8 easy solutions for your workspace problems

By Julia Cartwright

Most of us know intuitively that the spaces we do our work in have a big impact on how we feel as we go about our work. For example, a dark, messy desk with no storage can make the mere thought of sitting down to get started seem like a burden.

It’s really important to ensure that you have a dedicated physical space to store all your materials and records. Some of you might choose to have a dedicated room or alternatively a dual-purpose area that also functions as a workstation.

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort" Paul J Meyer

As a designer, I am passionate about creating spaces that are not just beautiful but functional in the best possible way – that help you achieve what you want to achieve in the space. And this principle isn’t something that I merely pay lip service to; I live by it! So, for example, when I was setting up the online arm of my business, it was just as important for me to create a space for myself that would help me get my best work done as it was to get my website and marketing stuff right (even though no one but me ever sees my home office!). I wanted it to feel inspiring and organised, which are great qualities to bring to any creative workspace.

“A nice workspace at home will encourage you to use your talents and give more structure to your ideas and work schedule. Working in a nice area will always bring out the best in you” Irene Hoofs, Blogger

Your workspace is structured around your activities and needs. As a quick start guide you may want to refer to the following steps to get you started - 

Step 1 – Assessing your needs and requirements is your first port-of-call

  • What type of work needs to be done?
  • Will clients be visiting the space?
  • Will my teammates visit for collaborative work?
  • What type of materials will be referenced and/or stored?
  • What type of equipment is needed?
  • When will I be doing the majority of my work?
  • Ensure you have thought of space for activities such as “storing”, “retrieving” and “processing”

Step 2 – Getting organised

After you have looked at your requirements, it is time to get your own workspace set up, let’s focus on how to get – and STAY! – Organised. To begin with, ensure you have undergone the following initial steps:

  • Look at your space and only use items that are purposeful and functional.
  • Clear the clutter and dead energy! This is so important for our creativity and for getting organised.
  • Ensure you have enough daylight as well as artificial direct light.
  • Set up your Wi-Fi and computer.

Step 3 – Mistakes to avoid

There are some common mistakes you should avoid and these are:

  • Not having enough storage
  • Having a shortage of space for reference materials
  • Holding onto out dated equipment
  • Not planning for all the cords and adaptors

Step 4 – Equipment

You may be wondering why I am touching on the geeky stuff? Forget about quick and simple décor, you want to ensure you have considered all your practical requirements that allow you to operate professionally.

It is important to invest in equipment that provides you with excellent speed and efficiency. Stay away from the big and ugly items, like the large printers. There is such a large selection to choose from these days that I am sure you can find one that is not too obtrusive in size and colour. If you install a business phone, I would ensure it is set up separately from your home phone. You can then make sure your phone has the capability for messaging, conferencing and speaker functions.

Step 5 – Lighting tips are especially important and you should ensure you

Surround yourself with as much daylight as possible.

  • Use a combination of general and task lighting. A great task lamp on your desk will be essential for evening work, and when the natural light is not enough.
  • Use daylight bulbs for task lamps.
  • Keep your screen away from a direct light source; this will result in eyestrain.
  • Are aware how overhead lighting can result in a direct glare on your computer screens.

Step 6 – Layout

  • Select a desk big enough to support your computer and work related items
  • To prevent chaos, look for storage solutions for papers that may accumulate on your desk
  • Use pencil cups or trays to keep all writing instruments in one place

Step 7 – Ergonomics

It is important to invest in a chair that supports your comfort and posture.

A good chair should have the following features:

  • Adjustable tilt tension and tilt lock
  • Adjustable armrest height, armrest width, and pivot
  • Sliding seat pan for adjustable seat depth
  • Adjustable seat height
  • Optional lumbar support adjustability

If you are someone who is on the computer for a long time, you need to consider ergonomic mouse instruments shaped to fit your hand and soft keyboard pads that allow rest and relaxation for the wrist.

Step 8 – Colours for your space

When it comes to your office it is important to revisit colour psychology.

