your home office
Reinhart says the only bearing flooring has
in terms of a home office is how it affects
the chair. Many people have chairs on rollers.
If your carpet has any kind of pile, it would
be more difficult to move. Reinhart prefers
hard surfaces in home offices such as cork
for acoustic properties. However, tile and
hardwood are also good options. The most economical
floor is wood because you never have to change
it, and wood floors increase the value of
your home. Purchase a prefinished wood floor.
The counter height (or desk height) should be 29 to 30 inches high. If there is more than one user, two workstations can be arranged or a satellite workstation can be in the cabinetry. "Like a kitchen triangle, similar dynamics are needed for a home office," Reinhart says. "All the technology needs to be in one space."
The keyboard is placed a little
lower and can pull out. The glare and distance
of the monitor is important, Reinhart points
out, because you don't want to "turtle"
put your head and neck forward, which puts
a strain on them. For the monitor to be correctly
positioned, the top of the monitor is about
the same height as your eyes and about 18
to 24 inches from your face. Keep your elbow
angle at 90 degrees as you work the keyboard
with your arms held close to your sides. Try
to keep your wrists flat when typing.
It is important to have a flexible
setup so multiple users can adjust everything
to their own comfort. Provide a way of raising
or lowering the computer screen and adjusting
the height of the chair.
The chair should have multiple
positions. Select an adjustable chair with
lumbar support. You can find chairs for about
$100 at the big-box office stores. However,
never purchase a chair without sitting in
it to make sure it is well made, reclines
"For people who have problems with their hands, a mouse with
a little round ball is a huge asset,"
she says. "It's the repetitive motion
of the wrist with other mouse types that can
People on a budget can use enamel paints or stencils on a file cabinet for their current files. Others can purchase wire-mesh baskets on a rolling base or a three-shelf cart to accommodate a printer and fax. Inexpensive bookcases or shelves can be used for storing books and magazines.
More to spend? Make the home office look like a library. "The equipment can be housed in cabinets while workstations have laptops in drawers," she says. "Even a small wine bar can be added for relaxation and convenience."
Select a paint color easy on the eyes. Depending
on your budget, either paint the room yourself
or hire a professional painter. Add paintings,
prints or personal photos of the family as
a finishing touch.