Ali Budd is the president and principal designer of Ali Budd Interiors, one of Toronto’s most sought-after design firms.
March 2021 marks one year since Toronto was first locked down as a result of the pandemic. In the past year, we’ve spent more time in our homes than ever before and many of us are continuing to work and study from home.
Although there are many challenges that come with these adjustments, a well-designed office will make it easier — however, many people are still using the dining table as their desk, so it’s time for an upgrade.
Create a designated space
Whether it’s an entire room or a small nook, it’s crucial to have an area that’s dedicated strictly for work. When choosing your workstation, it’s important to assess different factors, such as sound, natural lighting, home traffic and the level of distraction you can handle.
From a space-planning perspective, if you plan to work when the rest of the family is at home, placing your home office close to the kitchen, bathroom or living room means you could have a lot of visitors and disruptive noises. On the flip side, if you have small children, you may want your workspace relatively close to their playroom so you can monitor their activity.
Consider your workflow and design your space to best serve you. My biggest rule is you need to invest in pieces that are both beautiful and functional — ultimately, a home office should support organization and enhance your productivity.
A few questions to address are how much desktop space you require, what storage you need, and what everyday tools do you reach for the most?
Invest in ergonomic furniture
Choosing comfortable and ergonomic furniture is a must — it’s essential for your health and overall well-being. When our design firm first transitioned to work from home, I first made sure that my employees had access to comfortable chairs. You spend hours at a time parked in your chair — a comfortable and ergonomically correct chair is worth every dime.
Let there be light
When possible, position your desk near the window to benefit from as much daylight as possible. With less time spent outside, it’s important to take advantage of the windows and maximize natural lighting. Minor adjustments like making sure no furniture is covering the window to having your curtains tied back will go a long way.
The great thing about working from home is that you can decide how you want your home office to look and feel. Whether it be painting the walls a colour you love, showcasing your art collection or even having a small deskside plant, design a space that inspires you and draws you in esthetically. Choose a theme that matches your personal style and work toward it one element at a time. As humans, we are very affected by our surroundings and the environment we’re in. I truly believe that personalizing your space in a way that makes you feel good is key.