Business and the way we work has irrevocably changed. For some, working form home will become a thing of permanence. In which your make shift kitchen-bench or from-the-bed ‘office’ is gonna need a major shake-up. We talk to design curator and editor of recently published ‘Our Spaces’ (So you know you’re in for a visual feast!) Alana Broadhead. She shares her favourite home-office spaces that are both stylish and functional with tips on how to create your own.
Image via Le Petit Fika
Because You’re Worth It
It’s important to feel motivated and positive in this new normal, so if I only had one tip, it would be to take the time to make your workspace as pretty as it is practical. It’s the little touches that make a workstation a place you actually want to spend time at - a framed picture of something meaningful, your best handcream or lip balm within reach, a favourite scented candle (and actually light it, during your workday. Why not, right? We need all the good vibes we can get).
Look around the other rooms in your house: what you can borrow and repurpose for your new workspace? A stylish dining chair can be your new office chair, a cosy throw gets slung over the chair for cooler afternoons, a woven basket becomes a wastepaper bin, favourite mug or vase becomes a place for your pens, a loved piece of art can move temporarily from the hallway to your new workspace…
Image via Maddie Broderick
Choose your desktop display with the care and consideration you’d give to choosing art on the wall. Minimise folders and files to the smallest number possible (I put all my ‘desktop’ folders into just one folder that I call Desktop), then take the time to choose an inspiring wallpaper – a beautiful photograph that evokes the emotion you want in your space, a quote that resonates with you at the moment, or a piece of artwork you love. On my desktop at the moment is a digital vision board – a modern moodboard of things I want to make reality in my life. There are loads of free apps that’ll let you create a collage of images to put together your own vision board.
Don’t neglect your screensaver either. Default screensavers are notoriously unstylish – now’s the perfect time to choose one that enhances the aesthetic of your space.
Imagery via the designer and photographer Cate St Hill
In(spo) the Mood
I love a moodboard in a workspace. They’re an ever-evolving artwork, and a quick and easy way to freshen up the look and feel of your workspace. Handwritten notes, magazine cut-outs, photos, cards, ephemera… if it inspires you in some way, and you can pin, clip, blu-tack or washi-tape it, you can use it in a moodboard. You can make your workspace your own little microcosm of inspiration and ideas, vision and values.
An iconic pendant light from Flos elevates this otherwise simple home-office nook. Image from my book Our Spaces: Contemporary NZ Interiors. Photography by Michelle Weir.
Frame the Space
If your workspace is a part of another space like your bedroom or lounge, hanging some statement art or lighting directly above the desk will help frame the space, anchoring and demarcating the work area as its own zone.
Idea to steal: I love the way interior designer Anne Sage has positioned a number of pieces of art around the computer, drawing the screen into the gallery wall.
Image via Rue Mag
Bring the outdoors in (and soften the vibe of all the tech) with plants. Don’t be afraid to go big, like content creator and photographer Tezza has in her bedroom. This huge banana palm creates a visual divide between the workspace corner and the rest of the bedroom, and the other large plant is actually a jasmine bush, chosen for the gorgeous scent it brings into the space.
Drawers, No Worries
Don’t have desk drawers? That can be a good thing! Take the opportunity to de-clutter and organise other storage cupboards in the house, to make a little space for some office storage for yourself. Focus on one task or project at a time, putting things back in that dedicated storage space when you’re finished each piece of work. This reduces distractions and multi-tasking, and having to get up to get something means you’re stretching and moving.
At the end of the day, clear all work away and get your desk back its good-looking best. The act of putting items away at the end of the day helps your brain – and your nervous system – slow down and log off work mode.
Image via Coco Lapine– the WFH space of interior stylist and designer Sarah Van Peteghem
I believe in having less, but better. And in finding joy in little things – especially important at the moment. Over the past year or so, I have slowly upgraded all of my workspace basics – for me this means things like only having a couple of pens (refillable, black ink) that I love and pretty much use for everything, writing all my notes, task lists and ideas into a couple of good-looking plain notebooks (eliminating lots of loose paper, folders and binders) and investing in a stylish water bottle – to help me drink more water, and so I don’t stockpile glasses from the kitchen. Having less clutter can really help your mind feel less cluttered, and owning things that you truly love – that make you feel good – sprinkles extra happiness over your workday.
Ditch the Defaults
If you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated office space in your home, consider using a dining table as an alternative to a traditional desk. Dining tables generally are larger, with cleaner lines and more stylish silhouettes.
Also, while the default spot for a desk has always been up against a wall, having your desk in the centre of the room (or facing toward the centre of the room, with your chair closer to the wall) can really transform the feel of the space.
More from Alana
Alana also owns relaxed, stylish but simple homeware store in Waihi. Sunday is or people who love good design and contemporary interiors. (Ummmmm yes, hi, hello!) and be sure to check out her recently published coffee table book 'Our Spaces'
Our Spaces by Alana Broadhead takes you room by room through some of New Zealand’s most stylish and inspiring homes – spaces that are relaxed yet refined, modest yet modern. A beautiful, sourcebook of ideas for contemporary interiors.
Both aspirational and instructional, Our Spaces features over 400 beautiful photographs, alongside hundreds of ideas and insights pulled from each space, for yours. Discover not only what makes a space beautiful, but also what makes it meaningful.
Meet Seba, a sensitive, kind, and resilient single mother who shared what motherhood means to her in our recent open casting call to ‘all who Mother’. We were inspired by her strength as a solo parent to three children, as well as those she nurtures in the classroom. Oh and did we mention she's tiktok famous?