When rumours of an impending lockdown were circulating back in March, office workers everywhere were hauling technical equipment home. As restrictions ease, it seems that the option to work from home will be part of our lives for the foreseeable future. Spending time curating your perfect home office is well worth it, for the sake of comfort and style.
Home office through history
Office life has been ingrained into modern society for decades and is a part of our culture. However, prior to the industrial revolution it was the norm to work from home. Humanity has always had some version of this concept, from medieval merchants operating from home, to women in post-World War II Britain who began the industry of in-home sales.
Indeed, working life was redefined by the success of Brownie Wise’s Patio Parties in the 1940s and 50s. Working in sales for Stanley Home, Brownie saw an opportunity for selling Tupperware by bringing women together in a social capacity.
There is a plethora of antique furnishings dedicated to working, reading and writing. Despite modern technology, the office doesn’t have to strike a jarring contrast with the rest of your home. The highly efficient laptop you work from may not resonate with the 18th or 19th Century study, but your desk and décor certainly can.
Oasis of peace
When the country was instructed to work from home if possible, there were some happy novelties- namely endless cups of tea and waking up ten minutes before your first meeting of the day. But then Zoom calls became exhausting, interrupted by children or pets, and the home WiFi cracked under the pressure. The line between working life and free time became increasingly blurred.
Love it or loathe it, working from home for lots of professions is going to remain prominent. Creating the perfect home office space is vital for the most productive and aesthetic work environment. A study ought to provide an oasis of calm amidst the chaos. Technical equipment is the interior designer’s worst nightmare and the key to reconciling cables and screens with attractive furnishings is storage and clever use of space.
A handsome secretaire can ease all your work-from-home woes. Introduced in the late 18th Century, these enclosed cabinets became a staple for middle-class homes. The secretaire, which translates literally as ‘writing desk,’ keeps your unruly paperwork, many notes-to-self and quirky possessions safe and out of sight. Archival boxes serve a similar purpose and will keep your desk clutter-free.
Just as important as an attractive, practical desk is the accompanying seat. Long days sat at the computer cry out for a good chair. A finely crafted antique chair will give you the support you need to get through a lengthy meeting or project at your desk. In addition to a desk chair, a good library chair is perfect for the coffee break or a morning meeting.
We have been given unprecedented insight into each other’s homes during this period, seeing our colleagues in a more personal light. On a video call, it seems as though people compete for the most extravagant house plant, the most diverse and
thoroughly stocked bookshelves or the finest painting in their background.
Excess decoration is often a distraction in an office environment. However, some décor is necessary and a good clock is a must for counting down the minutes until your next tea break. The odd attractive painting, sculpture or vase is worth including to provide something pleasing to the eye when you’re on your eighth Zoom call of the day. In the midst of a long working day, a few memoirs from travels and adventures can help to keep you motivated for your next trip.
The home office should have several sources of light; a desk light is vital and a floor lamp a pleasant decorative addition. A Maison Jansen palm standard light in the corner of the room will out-shine even the most over the top house plants.
Take a break
Necessities aside, why not put a daybed in for when the constant stream of video
conferencing gets overwhelming? Lorfords even offer a bed for your (very small) dog or cat, so that they don't miss out.
Consider investing in a drinks trolley to keep nearby, Mad Men style, so that your 5pm drink comes that bit faster. Alternatively, stay true to the sober Victorian beginnings of the bar cart and use it to keep a constant stream of tea going.
Visit our new lookbook, ‘Curate the perfect antique home office’ to browse the pieces featured.