At a time when many of us are working from home, the place where we set up to work each day has never been more important. Blending the space where we live and relax with our occupation can be a delicate balancing act, especially if you share your home with family or housemates. Whether this is a dedicated room, a nook, part of a thoroughfare or more of a roving scenario, having an effective and pleasant work space is helpful to be happy and productive.
The Dharma Door has operated as a home-based business since 2004 and after much trial and error, we have refined our own approach to working from a home base and revel in the benefits that come with it. Elements like fresh air, natural light, flexible use of time and a more relaxed approach are always appreciated. And while there are potential pitfalls to working this way, it is our experience that most of these can be successfully managed with available technologies, time management and some healthy habits. There are also plenty of practical and decorative touches you can apply to feel calm and organised while working from home. Read on for our top storage and styling tips for rejuvenating your work space including ideas for creating meaning and rituals.
Tidy space, tidy mind? Easier said than done! While most of us are long-adept at operating in a paperless environment, it is still very easy to accumulate clutter. However a clean, clear workspace provides valuable headspace and in turn, better workflow. Although the type of work we do will present different needs with regard to storage and the types of objects we need close at hand, these items can usually be sorted into books, paperwork, technology, miscellaneous items and a few sentimental or decorative touches.
We suggest grouping these items accordingly, then sorting through them to identify which ones help you to do your job well or make you feel good while you are working. From there, your storage needs should become visually apparent. We use the Small Jute Basket - Tray and the Sona Rectangular Basket - Large to store a daily notebook, small electronic device and any paperwork that needs tending to, clearing these items away regularly to keep things in order. The Small Jute Basket - Natural and Sona Square Basket fit well on shelving and are great for storing journals, resource material or items we like to keep close at hand but not on display.
If your children share your workspace for study after school, baskets are a great way to access and tidy away homework and any special projects being worked on, whilst still keeping their work in easy reach. Similarly, these quality, handmade baskets can later double for craft projects - possibly used in other rooms around the house as your needs change and evolve.
For tools, pens and pencils, the Small Square Jute Basket - Short works wonders on its own, or in groupings of two of three. For those who like to keep things really simple style-wise, these baskets are a great way to organise your workspace and add a subtle, textural touch. We also love how our Buna Baskets with lids can be used to hold cords, chargers and small electrical devices. Placed on a bookshelf, you can keep them accessible yet hidden in the beautiful texture of woven palm fibre.
If you need to leave the home office to head to your workplace or for a meeting, you’ll want to have a convenient way to pack-up your devices and paperwork to take with you. The Jute Canvas Pouches and Laptop Bags are ideal for this purpose. They are also a great idea for a quick tidy-up of your space at the end of the day, especially if you are working in an area of the home that is used by the rest of your household. The physical act of packing your things away at the end of the day also helps to delineate work life from home life, helping you transition to the next part of the day with ease.
‘I live by my old-school handwritten lists and have several on the go with reminders of what I need to do or design ideas. I keep an A4 pad in one of our small canvas laptop bags with my iPad so I can always carry it with me to make notes and sketches as things pop into my mind. I also find the extra pockets for my phone, glasses and purse so handy! It makes it easy for me carry everything in one bag as I walk between our home and our office on our property and I can always find what I need at a moments notice’ ~ Shannon, Founder The Dharma Door.
We all understand the restorative power of nature. Connecting with nature is a powerful way to fortify yourself during periods of stress, enhancing resilience, mood and mental well being. In addition to stepping outside each day, we recommend inviting nature in. When it comes to our home office or workspace, this can be done by pairing a potted plant or two with a handwoven jute basket. Arranging some of your favourite foraged finds - shells, stones, dried foliage and driftwood found on weekends or holidays - on a woven tray or shallow basket is another way to enhance the feel-good factor.
If you are using a potted plant, try it in the space and if it thrives, it is a sure sign it’s happy. If it doesn’t, rotate it regularly with other plants, or even place a vase of foliage in a basket and refresh the water as needed. The Woven Pot Duo and Large Woven Pot were designed with just this purpose in mind. Use a Laundry Basket for taller plants like palms, rubber plants and fiddle leaf figs. Move them around to keep your space feeling fresh and vibrant - a great way to stay on top of things and maintain the flow of creativity and energy!
