As the 21st Century hurtles along, there have been significant changes in how we work.
Many of us are working from home, either part-time or full-time for an employer, or in our own business. Home offices are commonplace in the family home, and have replaced the traditional “study” or “den.” In the past, a traditional study or den was decorated in a masculine manner, with deep heritage colours such as greens, navy blues and plums. Of course, this is still acceptable in certain homes, but the rules are more relaxed and the choices more varied.
Home offices should really be dedicated areas that provide a suitable environment for creativity and thought. There must be few distractions if possible, so a quiet part of the house is preferable. The space itself can be any size, as long as the occupant can easily complete tasks without feeling cramped. Furniture must be proportionate to the size of the room and offer comfort seating and plenty of storage.
But many do not give any consideration to the window coverings in home offices, and quite often the products chosen are bland and indicative of a lack of thought in this area.
One of the major considerations is privacy. When your home office contains lots of expensive equipment, you probably wouldn’t want everyone seeing what you have - that's potential for theft right there. Also, when you are working, you wouldn’t appreciate the feeling of being watched (which is more common than you might suspect!) Therefore, a window covering is imperative.
A second consideration is light control. With sensitive computer screens, harsh glare has an immediate impact on how we can see the screen. Some android phones appear almost blank in a very sunny spot. Light may need to be filtered or blocked, depending on the aspect of the room so there is no detriment to the appearance of your device screen. Sunscreen (perforated) roller blinds or sheer curtains can be effective in this instance, as they gently filter light without darkening the room or creating an enclosed feeling. They also provide daytime privacy.
If you require complete blockout from light, plus the added benefit or insulation and sound control, then consider blockout lined curtains or a blockout lined roman blind. Roman blinds are very practical, as they are simple, tailored and do not take up much space. Romans are great on any size window and teamed with a sunscreen blind or a sheer curtain, will solve almost every dilemma from light control and privacy through to insulation.
It is important to avoid creating an oppressive or heavy scheme that will make the room appear claustrophobic. Most studies are already bursting at the seams with furniture and other items to be stored, and you really don’t want your window coverings to turn the room into a cave. Colours still need to be a bit more “meaty,” as all white schemes will be too stark and reflective coupled with device screens.
If your home office window is relatively small, why not consider a funky pattern just to lift the decor? Generally speaking, home offices don’t have much going for them in terms of decorative elements, so an interesting fabric could be the only focal point. If you are in a creative industry, you might consider bold colours. However, if your job is more “right-brain,” then muted pastels and soft neutrals are probably better for your blood pressure.
Colour psychology rules indicate that shades of yellow, such as lemons and clotted creams (not bright golds or sunshine yellows) stimulate thought and the intellect. If the study is for the kids, particularly a high school or university student, this colour theory should be considered. You don’t want a colour that is too relaxing and therefore makes them procrastinate, or even worse, fall asleep between projects!
If your study area is in your bedroom, then you have a conflict. Window treatments for this scenario often leads to poor choices as the purpose of the room is too diverse and therefore one has to decide between bedroom options versus study options.
Have a good look at your study. Is it conducive to productive work or procrastination? Is your expensive equipment hidden from outside view? Can you see your computer screen without wearing sunglasses? Maybe it’s time to consider the colours and window treatments.