How to make your home-office really work for you!

If you are a start-up, micro-business or perhaps a solopreneur, keeping outgoing expenses to a minimum will no doubt be at the forefront of your mind. Before taking on the large expense of renting office space, consider creating an office at home.

1. Not enough room

Even if you think you don’t have enough room, you’ll be surprised how an office can fit into the most unlikely of spaces – under the stairs, a widow alcove, a hallway, even a cupboard.

Even the simplest of home offices can benefit from integrating the following 6 elements, making sure it’s a place you’ll want to spend time in.

2.  Creating the right environment for you

Making a work space at home gives you the perfect opportunity to design and style in a way that suits ‘how you need to work’.  You may need a clear, clutter-free minimalist space, or one that encourages inspiration with notice and mood boards, where you’re surrounded by things you love.

If peace and quiet is important to you, if at all possible, locate the office away from the main activities of the house such as the kitchen, TV room, playroom, any space where there is likely to be lots of noise.  This will allow you to work undisturbed whilst allowing the rest of the household to carry on as normal.  You’ll also be able to close the door at the end of the day, helping you to make that mental ‘end of working day’ transition.

 3. Colour Your Space

There are two approaches to this. The first one is to use your business brand colours and the second is to use colours to support you in the functions you need to do.

Option 1: Business brand colours

If you regularly have customers and clients come to your home office, you may want to consider using your business brand colours. This will help to:

  • increase brand recognition
  • subliminally reinforce brand awareness
  • build brand trust
  • create long term customer loyalty

When applying your business brand colours to your office think about

  • creating a design that incorporates both your business brand colours and personality to create the right mood throughout
  • decide on the all-important placement of your brand colours within those spaces
  • get the correct colour proportions right – this is key to show your brand to its full effect.

Option 2: Colours to support & motivate

If your office space is just for you i.e. customers/clients don’t visit, which is not uncommon, then consider creating a colour scheme that supports how you want to feel whilst working.  You may find you need to have clarity and focus, or be creative.  Or perhaps you need some extra motivation. Here are some quick tips on colours you could use and the positive feelings they can invoke:

Red – energy and motivation
Dark Blue – focused thinking, concentration
Light Blue – creativity
Turquoise – communication, self-expression
Yellow – optimism, happiness
Orange – fun, sociable and joyful
Green – calming balance

When applying your colours to your office think about:

  • creating a colour and design scheme that creates the right mood, to support what you need in order to get your work done
  • think about the combination of colours that will create this mood. If you feel there are some colours you only need a hint of, then you can always use them in accessories, stationery, or flowers, so you can swap them out when you feel you need a change in mood.
  • decide on the all-important placement of these colours – will they be in your line of sight, or behind you. This will make a huge impact on how you feel in the space.
  • correct colour proportions – getting this right is key, otherwise you could end up feeling the negative effects of that colour. For example if you paint every wall in red because you need motivating, you could end up feeling overwhelmed, agitated and annoyed.

4. Pole Position

The best location for your desk is near a large window, giving you the benefits of natural light, fresh air and a view.  Other than getting up at regular intervals to stretch your body, it’s just as important your eyes are regularly ‘stretched’ by looking at a distance point.  If you can, place your monitor/laptop at least 25 inches from your eyes, preferably more.

5. Sitting Comfortably

How often do we find ourselves sitting at our desk only to find the hours have flown by?  If you make one investment, make it your chair.  One that is right for your height and weight, supports your lower back behind the pelvis and encourages upright posture. Ideally you’ll want it to be adjustable in height and tilting angle; and have arms which can go up and down to ensure elbows are in the correct position.

6. Storage

Good practical storage is key to having a well organised work space, where there’s a place for everything and it’s all easily accessible – with the most used items close to hand.  Make it as creative as you like, especially if your storage is out on display, such as glass jars, wicker boxes, or folders covered in your colour scheme.

I hope this article inspires you to create your perfect office at home.  Remember, they can spring out of the most unlikely places!

Let me know in the comments below whether you decided to use your business brand colours… or colours to help’ support you in your work’. Also where you created your office space – do you have a dedicated room or did you get creative.

Karen Haller

Karen Haller is one of the leading authorities in the field of applied colour psychology. She is an internationally renowned business colour and brand personality expert, helping clients from across the globe transform the branding image of their business. She has consulted, trained and worked on campaigns for a number of prestigious brands including 3M Post-it, Thomas Pink, Humanscale, Dulux, Orange Mobile, Logitech and The Peggy Porschen Cake Academy. Karen is regularly featured in the UK’s leading magazines, newspapers and on radio. She is a published author, consultant, tutor and speaker on the subject of colour psychology, Colour Intuition™, colour association and colour in culture. Karen Haller runs her own colour and design consultancy specialising in the science and psychology of colour and how that is applied to business branding and interiors. When it comes to the design process Karen believes it starts with understanding the authentic personality whether that is of an individual or a business, revealing the colours and design that expresses their true identity. Karen is a co-author of the leading industry book Colour design: Theories and applications, the first of its kind bringing the arts, science and applications together. Karen was commissioned to write chapter 20 - Colour in interior design, discussing the use of colour in both residential and commercial interiors. Karen speaks regularly to businesses and industry professionals on the importance of colour. She has given talks at Grand Designs LIVE on her Colour Intuition™ system and spoke at the prestigious industry Clerkenwell Design week on the importance of colour and how architects and interior designers have an incredible social responsibility with the colour choices they make. Karen is also a trustee of the Colour Group of Great Britain and on the advisory board of the charity Color Cares. Visit for your free e-book on ‘7 Mistakes Most Business Owners Make with Their Branding Colours’. You can connect with Karen by clicking on the icons below.

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