As you get close to closing on a new home thoughts tend to turn from dollar and cents, contracts and contingencies to furniture, paint colors, appliances and other décor. If you work from home, it will be important to get the office set up immediately so we’ve put together this handy guide to get you up and running quickly.
Location and size
And here you thought you’d heard the last of “location, location, location,” right? Unless you live alone, which room you’ll use for your home office, however, is important to your productivity. If you are easily distracted, find a spot that’s as removed from the rest of the home as possible.
When scouting around the house for the ideal office location, notice how much natural light each room receives. The best choice would be the room with the most natural daylight, which will help you focus and remain productive, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.Exposure to sunlight provides “a profound way to improve office workers’ productivity and health,” claims the authors.
Ensure that the room you choose is the right size to accommodate your daily work activities and your storage needs. If you’ve found a room in a suitable location and it gets plenty of natural light but lacks storage, consider adding built-ins with cupboards and shelves.
Finally, if you hope to take the home office tax deduction you’ll need to ensure that your office is distinctly separate from the personal spaces of the home. Sure, it’s ok if you use the dining room for your office as long as you don’t also eat there. Keep this in mind as you decorate the office as well – if an item shouldn’t be in an off-premise office, it shouldn’t be in your home office either.
Determining your tech needs should be high on the list of things to do in advance of moving in to the new house. First, figure out what you require in a home network (the basics, of course, include a broadband modem and wireless router), but you may also need to connect other devices and depending on what you do for a living you may need a dedicated land-line telephone and perhaps cable TV service. If you’re fortunate to have some smart devices in the home, you’ll need to consider a home automation hub, cloud storage and more.
All those cords and wires can be distracting so shop for storage or camouflage solutions as well.
While it’s important to have as much natural light as possible, depending on what you do for a living you’ll want to add additional lighting as well. Look for lighting solutions that will help reduce eye-strain. The experts at Remodelista suggest thinking of your office lighting as “akin to dressing for a climate with changeable weather–it’s all about layering.” Use one light to illuminate the entire office and then start layering in other fixtures according to your typical daily tasks, from filing to working on your computer.
These solutions can include everything from desk lamps to sconces to floor lamps, depending on your needs.
Furnishings are highly personal, even in an office setting. Since you’ll be spending most of your time at your desk, however, let’s start there. Will you stand or sit? With all of the recent studies claiming that sitting is killing us, many are switching to stand-up desks, so this is a valid question. And, since you have the luxury of planning your ideal office right now, it’s something to consider.
Thankfully, if you can’t decide whether to sit or stand, you don’t have to – there are desks designed to allow you to do either. The bottom line with furnishings is that you’ll need to decide what you require and then ensure that the furniture will fit in the room (along with the storage solutions you’ve chosen).
Aside from a desk and chair, you may need filing cabinets, shelves, display space (if you see clients in the home) and more. Hopefully, you measured the room while you accompanied the home inspector (or any other visit you made) so that you can get this hammered out before you move in.
TIP: Do not use your credit card or any other type of credit to furnish the office or any other room in the home before closing escrow. Your lender will likely perform what is known as a “soft pull” of your credit just before closing. If your finances have changed in any way since you applied for the mortgage, your loan may not go through (at the last minute), which makes all thoughts of designing a home office for this home moot.