Yorkshire Post - 17th February 2010
With home computing now a fixture in many households, it seems the age of the study is once more upon us.
Whilst this conjures up images of book lined walls and dark wood furniture, the reality in terms of space and money, is often far from this. However, given the amount of time many of us now spend on a PC at home it is essential that it is a carefully thought out area, relaxing to work in and not an eyesore for the householder.
First consider who is using the area, not forgetting growing children. Choose a location accessible to everyone who needs it, without impacting on others (eg. avoid setting up in a bedroom when others may need to use it when the bedroom owner wishes to go to sleep!).
If you have a guest room consider making this your study and replacing the bed with a sofa bed. This will meet any short term guest’s needs and ensure you make maximum use of the available space in your home.
A study need not be a separate room, but a niche under the stairs or an area of the hallway. Sectioning off a corner of a living room with a screen and placing your desk and paraphernalia behind will avoid an eye sore in the centre of your home. Corner desks can also help fit your area into a smaller space (consider the Wentworth range from Halo).
Wentworth Office Furniture by Halo (from £499)
You can even convert a cupboard into a decent home office by hanging shelving and a desk top and adding a folding door, providing you install light and electrical sockets.
Electricity is an important consideration. PCs, printers, monitors, speakers and lamps all need to be plugged in and a mass of wires is not only hideous, but a health and safety nightmare if snaking across the floor. Ensure you have a socket directly by your desk area. Purchase a good multi-adaptor with surge protection to avoid your equipment being damaged by voltage spikes.
Copious storage is essential to avoid your study becoming a hideous black hole and the smaller the study area, the more important the storage.
If you have room for a desk with plenty of drawers or suspension file space (such as the beautiful Classic-Line Desk from Design Conscious), this is ideal as paperwork can be placed neatly away and the structure helps hide the myriad of cables. When planning your layout ensure desk drawers or filing cabinets have enough space to open.
Classicline Desk by Design Conscious, £3,135
Alternatively, put up shelving and invest in box files to store paperwork (decorated and labelled these look uniformly neat and help keep wayward papers under control). If you are working with limited space, place shelves as high as possible so that you can make use of the area underneath for a work desk: keep some steps handy for access without need to climb on a chair.
When it comes to seating, a kitchen chair just will not do. The natural way of working at a desk requires a properly designed chair to help avoid back ache. The “Executive” type high back chair may look impressive, but it is actually the lower backed “typist” chair that affords the best support for your back. On-line office supply merchants often have some great options for £40 or £50.
The final element for a successful area is the correct type of lighting. Desk lamps should be low to cast light without creating shadows from your head and bright enough to avoid eyestrain; then as fab and funky as you want (I love the new Retro Desk Lamp from Tesco Direct or the Anglepoise Fifty).
_ Anglepoise Fifty, £39.50
Retro Desk Lamp from Tesco Direct, £20
Send your interior design queries to Jamie Hempsall, BIDA at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01777 248463.