research made by the University of Ohio, smelling lemon raises the levels of a chemical called norepinephrine which is linked to an easier decision making and increased motivation. Also essential oils from the hinoki cypress, which is a tree found in the forest of Japan used in hotel rooms humidifiers helped guests relax and increased the amount of natural killer cells, which are a type of white blood cells that are critical to the immune system functioning. The smell of lemongrass also reduces stress and anxiety. Cinnamon seems to improve attention and increased motor responses, and the smell of peppermint helps increase alertness and improve performance in vigilance tests. In conclusion, fragrances are emotional and you can use the advantage of your home office, to test various types of fragrances without bothering any colleagues until you find the fragrance that helps you relax and improve your focus, alertness, concentration and productivity. 22. Ordered Complexity: According to Alain de Botton, our brains are all the time searching for patterns in the world around us. If we can spot the pattern immediately and something is too simple, then we lose interest. We find it, dull and tedious. If something is too chaotic, too complex, we can't really spot the pattern, we feel frustrated and annoyed. We dislike chaos because if there isn't enough order and regularity around us, we feel lost and confused. So beauty lies between too much order and not enough order. Between boredom and chaos. Its that midpoint where we can understand an underlying structure, but at the same time it is filled with complexity and variety. Then that becomes a little interesting. We find it beautiful. Let's look at tiles for example. The ones on the left are ordered. We can identify the pattern immediately. The ones on the right have no order, they represent chaos. But the ones in the middle are intriguing. We can see an underlying structure. But we can't really pinpoint what the pattern is. It keeps us curious. It's quite beautiful. This again has a relationship with how nature is constructed and makes sense to us. Nature doesn't use a square grid, but it follows a fractal structural logic. It's the logic that the growth of plants follows and that of the animal skin. We see a group of similar features growing a certain kind of radiant logic. We see the leaves belonging to one tree. We see the shapes belonging to one animal. We identified the elements as one. Objects with similar features like repeating colors, shapes and textures in different parts of the room help our eyes view the room as a whole rather than a mishmash of disconnected things. Research shows that we are attracted to environments with a moderate degree of complexity, but only if the complexity is well structured. If we take the composition of this workspace, it's quite beautiful. And why is that? There is an underlying horizontal structure realized by the shelves and the table. Every shelf has its own category. of objects on display. The first shelves are paintings. Then come grey files, then thread rolls and coloured papers, all ordered jars and boxes. Then comes a collection of scissors, and then the table with the computers and then the file cabinets underneath the table. Everything has its place and all the objects from the same category share a shelf. You don't see paintings below the scissors or the scissors higher up. But what unifies this composition are the colour shades of pink and yellow and orange, which makes the entire composition look like one unit. Let's take the studio here. If you look at the shelves, we can already recognize from afar the different threads of color, and each color has its shelf. The top side of the shelves are plans and paintings. The bottom side of the shelves are boxes. This happens everywhere. The grey colours of the chair and the threat rolls, the wooden elements of boxes and shelves and paintings that are visible in multiple objects around the room help us see the room is a whole. Patterns con soothe us in a similar way. They are complex designs on a simple structure, and they can turn a rather dull environment into a sophisticated one. The same effect can be created by a floor. See how it attracts your view away from a rather plane looking table. 23. Simplicity: In the "Order and complexity" chapter, we talked about chaos as a generator of frustration and confusion, which is why you should try to keep your workplace environment as simple, and as clutter-free as possible. Many researchers have already proven that clutter can negatively affect your mood, your resilience and your ability to work productively. Very cluttered homes can cause mental and emotional distress, mainly because its occupants have the impression that they have no control over the environment and therefore no control over their own lives. Clutter competes for your attention and it may be exhausting to fight it out all the time which increases your annoyance and decreases your mental resource, making you very frustrated. And there's nothing more unproductive than a frustrated worker. So try to keep your environment as clutter-free as possible and here are a couple of examples of how you might do that. If you take a look at the environments that soothe us the most, you will see two things: order and horizontal lines. We get a sense of calm when our brains can quickly decipher our environment. Despite living in modern times our brain still