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Creating a home office area

Employment experts say that the future will see many more people working from home, while computer boffins reckon PCs will become as common as TV sets. It seems inevitable then, at some point soon, a part of our homes will be given over to a study area replete with a PC for either family or business use.

As ever, planning and preparation are essential, and the first decision must be which room the work area will be located.

Space is generally at a premium in most homes and there are a number of companies who have concentrated their business on building work-stations or studies in nooks and crannies around the home, including under the stairs.

But if you don’t want to splash out on having a company come in and do the work, there is plenty you can do to create your own office area.

During the planning stage make sure there is a divide between the work and relaxation areas, especially if you plan to work from home. Creating separate environments is essential.

Perhaps divide the room using fashionable folding screens or position furniture so that the work area is given its own territory.

Make sure you have plenty of storage space and make it attractive. There’s nothing worse than papers strewn all over a room used for another purpose or dull, grey filing cabinets spoiling a room’s ambience.

Tall shelves or cupboard units are a good idea because they don’t take up much floor space and can be placed in an alcove in or in the corner of a room.

Some people opt for a bureau that may also be able to house the computer equipment as well.

If not, then the choice of desk is essential. Most computer desks are fairly functional affairs and not particularly visually appealing, so a good quality writing desk might be worth the extra outlay.

Alternatively an old, small dining table could be put to good use and painted to fit in with the colour scheme of the room.

To avoid uneven wear, put a rug under the desk where feet rub or get something to rest feet on.

Try to avoid positioning the desk so that you are sitting with your back to a window which gets a lot of light - it will make it difficult to see what is on the screen and could strain your eyes.

This brings us neatly on to lighting. A good range of lighting is essential so wall-mounted lights as well as a quality desk light are worth investigating. Again, the desk light can be of a design that fits in with the rest of the room.

The desk chair is also vitally important, especially if different members of the family are going to be using the computer.

A chair that is height-adjustable may be the solution if younger members of the family as well as the adults need to use the work area.

Remember that computers, printers and all the other paraphernalia of modern technology mean you have cables cropping up everywhere. Cheap cable tidies, which enclose the cables in a plastic sleeve are a simple, but effective way of keeping things neat and tidy.

Finally, as well as making sure you get the ground work right, planning for the future is essential. Make sure you have enough desk space and storage space for any growth in the future.

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