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Decorating the Home Office
May 6 2009
Only a decade ago, working from home was considered fringe. Today, well over 50 million people work from home, including telecommuters and home-based businesses. Chances are, even if you're commuting to an office, you need to catch up on work at home in the evenings or on the weekends.

For many, the home office is as essential as a kitchen, but the homes we live in require us to be creative in carving out our office space.

Decorating the Home Office

People choose to work at home, not simply out of necessity, but because it allows them to be something they cannot be in a corporate office. For this reason, decorating the home office is an exercise in self-expression. The more successful you are in reflecting your personality in your home workplace, the more you'll find it becomes a place you gravitate toward, rather than just go to. Personalize your home workspace and take ownership of those many work hours.

Natural light in a home office provides a view and connection to the outdoors. Natural light will make you happier and more productive. However, even if you have great natural light, you will need to think about your artificial lights. Sometimes there is too much light—you'll have to shade your office from glare and supplement with lamps. Sometimes (it's true) you'll want to work at night.

There are two general types of lighting:

ambient lighting—washes gently over a large area and provides general lighting in your home office.

task lighting—is focused on work surfaces and has higher levels of illumination.

A common form of ambient lighting in home workplaces is recessed lighting with a dimmer control. This lighting is good for general illumination, but will cause eye strain if you try to use it alone for tasks.

Task lighting should be at least 16 inches above the work surface and a baffle or shade should be used so the light bulb isn't directly visible. Strip lights are often used for task lighting. Another popular tak lighting option is halogen or other small desk lamps. When they come with flexible arms, the light can be moved closer to the work or farther away if it's not needed.

Privacy & Storage

In a home office it's great to be able to hide things away when you switch out of work mode. There are many options to screen your workplace from the rest of your home, even if you have to share the space, including:

folding screens
a row of tall houseplants
a bookcase on casters
a set of tall filing cabinets
An attractive desk that closes when work is done is also a popular decorating solution.

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