Must Have Features In An Office

Working from home is still new to a lot of people. And many homeowners have had to get creative when establishing a home office. That often means converting a small space — a spare bedroom, a window nook, a former closet — into a dedicated work area. With the right design approach, compact spaces can work hard and look great.

Here are somethings to keep in mind, when creating a small but stylish and functional home office.

Floating Desk

There are many upsides to working from home. But it’s important to carve out space that separates the job from personal life. That will help you get focused on the work at the start of the day and allow you to step away at the end.

When it comes to rooms with less square footage, maximizing floor space is at the top of the priority list.

Wall-mounted anything frees up a huge amount of physical and visual space, so consider a wall-mounted desk, as well as wall-mounted lighting. This is especially helpful in a super narrow room where a traditional desk might not fit comfortably.

The overall look of a workspace should be clean and fuss-free. This limits distractions so you can focus. The floating look certainly fits the bill when it comes to creating a sleek aesthetic.

The ability to customize the height of a floating work surface is also one of the strong points of going this route. If you prefer your work surface to be taller or lower than standard, 30 inches, depending on your height or level you like to work at, then going this direction makes sense. It also allows you to make adequate room for your chair, file cabinets or printing equipment.

Another bonus is that cleaning below a floating surface is easier than going under and around a standalone piece.

But there are a couple of downsides to consider. A floating desk is difficult to relocate if you want to change its location or if you move homes. You can’t exactly pick it up or scoot it to another area. Plus, a floating desk is usually smaller than a traditional desk, especially in depth. They work great for a laptop or other compact tasks. If your work requires you to spread out a bit, then you might want to consider another option.

Great Artwork

Research has shown that engaging in cultural activities, including viewing artwork, correlates with better health, more satisfaction with one’s life and lower rates of anxiety and depression.

That’s why filling your home with art pieces that you feel a deep connection with is especially important in a home office.

The reality is, work can sometimes make us stressed and anxious, and if we can take even a few moments out of our day to pause and engage with something that brings us joy, we should do it.

Of course, viewing nature has a strong effect as well. So if you have a great view from your home office, focus on that and use art as a secondary focal point, such as behind your chair or on an opposite wall.

If your desk faces a blank wall, art becomes even more important. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing art, except maybe to listen to your heart. Try not to let someone else tell you what to like. 

And despite what you may have been told, art doesn’t have to match the style of your office. This is one area where you can always get a bit eclectic.

Wall-Mounted Lighting

Good interior lighting plans are all about combining the right lighting in the right places. When we’re limited on floor space, we can naturally look to ceilings and walls for opportunities to shine light down.

Wall sconces can be used to create excellent task lighting in an office setting. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to add some visual adornment that ups the style in the room. You can hardwire sconces — usually with the help of an electrician — behind a wall to eliminate seeing the cord, helping with a sleek aesthetic. Or you can easily install plug-in sconces yourself.

There are also stylish clip-on options, that give you the same look and feel without the need for drilling.

To get the most out of your wall lights, placement is key. A good starting guideline is to hang them at approximately eye level, about 5½ to 6 feet, although the height of your ceilings and the size of the fixture will come into play.

A critical point to remember is that whatever height you hang your wall light, you shouldn’t come eye to eye with an exposed bulb, unless the bulb is decorative and meant to be viewed directly. 

Investment Pieces

Your workplace greatly affects your psychological and physical health, so it’s important to make sure your space reinforces that. Therefore, the furniture pieces should be the highest possible quality within your budget. This is not an area where you want to skimp.

Invest in a good chair, choose a soothing color palette and don’t forget to add some style with art and accessories. When you feel good in your environment and know that you’ve invested in it, your motivation and productivity will benefit.


Sustainable Choices For Outdoor Furniture

If you’ve been trying to do your bit for the environment inside your home, such as choosing nontoxic paints, ethical homewares and eco-friendly cleaning products, you’ll be pleased to know that you can extend this good deed into your exterior space too. By opting for outdoor furniture that’s produced responsibly, sustainably and without the use of harmful chemicals. Here are some ways you can make even more sustainable choices.

Go Non-Toxic

Off-gassing: It’s when new furniture, made from non-eco-friendly materials, releases harmful chemicals into the air we breathe. So when it comes to choosing new outdoor furniture, particularly tables you and your family will be eating from, it’s wise to source environmentally friendly materials that don’t release these chemicals.

