January 20


Aesthetics or Funtionality?

LJ Hannah

Originally published on my LinkedIn page 11/9/20

We’ve all had to readjust the way we work this year. Some of it has been reasonably pleasant for many, but for a few people, it’s been a challenging time transitioning from office life to working at home; whether on a part-time or full-time basis. Internet searches on Houzz, Etsy, various social media sites and a multitude of retail sites espouse the beauty in setting up a home office. Yet, what is more important? The aesthetics of the space or its functionality?

Makeshift spaces that serve multiple purposes in the home suffice in the short-term.

In August, Forbes announced approximately 70% of CEOs plan to downsize their office space. Let that sink it – 70%! Certainly, multi-use areas serve their purpose in the short-term, yet how productive can we be in a shared-space with distractions and a limited area from which to work?

If we are lucky, we have a space somewhere in our home where we can set up a home office. Yet, are we doing a disservice to ourselves in going this route? Does that $600 purchase at the big box store truly allow us to maximize the space available while providing enough work area for our needs? Will we tire of it after a few short weeks?

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How motivated will we be as we stare at the same wall day in and day out? After a few hours of work, will it be easy to stretch our legs while at our desk?

For example, the office in the photo above is stark yet functional. But is it right for its user? Many would be grateful to have a dedicated space allocated in what appears to be a separate room as a wall is clearly shown to the left and right of the desk. And the workspace is centered in the room – a rarity in many instances as homeowners do not think of this aspect until the unit is set in its place. These are the type of criteria professionals will consider when designing a space for a client.

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Conversely, in this photo a simple L-shape arrangement conserves space. Sparse, yet attractive enough. The user has the option to face the wall to use their laptop or utilize the other section of the desk to work. Sufficient for most, yet is there really enough space to work on a surface that is probably 16-18″ deep? Again, the answer lies in what the intended use is for the space. More than likely, if this is used on a part-time basis, the answer is yes – there is enough space. I would hazard a guess that for many who spend their entire workday at a desk such as this one pictured, there would be insufficient space on the surface for someone to work on their computer, juggle files and allow space for that obligatory cup of coffee!

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What I would give for a dedicated space such as this – and the view – sheer luxury (though my personal preference is an ocean view!). Is this photo staged for a realty listing? Or is this a space that is used by the owner of the property? Full-time use or partial use during specific times of the day? So many questions! Minimalism has its benefits and this is a wonderful example. Though I wonder; is it functional?

There are a myriad of considerations needing decisions when embarking on what many will think as a simple project. I hope this sheds some light on the process for you. It is by no means meant to be inclusive but a guideline by which you should start to think about when working on a space, in this case, a space with a specific use!

Photo Credits (in order of appearance): Pixaby; Erika Wittlieb; Luis Ricardo Rivera and Arek Socha.

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