Though it’s a new year, not many things have changed in the sense of working from home. Most of us are still confined to our home offices, apartment kitchens, bedrooms and many other precarious places for work. Converting a corner of your home into a fully functioning office space can be daunting—especially for those living in smaller and/or shared spaces. That being said, with WFH looking to be the norm for many even after COVID, we turned to Nora Voon of Noda Designs for timely tips and advice on make our space more, well, workable. —Vita Daily
Hi Nora! Please tell us a bit about your “quirky” design self to start.
I firmly believe that a well-designed space should tell a story of great travels, of love, passion, mystery, seduction. At my studio, Noda Designs you won’t find cold, empty, minimal Instagram spaces in our portfolio, that’s never been our style. We go for texture, for artifacts, bold rich colours, for quirk and kink. We are curious.
Now fully working from home, we’ve essentially set up at our kitchen table and are feeling the pinch, both in terms of space and a bit of a creative void. To start, do you have any advice as to WHERE it’s best/ideal to locate a home office?
First of all, good lighting is a must for any office space whether you are in the creative field or any other field. Find a place in your home where you feel you can get sufficient natural light, along with a space where you can work without interruption is ideal. However, as we all know, not everyone has a home space that fits all of our ideals. For those who can’t allocate a quiet and bright space, I recommend a quiet corner in your home that you can make your own – perhaps a spare bedroom, anywhere where there’s limited distractions. For multi-used spaces, I would recommend room a divider screen. Those are so underrated and definitely a must these days.
What are some of the necessities you’d say we need to have in our home office?
Good lighting, some storage space to house your paperwork, and a desk area where you can hunker down. It doesn’t have to be a huge space, either!
How about livening up our workspace? What are your favourite accessories to add a pop of colour and brightness (and, hopefully, spark inspiration)?
I use colours and materials to liven up a workspace. For example, if you require a bulletin board to stick your to do list on, that can be done by adding a patterned fabric to it to make it customized, or adding shelving/floating boxes that have a pop of colour, to make things interesting. I personally love adding a neon sign to a workspace, to make things interesting and to help with inspiration (if you get one in the form of a quote!). I’m also a fan of artwork and lots of plants to liven up a space and spark inspiration.
If we’re forced to work at, say, a kitchen table that’s used for other purposes as well, do you have any advice to ease the pain of sharing space?
It’s funny you ask this, as we just designed a table meant for just this, for this year’s Design TO competition hosted by Umbra, and we were selected as a finalist on the panel. The table we designed is called The HQ table—it has a divider in the middle that you can flip over during working hours and the table is used as a desk with sharing capacity without having to face the other person, equipped with a space for pens and paper clips storage and an access hole that you can sort out those pesky cords. When the day is over you simply flip the divider and you have a dining table that sits six. With that in mind, if you have to share your kitchen table with other members of your household, I would recommend investing in a divider that can help with the distractions, but still helps you feel close to loved ones in your home.
What, in your opinion, is the magic of multifunctional pieces when it comes to WFH, and what are some of your top reccos in this category?
Multifunctional pieces are always great for any purpose, not just for working from home. I highly recommend a few good storage items, such as the Ikea storage cubes, they are affordable, fun and does the job. If your space is limited, I would suggest the Dancing Wall from Vitra. The basic function of Dancing Wall is that of a mobile partition that can be used to flexibly divide offices into zones, while providing a vertical work space. It’s also multi-functional that you can make it anything you want, from a dividing screen, to a planter, etc.
Do you have any tips around using personal items to liven up a home office or workspace?
Music is so important when I’m working. I like to get in the zone and just get on with work while listening to the beats. For others, it can be a piece of artwork or print, or even a nice armchair and floor lamp to add a reading corner in case you want a change of scenery from than your desk. A change of scenery always helps with adjusting your mindset if you need a mid-day creativity boost. Sometimes a splash of new paint to add a new mood/vibe can do the trick if you’re not loving your current home workspace. Wallpaper is another fun way to make your office sparkle or spark create a certain mood.
Final, personal question: what WFH accessory are you currently coveting most?
At the moment, I wish my home had my super monster computer that we have at my studio, that I use to do renderings and other photoshop projects quickly, without having to wait around forever for it to load. But that comes with a super high price tag so for now, I’m still working out of my studio for those more major projects.