Interbuild has developed an innovative VOC-free Hardwax Oil, which can be uses on any wood product. Certified Climate and Carbon Neutral by South Pole, a company involved in climate protection, Hardwax Oil is free of all harmful solvents. It’s also certified for contact with food and doesn’t use peanut oil in the manufacturing, ensuring that anyone with the allergy is protected.

Protect for Longevity

Outdoor furniture can weather quickly, especially if left uncovered and exposed to the elements. However, by opting for furniture that has been protected with an environmentally friendly oil, you’ll be lengthening the life span of the products and reducing waste in the long term.

You’ll also reduce waste when using an oil that, when applied to the surface of the furniture, stays in and on top of the product, with no evaporation of solvents.

Bonus Tip: . It’s worth investing in durable covers for your furniture to reduce the need for sanding and reoiling.

Opt for Quality

Be on the lookout for solid, durable outdoor furniture that’s made well. However, if you want to ensure that the product is sustainable, you should also consider the materials it’s made from.

Keep an eye out for companies with an ethical focus, that use FSC-certified wood such as FSC acacia. Companies like these are committed to the preservation of our forests for generations to come and therefore use only wood harvested in a responsible and sustainable way, while also being committed to producing high-quality furniture.

Bonus Tip: The benefits of FSC-certified acacia wood are twofold. Not only is it sustainably produced, but acacia’s natural oil helps protect against the elements, which helps preserve the products from the inside out.

Choose a Timeless Design

Choose timeless furniture you won’t tire of and therefore won’t be sending to the landfill.

The key is to pick classic and versatile designs that will adapt to your needs. 

Bonus Tip: It’s not just outdoor furniture that can be super functional and last for years. Versatile interlocking deck tiles, also protected with Hardwax Oil, can be reused in different areas as your lifestyle changes. Genius!


Colour Countertops In The Kitchen

These days there are countless materials available for kitchen countertops. 

Instead of giving you the pros and cons of each material, lets break down six popular color styles so you can achieve the look you want with the material that suits your needs.

Flecked or Softly Veined White

One of the most common and coveted countertop finishes is a stone or manufactured slab material, such as quartz, in a white or off-white shade with a light multitonal fleck or grain to give it subtle natural richness.

This snowy, sparkling look works well in many situations since it is very neutral but also contemporary and fresh. The pale tone brings a sense of cleanness and lightness to the space with subtle sophistication.

In more traditional kitchens, this is usually a better choice than a true minimalist white countertop, which can be too severe and fight with the elegance of other elements such as knotty woods or Shaker cabinets.

Softly flecked or grainy whites also work well paired with brass accents. Again, the subtle richness holds its own without fighting for attention and keeps the countertop from feeling too austere — great for a dining island where you want people to actually feel comfortable dining.

Flecked or Softly Veined White Countertops Are Good If:

◦  You have a traditional or transitional interior.

◦  You want the space to look big and light without feeling clinical.

◦  You want white countertops but don’t want every crumb and speck of dust to show.

Pure White

Pure white countertops, generally only available in manufactured materials such as Corian or Caesarstone, bring a contemporary, minimalist freshness that no natural stone can match. Luckily, these materials resist stains well, so they can stay a crisp white for years with a little care.

This stark look works well in contemporary spaces. In a modern space it feels appropriately crisp. It’s especially effective in small spaces, such as compact condo kitchens, paired with minimalist white cabinets to give the illusion of a bigger space.

Spaces that already have a great deal of bold character in the other finishes, such as grainy wood cabinets, can benefit from a super simple counter as a visual break.

This is especially true for modern flat-front cabinets in a wood finish with a yellow-orange undertone. A pure white counter will keep the look feeling fresh and contemporary instead of retro.

Lastly, white and blue is a classic nautical combination, so while off-white would also work, a pure white counter looks beautiful paired with blue-painted cabinetry. Despite both being chilly colors, the two together feel welcoming and always stylish.

Pure White Countertops Are Good For If:

◦  You love crisp, modern style.

◦  You have a small space that you want to look as big as possible.

◦  You want to break up modern wood cabinets or other bold finishes.

◦  You love a nautical white-and-blue scheme.


Warm wood, with its inviting air and natural richness, is a great choice for infusing a cool, breezy, kitchen. Crisp white kitchens feel a little more “homey” and a little less austere with a wood countertop. It makes a popular choice for transitional kitchens that balance traditional and contemporary elements, especially since classic wood fits into both categories.

