2009 Home office decorating

The way we use our homes is changing. Whether you run your own business, work freelance, have children who need somewhere to study and surf the internet or need a space to keep on top of personal admin, a home office space is an essential addition to any modern home. 'It's all about using your home in a different way,' says Judith Tugman of Architect Your Home. 'I get real pleasure from working and being at home. I love the fact that I can make myself a descent cup of coffee, put the washing on and enjoy the view whenever I feel like it. More affordable computers, faster internet connection and the arrival of Wi-Fi mean it's now even easier to connect to the outside world, but it's still crucial that you plan your office space effectively. The perfect homed office should look as good as the rest of your home, but, of course, be practical, ergonomic and functional, too.

Sitting Comfortably When working from home, it's important to remember some basic ergonomics. Sitting badly can raise the load on your lumbar discs almost 200 percent, compared to stand. Bending forward for a long time is also damaging, so a good chair is a wise investment (try Vitra for design classics or, if you're on a budget, Ikea). BCA chiropractor Tim Hutchful has this advise Make sure you sit back into your chair so your back is supported. Knees should be slightly lower than hips, to put your spine into a neutral position. Stick to a desk-top computer rather than a laptop as it has a screen at eye level. If you have a laptop, invest in a stand so the screen is at eye level to stop you stooping (you'll also need a USB keyboard).

Having your arms supported will take the strain off your neck and shoulders. If you can't, remember to take regular breaks (five minutes every 40 minutes). Assess your needs No matter how large or small your space, it's important to plan carefully. Before you begin, sit down and make a comprehensive list of the things you are likely to need and how you are going to use your office. Consider who will be using the office - will it just be you, or your family as well? Are you using it for business or purely for personal admin? Are you going to invite clients into the space? Are you going to be working by yourself or will the office need to accommodate another person. What equipment was you likely to need? A computer, printer and telephone are the most basic requirements of any office space, but you might also find you need farther pieces, such as a fax machine, scanner or laptop docking station.