  • I would stay away from blues, greens and violets, as they evoke feelings of calm and may send you off to sleep.
  • Green can foster concentration and balance, it also and add a freshness and vitality to a work environment
  • Yellow is a happy attention-grabbing colour. It evokes feelings of optimism. Stay away from bright yellows, as they might be distracting or overpowering.
  • Red is energetic and generates feelings of excitement. It should be used as an accent colour only.
  • White, ivory, Gray and tan are colours that are subtle and can be combined with accent colours for vitality and energy.
  • Purple have been proven to stimulate imagination, focus and concentration.

How are you going with setting up your workspace?

Julia Cartwright is an Interior Designer, Property Stylist, and Creative Director at Julia Cartwright Designs. Julia helps people turn outdated or empty spaces into places they love.

She specializes in Concept development, Up-Styling homes using existing furniture, and Pre-Sale Property Consulting. Julia also also has an e-course The designer home style program that helps you create a home that not that only looks gorgeous, but also helps you feel better, achieve more, and live the kind of life you want to be living.

The Decorating School Launch

The Decorating School
The Decorating School
The Decorating School
The Decorating School
The Decorating School
The Decorating School
The Decorating School

I'm a sucker for a well executed event and nothing is more exciting to me than bringing together clever business chicks in one room to network and collaborate. If the food and backdrop happen to be killer then that's even better.

Truth be told I've been lucky enough to attend some incredible events this year - and have been privy to see many happenings around the globe too - so moving forward I'll be sharing more of these industry events in a new 'Around Town' column launching in 2016 so stay tuned.

In the meantime I couldn't help but share an event (check out that centrepiece!) hosted by two dear friends in celebration of their new venture, The Decorating School.  The launch of The Decorating School came about because friends, Emma Blomfield and Sonya Pala, kept seeing people struggling to create living spaces that reflected their values and supported their lifestyle. With their combined interests, Emma & Sonya realised if they aligned their knowledge and expertise, they could create an inspiring and genuinely useful online resource to help spread the principles and values of amazing design far and wide - collaboration at it's finest!

Stay tuned as their their inaugural course, Plan, Decorate, Live is now live and designed to instil confidence and provide basic design principles. In such a visual world I absolutely love how they combined a beautiful offline event to honour and celebrate their work online. Well done ladies on a stellar launch - big things ahead for 2016! x Jac

Images: Susan Papazian

5 Ways To Improve Your Living Room // Style File


By Ashlee Gerrard

When it comes to living rooms everyone has their own personal style, we all have an idea of what we like and what we’d prefer to have in our living room but sometimes it can feel like we just need that little extra something to fill the gap…. but what with?

I want to show you 5 key pieces to help freshen up your living room and help give you ideas if you are just needing something little to finish your living room off.  You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars, think about what your want to do and what you think will look good with your living room, then look around to find the perfect pieces and the price your happy with! 

As you can see we have used a before and after photo for our living room shoot. With the before photo you can still see this as a great living room, lots of natural right and lots of space, to help add some warmth into this living room the 5 key pieces we are focusing on today are; Coffee table, Fresh flowers, Cushions, Lamps and Photos. Flowers are always great to have in your home, they create a beautiful fresh feeling, in our picture we are using Singapore Orchids they come in crisp white or bight yellow, there are about $12 a bunch and last up to 2 weeks, they are affordable and look great! Place these on your coffee table to help create that fresh look.

Cushions are a big one for me, I love having something to snuggle into when I’m on the couch, plus cushions can create a great pop of color if your not going to be using any artwork in your living room, cushions are a great substitute for this. Lamps can create a certain lighting in a room, which is great for the living room, if its night time and you’re wanting to watch a movie and still want some light a lamp is the perfect solution. We have two lamps showing in our picture the floor lamp as well as the table lamp in-between the two couches. Floor lamps will generally offer more light, but if your just after something subtle then a table lamp is what your after!

A nice final touch to finish off your living room is to add a few of your favorite pictures and place them in a nice frame. Best location would be TV unit, side table or library shelf. As you can see in our after photo, we have used a throw rug as well as some coffee table books, we have not added these into the top 5 key pieces, but they are definitely great extras to have.

Find out more tips from Ashlee over on her blog or on Instagram or Twitter.

Image by Two Guinea Pigs