Creating a sustainable home office
The challenge of fitting an office space into your home is one many of us have been wrestling with recently. And if you’re trying to make eco-friendly choices at the same time, it can be even more complex. Working out what to buy or not buy, can be confusing.
But there are plenty of ways to increase your home office’s sustainability, from furnishings and decor to energy use and stationery supplies. Here are some top tips to guide you towards a greener home office.
There are many ways to increase your home office’s sustainability, from furnishings and decor to energy use and stationery supplies.
Source second-hand furniture
When you’re setting up your home office, your first thought may be to order yourself a nice new desk. However, it’s difficult to know whether the materials used have been responsibly sourced, especially when it comes to wood.
So, it could be a wiser move to search for a second-hand desk instead. Reusing furniture is not only a sustainable option but may save you money too. Don’t be put off by scratched or dark-looking wooden desks, as these can be sanded and painted to give them a fresh and brighter new look.
Office chairs can be more difficult to buy second-hand. So if you do buy new furniture, make sure you buy good quality pieces that will last.
Use eco-friendly paint
Creating a home office is usually a good excuse to get out the paint brushes and give your walls a makeover. However, many interior paints are not good for us or the environment because of the chemicals used in them. Look for eco-friendly paint brands or check paint tins for a low or VOC-free label.
If you’re only painting a small area, you could ask friends or neighbours if they have any leftover paint sitting in their basements or garages. This will save you buying a new tin of paint and only using half of it.
Embrace natural light
Needing to rely heavily on electric lighting in your office space will use more energy. But it can also have a negative impact on how you feel. So, embrace natural light as much as possible. Drapes can sometimes block light coming into a room, so a simple window dressing such as a blind could be better. Using mirrors and light-toned walls can increase the amount of daylight reflected in the room too.
If you’re planning to work in an attic space, you should make sure you install roof lights to bring in natural light. And if you’re adding an extension for use as your home office, make sure you design it to be a light-filled space.
Decorate with plants
Decorating your home office with plants is another mood booster. But plants also have air purifying qualities and help give us more of a connection with nature whilst we’re stuck indoors.
Do try to buy plants that have been grown locally if possible. And you could try your hand at taking cuttings from your houseplants to cultivate new plants and increase your greenery without shopping for more.
Make shelving from recycled wood
Shelving is always useful for storage in home offices. Especially when space is at a premium. Rather than buying cheap MDF shelving, you could recycle wood from old pallets, scaffold boards, floorboards or drawers instead. You could reuse old metal brackets or repurpose copper piping offcuts to hang your shelves with, which will create a lovely vintage or industrial look.
But if these shelving ideas don’t quite hit the mark, then how about making your own peg board for organising your office, or create a shelving unit from a stack of wooden crates?
Plastic storage alternatives
Plastic storage units and boxes come in all shapes and sizes, are affordable, light and durable. But if you want to avoid plastic products in your home office, there are plenty of alternatives that also look a lot prettier.
Shoe boxes and wine boxes are ideal for storage. They can be covered in wallpaper or gift wrap to make them more decorative. And natural woven baskets are great for storing bits of stationery and other odds and ends.
Cut down on stationery
A good tip is not to buy more paper and pens than you really need. And for other things like files and folders, keep reusing them rather than buying new each time. Also, cut down on single-use items. For example, swap sticky memo notes for a wipeable memo board or handy chalkboard.
Switch off and unplug devices when not in use. Avoid using your printer unless it’s absolutely necessary and use LED bulbs to reduce your energy usage.
Reduce your energy use
Once you have your sustainable home office set up, you’ll want to keep it as eco-friendly as possible. Switching off and unplugging devices when not in use, is a good start. Avoiding using your printer unless it’s absolutely necessary can help too. And when you do use artificial lights, using LED bulbs will reduce your energy usage.
Hopefully, these tips will give you lots of ideas for creating a more sustainable home office without compromising on comfort or style. Once you start thinking about what you buy and use, you’ll soon find yourself developing new, greener living and working habits.
What are your tips for making your home office more sustainable?
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