There are two kinds of workaholic – The overworked employee, and the entrepreneur. No matter which category you fall under, chances are one part of your house is going to double up as a designated – usually messy – work area. It can be as small as a shelf space or takes up an entire room. Your partner may not necessarily agree with you, but you can’t help but find some joy in the necessity of work. You are the workaholic, and proud of it!
Productivity is our primary concern in this article. Below are the four primary factors to consider when designing a home-office.
Choice of illumination has a significant impact on the brain’s ability to process information. An optimal lighting depends on the type of work you are doing but ideally requires a balance of both indirect and direct light sources. Fluorescents are great for illuminating the whole room, but halogen bulbs are better for detail work. You also have to take into account glare from the computer screen and where your shadow is casted.
Colours can profoundly impact productivity, for better and for worse. Hues of red or orange can help to spark creativity but too much of red may instead invoke high levels of stress. Consider a reddish palette in areas where you spend time thinking, like the balcony or the bathroom. Yellow is great for raising self-esteem, bringing cheer and triggering innovation. It is best used in areas of the home where you will be letting you mind run free. Blue is generally known for its calming effect. Perhaps the bedroom would be a good place to take your mind off work right to prepare you for a good night’s rest? As for the work place itself, I suggest a colour that’s neutral to the eyes. Plants and greens in the work area have been proven to increase productivity.
The joy of working from home is that you are not subjected to work from the confines of a cubicle. You have a choice of working for a large desk, on a beanbag or even in bed keying away on the laptop with a tray table. Think about the best place in your home to designate as work space. Not only should you think about how much space you need, but whether or not the space has access to WIFI connection and power supply, and away from noise.
Chill Out Corner
The downside of a home-office is that it’s hard to draw distinction between work and home. No matter how understanding (or tolerant) your partner may be, a certain level of work-life balance needs to happen before you get burnt out. Your home needs to have a place where you can disconnect. This place needs to have a stark contrast with the rest of your work areas. Maybe have a mini wine chiller where you can reward yourself with a glass or two or three after you’re done with work.
If the Workaholic is not quite you, check out the rest of our Personality Series to find something a little closer to home.
Fancy having a smart home like Tony Stark from the movie Ironman? Smart home systems used to be the pricey luxury toys of the wealthy are now becoming increasingly accessible. A modern tech savvy home is not just about gadgets, though. Tech savvy homeowners need to consider floor plans, building materials and everything else that goes into the design and development of a home. This is the Interior Design guide for the tech savvy geeks.
When planning a home cinema, the space determines the screen size and type of projector to use. The recommended screen size is 16×9” for the ideal home cinema experience. The true cinema experience is all about the sound and the best place to position the main speakers is behind the screen and above the ground. So you will need to take into consideration where to place the speakers. If the lack of space is causing you grief, check with your interior designer on ways the screen can be inbuilt into the room design.
Now that you got your positioning done right, you will need to consider acoustics. Everything in the room from floor to ceiling has an effect on how sound reverberates. To reduce reflective noise, consider concealing hard exposed surfaces with curtains and carpets.
Gadgets, Wiring & Storage Solutions
Gadgets are the backbone of a tech savvy geek’s home. With advancement in technology and the proliferation of the latest buzz word – Internet of Things (IoT) – scores of cool gadgets are adorning every home that has changed people’s lifestyle. The gadgets are not just fancy; they provide quick solutions to everyday problems. The basic must-haves are motion detection, IP cameras, remote appliance control. Power supply and connectivity would be your biggest design concern. Home automations with controls over lights, air conditioning and curtains all at a click of the button from your mobile device would also be great for the tech savy individual.
From the floor plans, your interior designer would be able to advise you on the possible blind spots and power point considerations. With so many gadgets of different shapes and sizes, your home should inculcate loads of storage facilities such as cabinets, hidden drawers etc etc while still having decent access to all these gadgets. The tech savy guy doesn’t love clutter and likes sleek and minimal design for his home. Storage solutions should have a glass door encasing them so that any infra-red devices will still be able to activate even when the doors are closed.
