Increasing numbers of students are switching to online study because it’s easier and cheaper than enrolling in a campus-based course. Instead of living in dorm rooms, they can stay at home and study via a virtual interface.
Of course, there are some courses where in-person study is needed, but Baylor University’s distance ABSN program is a classic example of a course you can do from home. However, before you get stuck into your studies, you need a quiet place to set up, preferably a home office. Read on for some tips for making a home office comfortable so you can get stuck into all-nighters and long sessions in front of a monitor.
Make Sure there is Plenty of Natural Light
Natural light is important. The more exposure to natural light we have, the higher the levels of vitamin D in our bodies. This is especially important for students living in the northern hemisphere, where sunlight is weaker during the winter months.
A light, bright home office makes it easier to focus and be productive. Sitting in front of a window ensures our physical and psychological well-being is enhanced. When designing the layout of your home office, position the desk so it’s near a window, but check that you won’t have glare on your monitor screen. Ideally, have the desk facing the window or side-on, so you can look out from time to time. Switching focus between close work and distance helps minimize eye strain.
Fix Blinds to the Window
In hotter climates, being too close to a window can be uncomfortable on a warm day. The sun is hot and if you have to sit in the sun for several hours, it won’t be pleasant.
Fix a blind to the window, so you can adjust how much sun comes in. Horizontal slatted blinds are useful in this regard, but semi-transparent fabric blinds can also be useful in controlling the sunlight. In a hot climate, sun-blocking blinds are the most effective, as they also block heat.
Choose the Right Color for the Walls
Some colors are better for home offices than others. Imagine trying to study in a room with four purple walls? Or worse, orange? Yes, it would give you a major headache.
Instead of picking a bright color, go for something neutral, like pale blue, gray, or soft beige. If you can’t stand neutral colors, pick an accent wall to liven things up, and paint this a different shade. Three gray walls and a deep blue wall are classy and stylish. Stick with a color you love and working in your home office won’t feel like a chore.
Warm and Cozy Flooring
In cooler weather, it is important to have a home office that feels warm and comfortable. Even if your office has an efficient source of heating, a tiled or laminate floor may feel cold underfoot (unless you have underfloor heating).
One way to address this is to fit a carpet instead. A thick pile carpet is lovely and warm, even on a cool day. As long as you have a plastic mat under your office chair, moving around won’t damage the carpet too much. If you would rather keep your wood or laminate floor, buy a plush rug for your desk area, so your feet are always resting on a warm surface in colder weather.
A Comfortable Office Chair
Speaking of office chairs, make sure you invest in a high-quality ergonomic chair. This is one area where you don’t want to be too frugal. Low-quality office chairs are cheap for a reason. They have less padding and are not as adjustable. Since you are likely to be stuck in your chair for hours at a time, it is important to have one that feels comfortable, has lumbar support, and is height adjustable.
Shop around and try out a few for size; the larger and heavier you are, the bigger and more robust a chair you need. The problem with shopping online for an office chair is that you can’t try it out for size. Visit your local Office Depot to sample the goods before buying.
There are plenty of stylish smaller desks out there, which are perfect for a home office tucked into a nook of the living room or a bedroom, but if you are using a room as your home office, it pays to invest in a larger office desk. This ensures you have enough room for more than one monitor, so you can easily switch between documents, emails, your online learning portal, and digital resources.
If you have enough room, consider adding a second table so you can spread out documents, books, and anything else you are working on. It also gives you extra room to eat food and keep drinks so they don’t accidentally get knocked over your keyboard.
A Reading Chair
Home studying often involves a lot of reading, whether paper books or digital materials. Sitting in a standard office chair isn’t always that comfortable if all you are doing is reading, so consider investing in a comfortable armchair for long reading sessions. If you have enough space, it is even worth upgrading to a small couch, so you have extra room to stretch out. Add a small side table for books, files, and papers.
While natural light is important, artificial task lighting is equally important. You will need several types of light for a home office.
- LED spotlights are better than a single pendant light, as they offer a more uniform light source
- Invest in a desk light to illuminate your keyboard and monitor in the evening or when the light outside is poor
- A reading light for your reading area is a must-have
- Don’t forget about decorative lighting to boost the ambiance of the room
Our final tip is to add some artwork or photographs to the walls of your office. A few homely personal touches always make a room feel more comfortable.
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