There’s something special about a place of our own within our home, even if it is only a corner of the kitchen where we can attend to the bills, a desk on a landing where we get creative or the bliss of a retreat at the bottom of the garden away from the family.
As technology allows the boundaries between work and play to become blurred, we increasingly consider a home office (if we have the luxury of space), or at least an area devoted to a hobby or work, as essential.
According to new figures, around 70% of home renovation plans now include space for a study of some kind, and John Lewis has seen a 13% increase, compared to last year, in sales of home office furniture and storage.
“We all need a space we can call our own,” says Caroline Clifton-Mogg, whose book, A Space Of My Own, is packed with ingenious and practical ways of conjuring a ‘work’ area, coupled with delightful decorative ideas.
“Choose colours well - bright shades to stimulate and inspire, or calming, contemplative ones to allow your inner creativity to peacefully emerge. This is your place and you can tailor it so it fulfils your desires.”
Follow her guide to creating a space of your own...
“One of the greatest luxuries is to have a dedicated room or space where you can be creative,” says Clifton-Mogg. “Whether it’s jewellery-making, potting, painting or drawing, sewing or knitting, for pleasure or for business, there’s nothing like having a place with your tools, work and inspiration around you.
Top tip: Quirky storage is more decorative - traditional glass preserving jars with lids are ideal for storing everything from cotton reels to buttons. Pinboards and padded boards criss-crossed with contrasting ribbon look pretty and are ideal for displaying inspirational bits and pieces.
“More and more of us are able to work from home, and as a result our work space can be tailored perfectly to suit our needs,” says Clifton-Mogg. “You’re free to stray from the neutral colour schemes and utility furniture beloved by office managers and can be as imaginative as you want.”
But, she advises, the secret of a good office at home is to combine comfort, multi-purpose furniture and stylish storage with carefully-chosen decorative pieces so that no one element looks out of place with anything else in the room.
Top tip: Ensure your work surface and chair are the right height to support you. An ideal desk height is 65-70cm (26-28 inches) from the floor, more if you’re taller. Look for a swivelling, adjustable chair with lumbar support.
“We all like the idea of a retreat, and the very word ‘study’ still conjures up the idea of a small, warm room decorated with its owner’s most favourite possessions,” says Clifton-Mogg. “This is a place where you can be alone, and where you should be able to write, work, read or simply sit.
Top tip: If you choose built-in shelves, make sure you measure books, CDs, or magazines to ensure they fit before installation.
“Space is at a premium in modern homes, and it may not be possible to set aside one room as a personal work or hobby space,” acknowledges Clifton-Mogg.
“But with a little imagination, it’s usually possible to find a corner that may have been overlooked. It might be one end of a room screened off by a curtain, space on a landing, a converted cupboard under the stairs, or a deep cupboard.
Top tip: There’s no need to buy new furniture if you’re on a tight budget. Source pieces from second-hand furniture shops, auctions.