One of the best things about working from home is the ability to create a relaxed, nurturing environment that is true to your own personality and style. Where office environments can sometimes be sterile and quite devoid of these elements, your home office can be comfortable and ultimately fuel your creativity and motivation.
A few well-chosen sentimental items can evoke positive feelings while you work. Choosing some meaningful photos, artwork, books or handmade objects that spark happy memories can also make you feel more inspired while you work and give you a visual moment of pleasure when you take a screen break. We suggest rotating these items every so often to keep things fresh and reflect personal growth or different stages in your life. You might also like to add some incense or a candle and perhaps something that has spiritual meaning for you whether that might be crystals or a religious artefact.
Something as simple as using a favourite pencil or mug and a handwoven coaster while you work can make you feel good and give you something to look forward to each day. And remember the incredible impact of music - we always choose chill beats for our office soundtrack. These elements all play an important role in signifying the start of a new work day, creating a sense of place and daily ritual.
Round baskets or trays with low sides such as the Trio of Round Baskets - Natural and Pata Trays are ideal for arranging and displaying objects. Handmade by Fair Trade artisans and with a heartwarming story of women’s empowerment woven through them, these items feel good to have around, as well as offering useful options for storage and display.
If your work space is on display from the rest of your home, you will want it to be aesthetically appealing and tie in with your overall interior style. Computers, desks, cords and furniture can also be quite ‘hard’, so adding natural tones and textures will help to keep things relaxed and grounded and ultimately keep you feeling good.
Items used to decorate your walls and floors can have a huge impact on how you feel. Woven natural fibres add a layer of texture providing a grounding element to hard and cool surfaces, especially in larger spaces. Because our wall hangings and rugs are crafted from natural fibres, they also help to absorb sound - something that works particularly well in spaces with timber floors, tiles or concrete. Due to its large scale, the Jumbo Tassel Wall Hanging has been used to great advantage for this purpose. If you have a smaller space, narrow wall or nook, try the Small Mandala Wall Hanging, Tassel Wall Hanging or Puspa Small Wall Hanging.
Choosing a circular rug will soften and add a different dimension to a room, especially if there is an abundance of square corners and straight edges. For a larger dedicated office, try the Shahi Round Jute Rug - Large and for a smaller space the Shahi Round Jute Rug - Smallwill work well. The natural blonde jute colour will suit most decor styles and they are sure to bring plenty of natural warmth and texture to your office space. For small spaces, thoroughfares and doorways, our Badamiand Amada Jute Mats in a warmer shade of jute are just the thing!
In a work space, task lighting is the most important consideration; however if your ceiling height allows, a handwoven pendant light will add beautiful texture and ambience. Beyond their warm and dappled glow, decorative lighting helps to create mood in a room, in much the same way that a striking artwork does. From our collection of woven pendant lighting, we recommend the Loveness Drum Pendant which can be hung closer to the ceiling and casts the most light when switched on. You might also like to consider the Kariba Cone Slatted Pendant or the Matabele Dome Pendant to add personality and a focal point in your space.
Tip: Consider the tax benefits of buying artwork for your office space! Small to medium-sized businesses qualify for the Instant Asset Write-off scheme. The Australian Taxation Office has stated that an artwork is eligible for tax deduction if it is Tangible; Purchased principally for a small to medium-sized business premise; Capable of being moved; and Not be trading stock.
Image credits: AMA Studios, Styling by Jason Grant & photography by The Quarter Acre for The Dharma Door, AMA Studios (L), Styling by Pantry Girl and photography by (R), Styling by Jason Grant & photography by The Quarter Acre for The Dharma Door, Styling & photography by Maureen Brinkhoff for The Dharma Door, Styling & photography by Maureen Brinkhoff for The Dharma Door (L), Styling by Lynda Gardener & photography by Marnie Hawson for The Dharma Door (R), Styling by Jason Grant & photography by The Quarter Acre for The Dharma Door, Styling by Jason Grant & photography by The Quarter Acre for The Dharma Door (L), AMA Studios (R), The Salty Home & photography by Muse Photography, Kyal & Kara, Photography by The Quarter Acre for The Dharma Door, Photography by The Quarter Acre for The Dharma Door (L), Magnolia Lane (R).
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