(This article is written in collaboration with Eugene Tay of the Alpha Mind)
Nothing says wanderlust like having a collection of knick-knacks acquired from your travels. They form almost a story on their own and a great time capsule for your memories. Besides the decorative features that will most certainly adorn your shelves and walls, we want you to have a practical home design that is an extension of who you are.
You would post pictures of your travels and leave thought-provoking notes on your Facebook wall, why not have that for real on your living room wall? Paint a giant world map and overlay that with photos from the countries you have visited. It’s the perfect conversation starter when you have guests over.
Go for Eclectic Design
Flea markets around the world are the best place to get a cheap, unique purchase that looks absolutely stunning on its own, but then you wonder where it is going to fit in your modern Scandinavian home. The trick is: go eclectic. It’s an organic design that can’t be replicated. Just like your traveling experiences.
Juxtaposition of Colours
If anyone can pull off utter disregard of conventional colour palates, it would the wide-eyed traveler. Bold colours interspersed with earthly tones create a sense of wild abandonment and adventure.
From the rustic calmness of a Balinese resort to the hustle and bustle of New York City, a traveler has been there; done that. How about giving each room a thematic makeover and bring a piece of the world into your home?
Open Display Cabinets and Wall Mount Shelves
This last tip should be obvious but it bears mentioning. Treasures turn to junk when they are packed away in boxes. If space is a constraint, consider breaking down walls and use open display cabinets as partition modules. Wall mount selves are also a great way to save space too and it doubles up as design feature.
Next we look at the Personality Based Design: Workaholic
(This article is written in collaboration with Eugene Tay, founder of The Alpha Mind)
Is Your Home a Reflection of Your Personality?
It is said that a person’s home is an extension of who he is, so it stands to reason that you can learn much about a person’s personality from the way his house is designed.
This article will give you the basic tips to starting a great conversation with the host the next time you’re invited (or dragged) to a house warming party or baby shower. Instead of standing in the corner typing away on your phone, look out for these signs.
Lots of storage and clean lines
If you the home is well kept with ample storage spaces, and even possibly multi-function furniture that doubles up as a hidden storage, you know you have a very organized person on your hands and he or she will enjoy conversations that are factual and systematic.
Extendable dining table, transformable coffee table, or a rotating TV wall even. Everything in this home has multiple uses. These folks favour function over form and are more interested in usage rather than the look. Forgo the small talk and dive deep into something substantial.
You walk into a room and it looks like Facebook – photos line the walls, maybe an inspirational poster of two, and the desk has an old photo of when the homeowner was half her size. These folks value memories and relationships. Ask them about their lives. Feel free to bring up topics that were a hit a decade ago. The nostalgia never gets old.
A patched-work refurbished sofa in a corner and an enlarged reprint of the 1939 comic cover of Batman’s first appearance encased in a customized frame hanging on the opposite wall. This type of homeowner values his or her personal identity and enjoys a conversation involving creative ideas or conspiracy theories. The best way to get into a conversation with such a homeowner is to ask about a story surrounding an interesting piece that stands out. There’s probably a story behind it that would make for great conversation.
High Tech Home
You can feel the ground vibrating with the latest 15.1 audio surround sound system before you even step into the house. The state of the art curved screen television is probably connected to a DIY super computer that has the capability of running octo-quad processors. There’s only two of such system in the world – One is owned by the CIA and you’re looking at the other. It should be clear by now that the homeowner is interested in the latest toys. A good topic would be to ask the homeowner for his opinion on two competitive tech trends and be marveled by the geekery!
Which type of homeowner are you? Let me know in the comment below. If you have been contemplating about giving your home a makeover, come talk to us. We would love to help you design a home that yells out “This is who I am; this is my home!”
Coming up in this series of Personality Based Design, we will be looking at the various character archetypes and the designs that suit them.
The type of flooring you choose will determine the congruency of your overall home concept. You have probably heard of the more common flooring options such as homogenous tiles or vinyl. The two primary reasons for their popularity is the relative durability and the ease of maintenance.There are a few other considerations when choosing the right flooring for your home. Experts I spoke to say that the following factors – level of moisture, durability, ease of maintenance – influence their decisions when recommending flooring options to customers.
