Home: Working 9 to 5

Time was, we kept a distinct separation between our work lives and our home lives; it wasn't good for our wellbeing and we strove - in our droves - for the perfect work/life balance. Today, things are a little different; a bit more Californian, if you will. More and more of us are moving away from the traditional 9-5 stint at the office - we're freelance or we're studying at night. We work a bit here, we pick up the kids, and we work a bit more there and, even if we are office-bound for most of the day, we might still have to catch up on things at home.It's not that we've thrown the idea of a work/life balance out the window as such, but rather, we're embracing the more practical idea of work/life blending.With this new culture emerging - and as the new college term kicks off - the idea of the home office is gaining ground, be it a room all on its own or a designated corner within your living space. What's more, because it's your home, you can decorate it however way you like.So how will you decorate yours Here's where to start, with minimal effort required.Thankfully, long gone are the days where we were stuck with the same ugly MDF desks you'd find in a large office. There are so many stylish offerings on the homewares high street, and even if you're working within the confines of a box room/come laundry room/come make-up station (which this writer is), you'll find something that suits your size. All you need is space for your computer or laptop, keyboard, mouse, desk lamp and a cup of coffee. Minimal is best.There's a reason Apple is so successful, other than the inner mechanics of their innovations, and it's because we like things that look pretty. If your budget can stretch to it, get a laptop or a desktop that you like the look of. Sure, it's what's on the inside that matters, but if you keep aesthetics a top priority with your home office, you'll gravitate towards it.A pile of papers, books and notes will do nothing for your sense of zen when it comes to working or studying at home. Invest in smart storage that can live under or to the side of your desk, where things can be filed away until they're required. Again, these needn't be hideous grey filing cabinets; there's options a plenty. Ikea is your friend here.Back in our school days, nothing got us geared up for another term quite like new stationery. Make your to do lists and schedules and note making that bit easier with aesthetically pleasing organisation materials. Ditch the half empty biro and invest in a pen - try The Pen Corner on Dublin's College Green. Get a journal with ample space for each day's agenda. Get a throw or a cushion for your chair or sofa, making it even more homely. And as for something that's always of benefit to a home office Get green. Natural greenery will add colour and contribute towards a positive sense of wellbeing.When you've got your furniture and tech essentials covered - it's time to get creative with decor. Here, we must strike the balance between decor that is creative, reflective of our personalities and inspiring, and that which will only distract us. It all depends on the kind of worker that you are.A popular home office trend is to get some picture ledges from IKEA and create a gallery wall above your work station. This could be a print that encourages you to get stuck in, or something that reminds you to take a breath every now and then. If your space allows it, consider an armchair or ottoman. Choose the statement armchair you've been dreaming of. Have you got room for a floor lamp Creating an atmosphere with warm lights will further add to the enjoyment of the room.Irish Independent

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