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  • Work Patterns - De-clutter your home office space

    Written by Lise Lalonde | Photography by Rick Mondor

    De-clutter your home office space

    The secret to a beautiful home office lies in controlling two things: paper and wires. “The reason why offices can look overwhelmingly busy is because all this stuff is in different formats, of different heights and often in different colours,” says interior designer Katrina Walker. “The key is to try to house things in a uniform way.”

    Surprisingly, Walker says that paper is less difficult to manage than wires, which drag all kinds of equipment behind them. But the fix for both aggravations is similar: satisfy the mind’s instinct to group things or detect patterns. “You can do that with colour, by keeping things in uniform sizes, and by repeating things,” she says, explaining how she did just that in this home office.

    Paint Colours - Benjamin Moore Peanut Shell 2162-40 and Brulée R 9929
    Gadget-savvy Desk
    Office Chair
    Extra Chair with Ottoman
    Colour Block to Streamline Clutter
    Colour Block to Streamline Clutter

    Q: Which colours work best in a home office?
    A: Pretty active colours, the opposite of the serene and soothing ones in a bedroom. Here you want energy from your surroundings. I tend to think of the warmer, and more intense colours. Intensity is more important than the actual hue. This colour scheme is an analogous one, because it uses colours that are adjacent to one another on the colour wheel — reds, orange, yellow. That’s a foolproof way of doing it.

    Q: What new furniture features are making life easier in home offices?
    A: Desks are more well-thought out. This one has cord management built right into it, so you can store your cords that you’re not using 100 per cent of the time in a little flip-up at the back. There’s a power bar/surge protector and connections to plug in your phone. And then the whole desk just plugs in (to a power outlet). It also has a little drawer where you can charge your camera and iPod, and that has a little window so you can see what’s going on. The credenza has a power bar, too, inside a box where you can store cables.

    Q: What else makes the credenza a good décor choice?
    A: I really like the hardware; its linear effect is really strong. A graphic pattern, because there’s regularity to it, is good in a space that has a lot going on visually. You can see that in the curtains as well, they have a sort of bar-code stripe, and in the ottoman. It repeats colours and shape, but also the lines.

    Q: Why do the chair and two ottomans enhance the décor?
    A: The chair is open, not too huge for the space and it’s got a simple graphic shape. If I want a change of venue to refresh my thinking I can take my laptop and put my feet up in a different position. The (other) ottoman is a bit of a departure in a home office, but I like having a softer piece. If everything is hard in a space, it can be uncomfortable. Also, sometimes if you’re working, you just need to lay something else out. So you can drag it over and have that extra reference sitting next to you. And if you need to reference something on your shelves, you can use it as a step-stool.

    Q: How do you keep office equipment and gadgets from creating clutter?
    A: Storage boxes. These can be good to store things like the cable that connects to your camera, or your battery chargers. Because we selected boxes that are the same colour as the magazine files, they became part of the overall look. Also, you definitely need to use your vertical storage, to use the full wall. We used several bookcases. That created repetition again, but we didn’t jam everything in on one shelf. We separated things. And we colour-blocked the books (grouping books by colour).

    Q: What type of paper filing accessories work best?
    A: Purchase mundane office supplies in just one colour. I always buy black binders and then take the time to label them nicely. It creates that repetition and helps it look tidy. It’s not a jumble.

    Q: What other ideas might people not think of when decorating a home office?
    A: If people have a home office that they’re only in once in a while, to pay a few bills, or if they’re in a condo or small space where they might have an extra dining chair, that’s a great place to use it. It’s a pretty chair and there’s really no need to have an extra office chair. That helps your whole home feel like it has harmony.

    Katrina Walker owns Elemental Interior Design in Edmonton, Alberta. Sean Thompson, an associate designer with the firm assisted on the set-up. Elemental Interior Design works on commercial, residential and retail spaces

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