For years I’ve slept a few feet away from an office desk, which isn’t the ideal situation because bedrooms are meant to be relaxing – a place where work should not coexist with rest and relaxation. It is an unfortunate, yet common, bedroom decor setting for most students who can’t afford a house or apartment with room for a home office or study.
Regardless of this clash, I’ve managed to live with it successfully and have learned a few ways to separate the two so that I immerse myself in my work area when required without being tempted to step out of it and lie on my bed in between tasks.
I’m going to share my decorating methods of dividing the work space in a bedroom from everything else so that you can get an idea of how to effectively give your room a double purpose.
Floor rugs can define a specific area of the room
If you look at some dining room interiors, plenty of designers like to use rugs to visually define the eating area. They create a perimeter using the edges of the carpet to house an entire dining set. This same design feature is transferable to the bedroom workspace setting.
Photo credit: Jason Young
In addition to feeling nice under your feet, a large rug can be used to define the work area of a room. It should have a large enough surface area to contain an office desk and any additional office furniture, such as filing cabinets, within its perimeter.
By clearly identifying the borders of your homework zone this way, you are psychologically creating an invisible wall that subdivides these areas of your bedroom. It means that once you step foot into the rugged sector, you are essentially entering your home office.
Turn your back on the bed
I’m sure there’s a feng shui principle to be mentioned here but I recommend placing your work area in a position so that the foot of your bed is pointing towards the back of your desk chair. The reason for this is based on my waking up habits, which I’m sure is a common thing that people do.
The first thing I do when I get out of bed in the morning is roll out of the side so my first bleary-eyed view is of either the world outside my window or my bedroom door. This means that I don’t instantly wake up to the sight of an office space or work – perfect in my opinion and possibly even less stressful on a subconscious level. Furthermore, this means that I don’t have anything related to working in my vision before I nod off if I fall asleep on my side.
Author’s request: let me know if you have the same wake up routine in the comments. It would be interesting to find out if I’m alone in this.
Beyond the foot of the bed is therefore, in my opinion, the best out-of-sight place to have a workspace. I can’t remember ever waking up bolt upright so that I look towards the foot of my bed, unless maybe if my pet dog had jumped up on it to wrestle with my feet.
Use different types of lighting
This one is an “I’m not entirely sure” suggestion so you can dismiss it if you want but you might see some value in it as I have.
When I was at University I often had to work late into the night in order to meet my deadlines. Also, the typical student lifestyle often forced me to. This meant that it was dark unless I used my bedroom lights to see what I was doing.
Photo credit: Larry McCombs
I found that I focused better when my standard bedroom lights were switched off and I worked under the glow of my two desk lamps that I had placed at either end of my desk. It felt like I was blacking out the rest of my room and that I was in a place of concentration.
This effect could only be achieved at night time though so unless you are a hard worker who needs to work into the evening, I don’t think a desk lamp will do much to separate your workspace from the rest of your bedroom.
Be explicit and try a dressing screen
Screens are primarily used for changing behind and they’ve been around for years. If your room is big enough and you happen to have positioned the homework area in the corner, using a corner desk, then a screen could make a physical barrier for it to hide behind.
Photo credit: saddleworthshindigs
Keep it tidy and organised
Above all of our decorating suggestions, the best thing you can do is keep your paperwork and office furniture clean and tidy. The messier it is, the harder it is to keep your mind clear of work when you sleep at night so make sure you have a good organisation system and keep to it.
Let us know how you deal with having a bedroom office space in the comments below and how you keep the separation between work and rest.