Follow this 5-step guide to decide which flooring best suits your needs.
Will your floor be installed in the balcony, bathroom, or kitchen?
The location of where the flooring is to be has an utmost importance and your patterns of usage and lifestyle would determine the type of suitable floor materials. For the locations such as bathrooms or kitchens, we recommend non-slip homogeneous tiles with texture as they are waterproof, durable and last heavy wear and tear. Be careful of having too much texture to the tiles as they are more difficult to scrub and clean. If you want to have a wooden floor look, it is now possible with homogeneous tiles that have a wood texture layer of glazing on them.
Do you have pets or young children running around the place?
Having pets or little young children is a joyous thing in life but it may not be very joyful for your floor actually. You would need a floor material that is highly resistant to scratches and spillage stains. Another consideration is the impact absorbance upon a child falling down. Vinyl based floorboards are highly resistant to scratches and stains and having a rubber based sole, they are more impact absorbing as compared to the more hardy floor tiles. This in turn could minimise any injury caused by a child running and falling down. Carpet floor tiles are another option however they would be higher maintenance and aren’t resistant to spills.
(Vinyl floorboards for kid’s room)
Will there be frequent moving of heavy objects around the area?
Are you constantly going to shift the furniture about or retrieve heavy and bulk items from this space? If so, the likelihood of items dropping and hitting the floor would be high. You would need a floor material that would be able to withstand heavy impacts over a long span of time. Granite floor tiles are an ideal option as they are durable and long lasting. However they are costly, being natural stone of course. You could go with carpet floor tiles but take note that they will wear out in a couple of years but they aren’t as expensive to install or change anyway.
Do your foresee yourself taking frequent care of your flooring?
In Singapore, with all our busy work schedules and life, taking care of a home can be quite a chore. Many of us would consider having a material that would be easy maintenance so as to ease our lives. So if you see yourself not taking frequent care of your flooring, then you should go with the stronger materials such as homogeneous tiles or vinyl based floorboards. Natural materials such as parquet, marble or granite flooring need more frequent care even though they may be stronger in some ways. Carpet floor tiles are a no-no if maintenance is your main consideration.
Did you factor in the cost of installation in your budget?
Cost is always anyone’s concern when it comes to renovation so taking note of which materials and their costs are essential. Marble and granite floorings could cost the most expensive while homogeneous tiles would be the next on the list. Parquet and vinyl floorboards are relatively similar in pricing and are a notch down in price compared to tiles. Carpet floor tiles may be one of the cheapest options available however they will need to have the most maintenance.
This article is written by Montie Mahtani
Interior Designer / Blogger
Even if you don’t normally notice a plant’s presence, having green plants in your immediate environment can subconsciously make you feel calm and relaxed. Scientists call this the Biophilia Hypothesis, a theory that suggests humans seek out connection with nature to achieve biological balance. The list of health benefits that plants can bring ranges from stress reduction to accelerated recovery after a surgery. The conditions in which these studies were made could be debated, but I’d leave that up to the skeptics. I’m sharing the top 3 of our personal favourites.
Natural Air Filters
Indoor plants like Dragon Tree or Snake Plant pull air from the surrounding through their roots converting impurities into food for the plant thus acting as a natural air filter for the home.
Want to eradicate the damp smell in the bathroom? Consider Peace Lily. This plant will absorb moisture from the air through its leaves and requires little sunlight to thrive. The English ivy is that it can be planted in a hanging pot and placed higher in the room, close to the ceiling, absorbing humidity that rises, and at the same time, you don’t have to worry about knocking it over.
Better Night’s Sleep
You probably recall basic science 101 that plants take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen by day and reverse the process by night. Certain plants defy that convention: Orchids, succulents and epiphytic bromeliads. Place these plants in the bedrooms to gain a burst of fresh air to get a better night’s sleep. This is great for those with repository problems. They are also incredibly good for those with infants or young children at home who are more prone to asthmatic conditions.
Note: If you’re the type that likes to read up on science facts and figures, here’s a link to a research done by University of Technology Sydney on the benefits of having indoor plants.
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