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Work it – how to create an inspiring home office

From the Resene decorating blog

With more of us working and studying from home these days, at least some of the time, we're becoming wiser about what environments help us work better.

Whether we need a place to catch up on household admin, dip into a part-time role or execute a full-time job, it isn't sufficient to open our laptop on the couch or any old place that happens to be vacant.

A soft, uplifting and warm home office

The soft, uplifting colour of Resene Cashmere evokes a sense of warmth and calm in a home office. When combined with a colour block of Resene Nocturnal, the result is playful and engaging. This home office is anything but boring in its creative design, and the dark hue anchors the work area. Upper wall painted in Resene Cashmere, lower wall (curved paint effect) in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen tinted to Resene Nocturnal over two coats of Resene FX Magnetic Magic, curved desk, shelves, pendant lamp in Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss enamel tinted to Resene Nocturnal, pencil cup and desk file in Resene Cashmere, rubbish bin in Resene Sepia, painted books in Resene Zeus and Resene Double Cod Grey, tealight holder in Resene Rebel, decorative vases and bowls in Resene Sepia, Resene Rebel, Resene Zeus, Resene Double Cod Grey, Resene Swiss Coffee and Resene Triple Rice Cake and DIY artwork in Resene Stonewashed with abstract shapes in Resene Cashmere, Resene Nocturnal, Resene Swiss Coffee and Resene Rice Cake and frame in Resene Rebel. Chair from Mood Store, rug from Freedom. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Wendy Fenwick.

What we need is an office space that inspires as well as encourages productivity and creativity.

Here are some factors to consider to create an inspiring workspace that leaves you feeling happy to work from home:

Whether your home office is an entire room on its own or a nook within an open-plan living area, define it with some fresh Resene paint. The emotional impact of colour is strong, so use it to effect, embracing the feel-good factor it can provide.

Blue, the colour of a clear sky on a sunny day and the ocean, evokes feelings of calmness and stability. Explore the cornflower blue of Resene Delta Blue, the baby blue of Resene Mystery or the green-blue of Resene Destiny. Too dark may be overwhelming and distracting for an office, however, so be mindful.

An industrial style home office

Always on-trend, industrial style is synonymous with raw aspects of a home and features being exposed. But if you don’t have any of these in your home office, yet want this style, clever use of paint can help you reveal eye-catching features. Adopt a worn look by using finishes such as Resene FX Faux Rust Effect, seen here on the plumbing pipes upcycled shelf fixtures. Or use Resene FX Paint Effects Medium for a weathered look on painted walls for an aged aesthetic. Chalkboards also tie in with the industrial look and can be achieved with Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen waterborne enamel tinted to your favourite colour. It’s seen here using Resene Cinder on the lower wall. Or try Resene FX Blackboard Paint or Resene FX Chalkboard Paint. Upper wall painted in Resene Quarter Ash with lower shelf wall in Resene Cinder, timber floor stained in Resene Colorwood Natural, locker in Resene Half Forest Green, desk lamp in Resene Fuel Yellow, timber shelf stained in Resene Colorwood Natural with metal pipe supports in Resene FX Rust Effect, bins on upper shelf in Resene Half Forest Green, painted books in Resene Mocha and Resene Fuel Yellow, plant pots in Resene Mocha (raised) and Resene Nero (with ivy), magazine holders in Resene Mocha, perforated bin in Resene Fuel Yellow, chalkboard in Resene Cinder and jar with paint brushes in Resene Cinder. Stool and clock from Nood, trestle desk from Mocka. locker from IKEA, ginger beer bottle and ‘5’ from Junk & Disorderly, jug pitcher from Flotsam and Jetsam, candles from Nocturne Goods. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

A fun and colourful home office for teens

Teens, in particular, will love studying in this fun home office. Full of personality but not overwhelming, earthy and dusky hues mix and match in geometric shapes to create a character-filled space. The walls aren’t the only décor elements; stationery and filing systems have been painted in matching hues to finish the look. It’s a reminder of how a study or workspace can be as fun as you want it to be.

Left wall painted in Resene Raptor, right wall in Resene Leather, triangles in Resene Emerge and Resene Rolling Stone, left side of floor in Resene Neutral Bay, right side of floor in Resene Castle Rock, floor circles in Resene Blast Grey 3 metallic paint and Resene Half Washed Green, table left side in Resene Alabaster and table right side in Resene Jaguar. Grey container and headphones hook from Città. Project by Greer Clayton, image by Bryce Carleton.

For a breezy, clean look, you can't go past off-whites – use Resene Spanish White or Resene Pearl Lusta; their fresh offering is anything but sterile, with a hint of warmth thanks to yellow undertones.

Or breathe nature into your office with refreshing green. This on-trend colour offers a sense of peace and relaxation and can be brought in using the soft tones of Resene Peace, grass tones of Resene Bilbao and earthy tones of Resene Flax.

Pink is known to enhance creativity, but instead of candy brights, use the pink apricot of Resene Soulful or brown-edged pink of Resene Dust Storm or the dusky tones of Resene Coral Tree.

Resene colour specialist Annette Smith says we should look towards earthy colours when bringing colour into a home office, known for their gentle yet uplifting qualities. "We also get a lot of clients looking at soft blues and soft or sage greens because they're quite calming, but if you get one with a bit of yellow tint, it might be too vibrant," she says.

