Quite often, the study room or home office ends up with a fair bit of clutter – things that you don’t want to see in the other parts of the home, find a way into this room! We all have spare cables, keys, outdated gadgets, stashed away in our workspace at home.
This is despite the fact that, time spent by professionals and students in the study room is potentially the most productive hours of the day. Home-makers may use the study as a sort of refuge, an escape from dreary routines throughout the day. A disorganized, cluttered space is distracting and even disturbing!
The study or home office is perhaps the most customisable space at home. It can be designed to suit a variety of personalised needs and work habits. It is therefore important to establish some basic usage patterns – Who will occupy this space most? How many hours a day will you use it for? What kinds of equipment, gadgetry and peripherals will you need to set up in this space? Answers to some of these questions will help you make a decision on the type and size of furniture for your study room.
Here are some scenarios to consider:
Say, your study will be used by young children. The factors to work in would be heights (of both table and chair), colour and cabinetry assigned to school books, stationery, bags and perhaps an activity table for school projects. And for all furniture and cabinetry, there are several options to choose from, depending on the age of the child (or children) and how organised and meticulous one wants to be.
For professionals who have the option to WFH (Work from Home), the study should ideally provide them a parallel to their workplace desk environments, with enough flexibility to move things around and suit future needs. While the set up must accommodate all the hardware, peripherals, wiring and power requirements, there is the option to personalise this space – to get away from the drabness of typical office furniture. Look for warm wood tones, fabrics, artefacts and artwork for healthy distraction.
The study room can also be used as the library – to either showcase a large collection of books, travel souvenirs, photo albums, and even security lockers! For musicians and movie enthusiasts, the room can be equipped with audio equipment, wireless devices, and automation.
Essentials for a Study room or nook:
Working from a couch or a dining table will, invariably, end up being counterproductive. A designated area or nook helps to set aside household distractions and focus on work. Here are a few must haves for the study room or corner:
- A desk
- A chair or two
- Wall shelves
Of these, the first three- desk, chairs and lighting can determine the time one can spend comfortably in the study room and are worth investing in.
We detail the technical considerations and options available for desks and chairs in the upcoming section.
Ergonomics: The word ergonomics stems from the words ergon meaning work, and nomoi meaning natural laws. Ergonomics therefore, gives guidelines for designing equipment, devices and processes that fit the human body, taking into consideration a person’s age, height, weight or sight *
Study table: For anyone between the height of 5.3” – 5.8” the ideal height of the table should be between 29”-30”. The way to actually measure the ideal height of a work table is for the user to sit on a chair with feet flat on the ground, relax shoulders and bend elbows at 90 degrees such that the arm is parallel to the ground. Measure the distance from the arm down the ground, this should be height of the table.
Arm Chair/Study chair: While sitting on a chair, one’s feet should be planted firmly on the floor or a stable surface, with the knees at 90 degrees to the ground. It is important that the legs don’t dangle in the air (especially true for children)
Study desk options:
A study desk with drawers:
For a small nook, a simple, clean design that doesn’t take much space works best. A set of drawers for stationery and documents would be good to have. Works perfectly when placed along a wall.
A sit/stand desk:
A sit/stand desk is a great option for people who have home offices or even architects and designers who spend a lot of time drawing. The user can operate the desk, while standing up or sitting down. These desks are believed to improve the productivity of the user.
This desk was commonly seen two or three generations ago. But today, this is not convenient to use, given that most people need to operate desktops and other devices. However, it is a beautiful piece to own and gives the place a touch of antiquity. It can be used in a suitably large office space and can be used to store stationery and other office supplies.
Custom study table:
Due to space and other considerations, one may require to custom build a study unit. Shelving requirements may be specific and therefore, wall units have to be planned. With a reference image, it should be relatively easy to get the local carpenter to take measurements and build a unit.
There are several seating options available these days. If one can afford it, investing in one or two different types of chairs is a good idea.
These chairs are worth investing in if you work from home. Long hours of sitting can cause irreparable damage to your back. These chairs offer increased lumbar support and ensure better postures.
These chairs are especially useful for people with chronic back pain. They remove the stress from the lower and upper back region, by distributing the weight between the buttock and the shin. They also lock one into an upright position, thereby ensuring a good posture.
These are meant for physically smaller people and are a subset of the regular office chairs. The sitting heights of such chairs are usually much lesser and the material these chairs are made of is also lighter.
This is a part of the house that should have adequate levels of daylight and ventilation. However, if this space is short on both, it is important to include a combination of ambient and task lighting. This would mean using bright LED ceiling lights, study lamps, cove lighting( if there’s a false ceiling) and /or perhaps feature lighting to highlight art or even a wall.
Apart from the essentials that go into the study, it is important to keep in mind
- Accessories – These could include wall clocks, photo frames, mugs, souvenirs and other personal effects
- Additional seating – Poufs and other low seating, footstools and sofa beds
- Wall color – Light colors for the wall will help keep the room airy and bright
If you work from home regularly, it would be beneficial to have a space that allows a free flow of energy. Sufficient sunlight, colors that rejuvenate and comfortable furniture to work on – All of these will motivate you to give your best. Even, if you don’t work from home, you should still be comfortable with the idea of spending hours in this space, doing the things you enjoy the most. And that, should be the inspiration for the design of the study room.