operates like it did for our ancestors and is always looking for threats. This quick deciphering lets us know that we're safe and we can relax. We will not be eaten or attacked today. This is especially evident in the presence of water or when we are at the top of a mountain. So how might we express simplicitly in your home office design? We could make use of horizontal lines by widening the table or using low furniture. Horizontal lines can be created with open shelves or the removal of vertical lines like table legs. It could also mean stripping down the space of all unnecessary furniture and storage. The furniture that is on display is from natural materials. The table legs are made of thin metal frames, accentuating the minimalist aspect of the design. Keep the range of colours to a minimum, either by focusing on natural wooden colour or by mixing a pastel color like this light pink with light grey. It still looks sophisticated, but simple and the space is easy to understand. Keep things as orderly as you can, but if you can't keep the clutter behind doors. if you know you're kind of messy by design, make use of furniture doors. You don't have to look at the clutter every day. In this example, the shelves above the desk and the storage below the table are completely hidden behind doors. Also, keep the pieces of furniture to the minimum and compact. 24. Symmetry: The human eye is very attuned to symmetry because it represents a sign of life. The majority of living creatures are symmetrical, so symmetry can symbolize food or danger. Symmetry also represents vibrancy and health and a sign of better reproductive fitness. It's what we look for in a mate of the opposite sex. In 2013 in a study of the University of Liverpool, psychologists discovered that people associated symmetry with positive words like pleasure, paradise in heaven, an asymmetrical random forms with words like disaster, evil and death. Symmetry is associating with beauty, even in our language. Combined with simplicity, symmetry can be a very potent design strategy. In the case of a workspace, the table is the centrepiece, and the right and the left side are equal. You have to use horizontality as well as similar colour tones. The space is easy to understand, yet delightful in the choice of materials and colors. in case your home office room is a little larger, than the furniture piece behind the desk and be symmetrical. Or you can have two symmetrical desks, one next to the other. What I love about this design is also the use of texture. The eye is attracted to the chairs and the carpet, making the whole composition looking very, very beautiful. 25. DIY: Everyone has heard of recycling. But what about upcycling? Recycling is the process of turning waste into a product, but of lesser quality. Upcycling on the other hand, turns waste into a material or product of a higher quality. So how might this look like? Let's say you have a teapot with a broken lid. Now, this teapot is essentially junk. You can't use it to drink tea anymore. But if you take this teapot and use it as a storage box for your pens and pencils. You've essentially turned junk into a higher quality product, and this is what upcycling is all about. DIY projects also seem to have a therapeutical effect on the mind. Research has shown that activities like vegetable growing, carpentry, knitting can all have an impact on your stress, anxiety and depression. There is value in routine action. The mind wrests. Functioning hands also foster a flow in the mind which leads to joyful and creative thought. Peak moments occur when we ponder and we daydream. The act of building something and putting your own blood, sweat and tears seems to imbue the object with additional value, above and beyond its inherent value, which the researchers dub as "the Ikea effect". In one such research, participants who build a simple storage box from Ikea were willing to pay for it a lot more than participants who merely observed the built box. This additional value seems to be related not just with the effort that people put into building the box, but also with the fact that it has been completed, as boxes who were incomplete or disassembled did not receive the same amount of value as completed boxes. So by creating your DIY furniture projects not only will you benefit psychologically, but you will also add more value to your project, which in return benefits the environment. WIN-WIN. I have here a couple of examples of upcycled home offices. I'm hoping to encourage you to think differently and upcycle, the pieces of furniture or decor that you might already have. You could also purchase pieces of furniture from antique shops, or second-hand shops repaint them, restructure them and give them a new life. Some of these examples require light skills, others more advanced skills. You do what works best for you. You can use old army cabinets as support for the table surface like in this example. The tabletop can also be salvaged wood. You can repurpose old factory shelves or this beautiful industrial lamps. You can design your own art piece lamp from old cups and vases. I love how the coloured pieces of glass cups and plates put together make a piece of art and you can't recognize where each of the parts came anymore. How about this table lamp? Just spray paint with gold a bunch of old toys, glue them together, and suddenly you have a new table lamp. You could also use paper to create the