Home office inspired by Japanese minimalism

This office embraces the elements of Japanese minimalism, using curved items and vertical lines of the shelf and tongue-and-groove panelling to provide visual contrast. Natural-coloured hues balance black and pale tones, creating a harmonious space. Simple yet offering plenty of warmth and character, this is a true retreat at home. Back wall painted in Resene Triple Merino, timber wall (left) stained in Resene Colorwood Pickled Bean, tongue-and-groove wall (right) in Resene Quarter Karaka, batten shelf in Resene Settlement, plywood floor stained in Resene Colorwood Uluru, desk in Resene Enamacryl gloss tinted to Resene All Black, chair in Resene Anglaise, tissue box stained in Resene Colorwood Pickled Bean, large jug vase in Resene Nero, vase painted Resene Karaka and small jug vase (top left shelf) in Resene Half Blanc. Artwork by Home Time from endemic world, chair from Urban Sales, glass from Flo and Frankie Home, tissue box from Citta, plate from Freedom. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

"It's also good if your home office is located near a window as it flows visually with the outdoors – especially perfect if you have green walls. Use soft colours, rather than red or vibrant blue, which can be too stimulating to the eye, or yellow – not bright, but soft, warm tones."

Elevate your working experience with the simplicity and clean lines of the Japandi look. Characterised by natural colours, organic shapes and plenty of texture, the effect is calming and relaxing. Bring in the soft neutral of Resene Double Sisal or Resene Parchment or the gentle green of Resene Lemon Grass with the amber tones of Resene Mai Tai.

Where you apply your colour is up to you. Coat four walls in one Resene paint colour or only three walls, leaving the fourth one a feature wall in a darker version of your surrounding hue. If you're thinking of painting a mural on a wall, consider whether you'll end up creating too much of a busy space for you to work in. For some people, a calm, clean aesthetic allows them to work best.

Split your colour on your wall horizontally, placing one hue on the bottom half and a neutral on the top half. Some pairs that resonate beautifully are blues and neutrals such as Resene Bismark with Resene Secrets, Resene Raindance with Resene White Alabaster or Resene Fast Forward with Resene Raindance. For greens, work Resene Rivergum with Resene Peace or Resene Flax with Resene Thistle. If pink is your heart's desire, partner Resene Blanched Pink with Resene Buttery White or light coral of Resene Paper Doll with Resene Quarter Peal Lusta.

A nature inspired home office - grey-toned greens

Bring the outside in with grey-toned greens that evoke the relaxing call of nature. Combining two tones of this colour keeps the setting relaxing but interesting, just what you want in an office space. This one is gently divided into two zones by a bookshelf. These zones, however, find unity in the green tones that flow into each side and splashes of green-tinted white throughout the entire room. Floor painted in Resene Walk-on tinted to Resene Mako, left side of wall in Resene Paris White with grid design in Resene Thor, middle stripe and top of dividing wall in Resene Saltpan, right-hand side of dividing wall and right-hand side of wall in Resene Thor, green box on desk in Resene Thor, display shelf in Resene Thor, small grided box in Resene Saltpan with stripes in Resene Mako, tape dispenser in Resene Mako and bookend in Resene Rice Paper. Chair from Early Settler, Portobello chair from Dawson and Co, rug from The Ivy House, artwork by Sarah Parkinson from endemicworld, polar bear from Flotsam and Jetsam, cushions from Republic Home. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

If space is at a premium, you may have an unused nook in your kitchen or open-plan living area that calls to be used. Think cleverly about dead spaces that you might walk past every day that could work as an office. Paint the back wall and shelves a colour that inspires you. Install a desk and shelving, or consider a temporary desk. Many companies have created fold-away height-adjustable modular desks and other features that make working from home more manageable.

If your living area is a large open plan area, zoning can enhance how this area works for you if you're working from home. Paint a freestanding screen in a colour that blends with your surrounding palette but makes a statement, letting it work as a divider to the rest of the room.

A spare bedroom that doesn't get used as often as you'd like can easily be transformed into a chic home office – what's more, you'll have the beautiful lighting, any storage you have in place and window furnishings all ready to be used. Or you might have a rumpus room that never gets used and is calling out for some love by way of a warm on-trend paint colour. Reinvent them with coloured walls and a new large bookshelf, an artwork to blend in with this palette and some statement lamps for personality. If it's a cold room with little natural light, a lush, coloured rug will bring the softness it needs.

Suppose you can't paint a whole study wall. In that case, Annette says the best way to bring colour in is by painting walls a neutral colour and accessorising with personalised objects that bring you joy or have a calming effect. Use coloured planter pots with your favourite flowers in them and other different décor items in keeping the theme of colour.

Remember to keep your office visually clean. The less clutter you have in your office, the easier it will be to think clearly and keep track of your items. Ultimately, you want an area that allows you to be productive and think. Mess and untidiness will only prevent this from happening. Find storage solutions that work well for your space, whether it be a filing cabinet that can be wheeled under the desk or double as a bedside table if your desk is in your bedroom. Or install a shelf on which to store pretty storage boxes or paint filing boxes in which to file paperwork above your desk.

Proper lighting is essential in a home office. With both productivity and inspiration at the front of mind, bring in both practical and ambient lighting. Revamp a vintage or even a new desk lamp with a paint colour that inspires you whenever you see it. The result should be an even balance of lighting that is comfortable to the eye. And remember how frustrating it is if you can't access power outlets easily for your devices, so allow for plenty of these in your office, keeping cables out of the way.

By considering all of these factors, including working with Resene colour combinations that inspire you, you can create a home office that feels just right for you.

Resene Soulful

Resene Mystery

Resene Raindance

Resene Peace

Resene Fast Forward

August 30, 2021

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