By Guest Contributor Josée Lalonde
There are virtually no arenas of our lives that remain untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the ways in which we have adapted to living – and by necessity for many folks, working – in our homes. According to a recent StatsCan study, since March 2020, nearly 33% of Canadians have embraced the benefits of working from home, and many of us would prefer to stay put as we transition to a post-pandemic reality. As an interior designer, I am answering calls every week from clients who realize that they need more permanent solutions to upgrade both the functionality and look of their in-home workspaces.
So how do you make room for a workspace that is both practical and beautiful? The answer depends on how much room you have.
If you have a dedicated office space…
Lucky you! I recently revamped my own home office space. My first priority was to clear the clutter to make more room for creativity and productivity. Now that so much of our “paperwork” can be stored digitally, this is an opportunity to purge the pile of papers you have been holding onto “just in case.” Don’t be afraid to be ruthless! Once this exercise is complete, choose a colour scheme and/or visual motif that inspires you, and curate a selection of objets (both pretty and purposeful) that reflect your theme. Corral all your stationery together in one spot so it is easy to find. Don’t just stash the clutter – make sure even the insides of your drawers and cabinets are well-organized and lovely to look at. Dedicate a space in your office – a shelf, a wall, a console table – where you can rest your eye on things you love while you are in “thinking mode.”
If you have a multi-purpose room that doubles as an office…
If possible, I recommend choosing a room other than your own bedroom- this should be your sanctuary separate from work life. A guest bedroom (one day we will host guests again!), a family room, a media room – these are all better options to share space with your office. The key is to designate a specific area as your workspace, and integrate it into the thematic décor so that the whole room looks and feels intentional. Try repurposing pieces to stand in for office furniture: a small dining table or console table as a desk, a buffet as storage, an occasional chair rather than an office chair. A seating option that blends function, form, and fun, I am loving these handcrafted textile covers for yoga balls, sourced by She’s Got Balls. It’s like sitting on a sculpture – definitely a statement piece for any room.
If you have a transitional space in a shared area of your home…
For those of you with smaller spaces who convert an area – a dining table, your kitchen island, your living room – to work at each day, convertible is key. I recommend designating a large bin, basket, or cupboard so that you can stash your office away at the end of your “shift.” This ritual stands in for closing your office door, so that you can commit to keeping your home and work life separate. Companies like Resource Furniture and Expand Furniture specialize in innovative transformational pieces. A cantilevered coffee table that can easily lift to desk or dining height is a smart investment to make the most of your small space, even more so if it features hidden storage to organize your office supplies.
No matter what size of space you have, I believe that you need to define where you do your work so that you can focus. Infusing your workspace with your distinct design style, and balancing the practical with the pretty is a designer’s dream. When you are inspired by your space, your work will be inspired too.
Josée Lalonde is the principal designer at Josée Lalonde Design.