Wood counters, work well in spaces that already feature wood cabinets — if you’re a true wood lover and don’t mind it dominating the decor.

Wood in general is an excellent material to use for an accent counter, often on an island or a small “chopping zone” in butcher block, contrasting with nearby stone or solid-surface counters in a pleasing way.

Lighter woods tend to have more of a casual or rustic feel compared with darker-stained options. Light-stained or unstained woods can have a cottage-inspired feel or a Scandinavian vibe depending on whether you pair them with traditional or modern accouterments. In either case, a traditional runner rug makes an excellent complement.

Darker woods come off a little more formal and polished than lighter tones. They lend a certain gravity to a space, which can work well in areas that are already bright and breezy with lots of windows.

When mixing wood counters with other wood finishes, it’s often best to stick to either warm or cool tones across the board. Red-brown woods are more traditional, while ashy gray tones have been a popular modern trend in recent years. Whichever tones you prefer, they will be less likely to clash if you stick to one family or the other.

Wood Countertops Are Good If:

◦  You want an accent countertop to contrast with other surfaces.

◦  Your white cabinets need a little warming up.

◦  You want your space to feel more approachable and intimate.

◦  You enjoy a dash of rustic charm.

◦  You can’t get enough wood.

Dark or Black

Dark counters, in tones such as black or charcoal, can appear very gothic in some situations and perfectly harmonious in others. If you have dark cabinetry, dark floors or other rich and weighty finishes, a dark countertop will fit right in. 

If you’re going for a dark-on-dark palette, it helps to have lots of light sources, natural or added. This will keep the space feeling cozy and sophisticated instead of cave-like.

Because white can sometimes absorb and dampen nearby colors, a rich, dark countertop can actually be the better choice to bring out subtle colors in painted cabinets, such as the powder blue door units in this kitchen.

Choosing a dark gray rather than pure black will soften the look, so it’s usually preferable to stop at charcoal in most situations.

A situation where dark countertops are nearly a must. When you’re using a tinted mirror backsplash to subtly open up the space visually, a dark counter will echo the deep surface for a perfect complement.

Lastly, sometimes you just want that classic black-and-white look. If you have a kitchen with crisp white cabinets and little actual color, or you have just a few small areas of counter, a dark or black stone brings some instant drama.

It’s never wise to have just one large black element in your design, as it may stand out like a sore thumb, so you’ll want to introduce other sprinklings of black such as simple black cabinet knobs and pulls.

Dark or Black Countertops Are Good If:

◦  You have dark cabinets and want the counters to blend in with them.

◦  You have colorful, fun cabinets, and you want the hue to really shine.

◦  You have a smoky mirrored backsplash.

◦  You want to connect to other black elements in the space.

◦  You’re aiming to achieve a classic black-and-white scheme.

Midtone or Gray

Soft gray countertops and other midtone shades, such as beiges or rich creams, are the most neutral counter options. Creamy off-white cabinets and golden yellow undertones add to a harmonious, peaceful look, perfect for friendly family breakfasts.

Softly flecked gray stone has a look similar to concrete, and it works perfectly in contemporary spaces. It has the advantage of hiding the occasional spot while still looking clean and tidy and not too dark or busy. It’s great if you don’t always have a perfectly organized space but still want a put-together look.

Because gray is the most neutral color around, it makes another excellent choice to pair with colorful cabinets, especially in a space with different cabinet finishes, as it can help tie light and dark cabinets together.

If you have a black-and-white scheme, or espresso woods with white walls, and you want to soften the whole look a little, a midtone counter will bridge the very dark and very light elements so they meet in the middle.

Gray is also a beautiful tone to pair with warm metallic accents. If you love a brassy faucet or sink, a gray counter will bring out those warm tones so they really shine.

Midtone or gray countertops are good for you if:

◦  You want a soft, friendly vibe with muted tones harmonizing.

◦  You have colorful cabinetry or multiple tones of cabinets mixed together.

◦  You have a black-and-white scheme that could use a little softening.

◦  You love warm metallic accents and want to show them off.



Boldly veined stone countertops can either make you stop and gaze in admiration or have the opposite effect and overwhelm your eyes.

In general, the bolder the veining on your counters, the less drama you’ll want to add elsewhere. The size of your space will be a factor in determining just how dramatic a bold stone looks once it’s installed.

