When looking to design a home office there are many considerations: is it for full-time or just occasional use? How much storage space will you need for books and papers? Do you require extra seating for guests or clients? Will you need an enclosed space or an open concept?
With all these different things to consider, one important consideration you may over-look, is how you can make your home office space also a “green” or sustainably designed oasis.
The easiest thing to consider, when you’re designing a green office, is the type of paint you’re using. VOCs (Volatile organic compounds) are the cause of harsh paint odor and can be very harmful, to both humans and the environment. It’s worth looking for a non-toxic, low, or no-VOC paint. Many companies produce these now, as the harmful effects of VOCs are becoming more widely known, and sustainable design is becoming more popular. Just ask at your local paint supplier for low or zero VOC paint products.
Another way that you can enhance the indoor air quality (or IAQ) in your home is by adding plants to your green office space. Several types of leafy plants are great for purifying the air around you, and they double as a mood enhancer for those of us who spend most of our time trapped indoors. The best indoor plants to get for air purification are: Areca palm, Lady Palm, Rubber Plant, English Ivy, and Peace Lily.
As far as lighting goes, natural lighting is best; it’s best for your eyes and mood and also for your electricity bills. If you don’t have access to enough natural light, or are working primarily at night, then opt for energy saving LEDs with a light temperature from between 3000k to 3500k for optimal working light. Another energy saving option, in a green office in your home, can come from Smart Power Strips/Bars that will cut off power to any electronics that are in standby mode, such as computers that have fallen asleep and phones that have finished charging.
If you find that you use a lot of paper, to jot down notes and appointments, you might want to look into a chalkboard or white board for your office space to save paper. There are also many laminated calendars on the market that can be reused every month simply by filling in the new dates.
For sustainable furnishings, for your green office, there are many ways to go about it. You can look for furnishings that are produced locally and/or out of recycled material, meaning that less fuel is consumed to get the product to your door. You can refurbish older furniture found for free or second hand, at antique and thrift stores. Or, if you’re feeling especially crafty you can reuse old furnishings and/or recycled materials to make the pieces you need, such as a desk made from two short file cabinets with a reclaimed wood desktop. Old doors make especially good desktops because they are thick and sturdy and the old doorknob hole makes a great opening to pull cables through. If you must buy new ones, you can choose furnishings made from bamboo, recycled plastics, local woods or other sustainable materials that will help the environment and look great in your home as well.
For sustainable office supplies look for pens that can be refilled, staple-less staplers that fold papers together, recycled paper and storage boxes, find an alternative to non-sustainable products like rubber bands, print on both sides of your recycled paper when possible, and use recyclable ink and toner cartridges.
Of course making sure that all of your electrical devices are energy star certified, and keeping a waste paper recycling basket nearby, are tried and tested decisions that are here to stay, but the next time you create or redo your home office try to incorporate some of these more sustainable design ideas as well, and enjoy the photo gallery and don’t forget to share your favorite!
This alpine green office makes use of the surrounding forests for a material that is renewable and sustainable to the area.
If you have enough space you can add a seating area to entertain guests or relax between tasks.
These sustainably sourced products from Ikea are great because they all match and create a cohesive look that separates them from the different furniture elsewhere in the space.
In most parts of the world wood is a sturdy and sustainable product for green office furnishings.
Re-upholstering or painting and old desk chair makes for a piece that is both unique and lovely and it saves materials from ending up in a landfill needlessly.
This modern office used energy saving LEDs and renewable recycled wood.
A desk can be made from an old table refreshed with a little paint.
Using reclaimed wood and reusing old sawhorses with a new coat of paint makes for a great rustic feeling.
Go to your local thrift store, an old vanity can easily go from powdered noses to noses in the books.
Don’t worry about mixing modern and vintage pieces this recycled desk and modern recycled content chair look great together.
Even this old metal garden table when paired with a vintage chair, makes a great home office space. As long as the desk top has room for what you need there’s no reason why an older beautiful piece can’t have new life in your home.
Many modern looking products now come made with a percentage of recycled content for the green minded home or business owner.
Having your own home office doesn’t have to take up a lot of space.
It’s not hard to give old furniture new life to get a beautiful effect in your sustainable home office.
An old table easily becomes a desk and an old dining chair has the perfect height for your office task chair.
The natural light in this home office is great and a little paint and a new drawer, make this old china cabinet the perfect storage hutch.
Don’t turn your nose up at using old second hand furniture, old gems like this desk could be out there just waiting for you.
This clean and modern office space is made more lived-in looking with the addition of this industrial re-used chair.
This home office has been snuck into a corner behind an angled television wall. The wood throughout adds sustainability while a small footprint and an open concept helps save on the cooling and heating.
This desk was made from two file cabinets and an IKEA desktop.
This desk was made from storage shelves with finished building-grade wood on top.
If you’re an avid reader and expert DIY’er you might want to try what this library has and make a desk from recycled books.
This desk uses a common door panel for it’s surface.
You can even use uneven old doors for desk tops as long as you have a pane of smooth glass to lay over them for a smooth work surface.
This home office takes its surface from the widest part of a bookshelf. Laptops take up much less power than a traditional desktop computer.
This desk was created out of an old table with no legs that was sawn in half and attached to the wall. The same DIY looks great for tables with legs still attached as well.
This home office doesn’t have to worry about a large carbon footprint from imported furniture because it’s desk is nothing more than a well supported shelf. Having a large imposing desk may be impressive in a office building but at home less can be more.
Many people are choosing to incorporate home office spaces into their millwork kitchens. This can be a sustainable option as a smaller green office, it uses less power and it actually uses less material than the kitchen would have if it were all cabinets.
Re-purposing an old pallet is what made the top of this desk.
If you find an old desk that’s pretty beat up you can always make it your own with a little VOC free paint.
This desk is made from 100% recycled materials, looks amazing and has a secret lamp and storage area that can be tucked away.
People are using old wood pallets for everything these days, why not a desk as well?
This modern desk is made from reclaimed pine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
This is the Samsung Origami Cardboard printer, which uses recycled cardboard rather than plastic to hold it’s component pieces together.