lampshade. You can take plain old wooden crates, paint them with pastel colours and create a beautiful composition together with books, decor elements and pots of plants. You can also use colourful wrapping paper like the one on the right, to use it to cover the bottom of the crate. They become beautiful coloured shelves. If you have any light carpentry skills, you can even build a desk yourself out of planks of wood. You can create the frame for the table that stabilize the six legs with crisscross plans. If you're missing drawers, you can add some yourself to the bottom of the table. If you have an old chair that you are not yet ready to throw away, you can change the fabric cover for something more appealing. This one looks incredible. You can be more bold with the cover like this. Like these beautiful chairs covered with floral patterns. I hope, with these examples to encourage you to try a DIY project of your own. 26. Color: Our sense of vision is one of the strongest senses, and it's an integral part of our survival, particularly our ability to find sources of energy. Scientists believe that it allowed humans to find sugar-rich ripe fruit and young nutritious leaves. Colour vision provided such an advantage that our ancient brains evolved a reduced capacity for smell in order to allow an increased capacity for vision. Color vision was so important that we sacrificed our sense of smell for it. For millions of years bright colors predicted reliably nourishment, which activates an ancient circuit that lights up with pleasure at the idea of finding something sweet to eat. We think of colour as superficial, but our ancient brain things of colour as something really exciting. It lights up is if it has just found a tree full of fruit. These responses are embeded into us and we don't know why this happens. But it does. And this is a very important information. We might think that we are modern humans, but we are still operating with ancient brains. More broadly, color is an indicator of the richness of surroundings, of an environment that is able to support us a sustain us a long time. Studies made on office spaces show that people who worked in bright-coloured spaces were more joyful, more creative, more interested, and more confident than people who worked in dull spaces. Bright light colours are more energizing than dark colours. Since you don't have to work in an environment that has been designed for you already, you can use this information to design a space for yourself that uses colour to bring you joy, to make you happy and to set you in the kind of mood that you need for work. A brightly lit field of flowers informs you about an environment that has the power to support you with energy for a long time. That is intrinsically related to our sense of happiness. This exuberant aesthetic is particularly visible in candy shops, so you could take the idea of this explosion of brightly lit colours and try to position them in a kind of recognizable pattern, you will be able to replicate that natural aesthetic that recreates a sense of joy in us. Take for example this simple white pegboard onto which the rainbow colours have been painted. It creates a totally different effect than had it been a simple white. Or take this beautiful arrangement of wooden boxes whose bottom has been coated with a a colorful piece of fabric that shows not only colour but texture too. A similar effect can be achieved with colourful wallpaper or colourful art. Using bright pastel colors of pink and purple as well as a textured floor can create a similar effect. Additionally, research demonstrates that round shapes add to the exuberant feeling. We feel safe around them. They encourage us to run, to jump and move. Round pieces of furniture do not hurt us if you bump into them. And being surrounded by furniture objects with round corners seem to encourage our thinking in becoming more flowing and more creative. Finally, one last example where pastel colours were used generously on the walls, the table on the pieces of art. But because we can still see an underlying structure, it doesn't bother us. In fact, it makes us happy. The fact that the colours of, bright orange and bright pink repeat themselves on multiple levels of this composition makes us perceive the room as a whole and not separate pieces near each other. I hope all these examples will encourage you to use a little bit more colour, and bring a little bit more joy and happiness in your life. 27. Final Thoughts: Thank you for watching the class until the end. I hope you learned a few new things and are inspired to design or redesign your home office. I enjoyed teaching this class a lot and I can't wait to see what you have taken away from it. So I encourage you to go to the "class project" and share with me anything you have from your design process: from sketches, to Pinterest boards to the "before and after" photos or your final project. Please use the discussion section to let me know your thoughts about the class or questions you might have. It helps me understand how to improve the class to suit you better. Also, if you have ideas about other classes I should be making please use to Google Form link I have left for you to let me know. If you like the class encourage you to leave a review. It tells Skillshare that you like my work and it encourages other people to discover my work. Do connect with me on social media, I'm always happy to hear from my students.