This isn’t to say you can’t use a bold stone in a compact kitchen, just that it will feel even more dramatic in scale, meaning you probably will want to keep the other finishes very sedate. 

A dark, richly veined stone can actually feel less dramatic when paired with dark cabinets. Whether you use espresso wood or a modern painted gray, coordinating a base tone in the stone with one of a similar darkness or lightness in the cabinets will help the two connect.

Ultimately, the only way to tell how a richly veined stone will look with your other elements is to bring home the largest sample you can or take samples of your other elements to the dealer to see what tones are strongest in the stone.

Dramatic countertops are good for you if:

◦  You have a large kitchen.

◦  You want the counters to be the primary statement.

◦  You have dark cabinets to offset a dark, moody stone.

◦  You can’t get enough visual drama.


Decluttering In 15 Minutes Or Less

Clearing clutter is not usually on our list of fun things to do. Sure, living in a clutter-free space is something we can all get behind, but finding the time and the motivation to make it happen is quite another matter. That’s where quickie clearing comes in. Instead of waiting for that mythical perfect storm of ample time, energy and motivation to appear, take the reins and do one small project at a time.

Food Storage Containers

Open up that messy Tupperware drawer and pull everything out. Match up the containers with their lids, check the dishwasher too, and toss or recycle mate-less pieces. Stack everything up neatly and return it to the drawer or cabinet. Use the dimensions of this space as a physical limit and give away containers that won’t fit comfortably in the space available.

Fridge Door Condiments

Unload the whole sticky mess onto the kitchen counter. Check expiration dates and toss out anything past its prime — as well as any condiments you bought but did not like. Wipe the bottoms of the containers with a damp sponge before returning them to the fridge. If you want to be extra-organized about it, put sweet condiments on one shelf and savory condiments on another.

Utensil Jar

Check out that crock of utensils near the stove — are all the pieces in it tools that get daily or near-daily use? Do you really need all those spatulas? Take everything out of the jar and put back only the items you reach for often. If there are tools you want to keep but don’t need to access daily, move them to a different spot. The prime real estate nearest your stove should be reserved for true essentials.

Pen Cup

First, scoop up all the pens and pencils that are not actually in the pen cup, but instead are strewn randomly around the kitchen counter, dining table and any other flat surface in the area. Once you’ve gathered them all in one place, grab a blank sheet of scratch paper and start testing. Toss out pens that are out of ink and put your favorites back in the pen cup.

If you have 5 million pens and pencils, set them aside to donate. Many school districts and some nonprofit organizations are happy to receive donations of office supplies in good condition.

Sock Drawer

Open up that drawer and pull out all the socks and tights. Match up pairs, and inspect each set for holes and worn areas. Fold the sets that have mates and are in good condition, and return them to the drawer. Bring the mate-less socks to the laundry area and check for mates before giving up on them.

When you’re done, toss all mate-less socks, as well as any socks or tights with holes, into a bag to bring to your local clothing recycling donation bin.

Shower Products

Pull all the products out of your shower and place them on the sink. Recycle the empty bottles and move infrequently used items to a drawer or cabinet. Have some products that you tried but didn’t like? Give it away or take it back. Depending on the store, you may still be able to get a refund — otherwise, pour out the product and recycle the container. Yes, it’s a waste, but letting a product you’re never going to use take up valuable space in your shower isn’t helping anyone. When you’re done, place your favorite everyday products back in the shower.

Laundry Supplies

Check your laundry room for empty bottles of detergent and stain remover, and put these in the recycling bin. Put random items pulled from pockets where they belong. Straighten up the remaining supplies and wipe the counter clean.

Dish Towels

Dish towels seem to get ratty when we’re not looking. Pull out all your dish towels and inspect them. Fold and put away the ones in good condition, and set aside the others to bring to a textile recycling bin or to cut up for use as rags. But don’t go overboard on the use-them-as-rags thing — there are only so many rag towels we really need, and then it’s just creating more clutter.

Magazines and Catalogs

Gather up all your magazines and catalogs in a pile. Go through the stack, one by one, setting aside current issues that you still want to read, and recycle the rest. If there is an article you want to save, cut it out — or (if you really want to reduce paper clutter) check if the same content is available online and bookmark it instead of saving a paper copy.


Put pocket change in a cup, recycle junk mail, hang up coats and put away any items that have migrated here from other areas of the house. If there are library books or other items waiting to be returned, take a moment to carry them out to the car so that they’re ready and waiting and not cluttering up your entryway.

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