Working Spaces

interior design glamour for the home office

Lots of people work from home today. In the world of an email address, a broadband connection, and a laptop on your coffee table, nobody knows you’re a consultant dog on the Internet. But if it gets more serious and you want to establish a grown-up home office, you might want to create a professional workspace. Many people start from a small study or working in a corner of the spare room, but if your business grows, I guarantee you’ll feel more professional with a proper office. Working Spaces is packed with examples of how it can be done.

This book is visual proof that you don’t need to be surrounded by empty cardboard boxes and metal filing cabinets. The examples illustrated include quite small family homes which have been adapted to the demands of creating a working space within a domestic environment. They also recognise that people working from confined spaces may need to put a single area to different uses at different times. A workaday meeting room might become a weekend lounge; or an office might need to be converted to accommodate guests from time to time.

What I admire about these Taschen publications is that although they have the outer glamour of coffee table luxury, they do in fact deal with real-life examples. There are plenty of cases here of one and two-roomed apartments which have been adapted to maximise space and preserve elegance, whilst at the same time functioning as proper offices with computers, storage for box files, and desks with telephones and wastebaskets.

The photography is superb throughout; the text is in English, French, and German; and every example is accompanied by architectural plans showing the floor layout. It’s also bursting with good space-saving ideas – foldaway beds; hinged partition screens; and lots of tables, chairs and bookshelves with wheels. Another common design feature if you’ve got the courage to try it is white floors. White everything in fact.

How can you make your own working space more pleasant, more aesthetically soothing? Well, ask yourself these questions. Do you really need ugly filing cabinets immediately to hand? Why not conceal them or put the contents somewhere else? Why not have bold decorative features in your workspace, to make it more individualised and humane? Large pictures and big pots of flowers will do the trick.

Most of the owners seem to be graphic and interior designers, and architects – which might be cheating somewhat. I know a number of professional writers who operate from spaces far less elegant (and that’s putting it mildly) . But this gives an idea of what is possible, and moreover attainable without a great deal of expense.

In fact I’ll summarise it all in one tip which is guaranteed to make your own working space more stylish and effective in one quick step: Get rid of all the clutter- now!

© Roy Johnson 2005

Simone Schleifer, Working Spaces, London: Taschen, 2005, pp.384, ISBN: 3822841862

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