Tag Archives: interior design

Is Your Home Office Giving You Headaches?

When you work for yourself, you can find that your work schedule frequently spills over into leisure time and before you know it, you’re sleeping less, feeling decidedly less relaxed and the more aligned work life balance that had been part of your original plan seems to have gone out of the window. Another potential hazard is headaches, which along with colds are reportedly the number one cause of absenteeism from work and when your work for yourself, sick days are a tricky topic to navigate. Headaches can be stress induced from overworking, brought on by lack of fresh air or may at least in part be due to an ill conceived desk set up, so how do you protect your health in your home office and is your home office giving you headaches?

Is Your Home Office Giving You Headaches?

Let there be light – in the right places
It’s very important to introduce natural light into a working space. Not only will this help you feel bright and more awake, it is also proven to aid a good sleep pattern and productivity. If your desk is nestled in the corner of another room away from a window, consider aiding flow of light with bifold doors. These from Vufold are available in both classic oak and more modern finishes to match your décor.

Whether you are positioned near a natural light source or need to rely on a desk or ceiling lamp, you’ll need to take steps to prevent glare on your computer screen, which can trigger headaches and migraines. Position it directly in front of you with the top at eye level and take time to set the brightness and contrast level to comfortable settings. Glare from light bulbs and windows can cause issues, so try and ensure they don’t shine directly on your screen. Along with careful positioning you may want to fit an anti-glare cover to your computer screen.

Find the right angle
It’s not just your computer screen that needs to be in just the right place, if you’re spending more than a few hours a time at your desk it’s recommended that you invest in an adjustable ergonomic chair. As well as supporting your lower back, you should be able to alter the height and position of your chair so that it comfortably supports you at the correct height to comfortably navigate your keyboard and mouse and type with your hands in line with your arms and wrists straight, this should stop nasty aches and pains developing. If you find that your feet are away from the floor when you’re at desk level, purchase a tilting foot support and resist the urge to cross your legs, it’s really not good for you!

Keep things fresh
Keeping a clean and tidy desk doesn’t just help you to find and do things quicker, it also minimises the amount of movement you need to make, which can help you avoid uncomfortable twisting and turning of your head and neck. Back pain is a common byproduct of working at desks and while regular massages can ease problems, it helps to take preventative measures too. Can you position items such as calendars and telephones within easy view and reach? You should also clean your keyboard and desk regularly – it’s estimated the average keyboard harbours over 7500 bacteria, which is not the kind of office party you want to be promoting.

Take a break
One of the best things you can do to protect your health and productivity is to take regular breaks. Try and step away from your screen for five to ten minutes every hour and think about getting some fresh air during your lunch break too. Staring and sitting for long periods can cause a host of problems with your back, legs and eyes. While it can feel like taking a break is slowing you down, spending a moment stretching or resting your eyes will keep you more comfortable, which could just help you finish that important project.

How is your home office set up? Do you wish you had more sunlight or a more comfortable desk or chair? Are you good at taking regular breaks or do you find yourself staring at your screen and typing for hours on end while you’re in the zone? Perhaps you’re planning a home office refurb to support your health goals?

If you have any tips for creating a healthy and comfortable work environment, please share them below.

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Nursery to boys bedroom – weekend makeover

In September the small boy began school, he’s growing up fast and we couldn’t be more proud of him. One thing that’s niggled us for a while had been his bedroom. When we moved into our house he was 10 months old and we didn’t have the time or money to do much with his room, other than paint it white and get new carpet laid. It was always on our to do list for the future, the list has been ignored for four years now, so it was time to do something about it.

This was his room before…

boys bedroom

With the help and advice of interior designer Joanna Thornhill and Hillary’s Blinds we identified that his room seriously lacked storage space and needed an injection of colour. 

His room was a mess, without any proper storage his toys were everywhere and there wasn’t much of a theme going on. The white walls made the room bright, but it felt stark and boring.

boys bedroom

Joanna gave us some short and mid-term advice which we took on board… 

1. You could add brighter tones in any accessories or wall art in tones of turquoise and green, using red in small doses as an accent. Industrial style is a big trend right now which your son might like, so perhaps you could bring in touches of this by adding a cage-style light or a grey textured rug, and updating furniture handles with vintage metal-style pulls.

2. Storage looks like it’s an issue – could you opt for a bigger bookcase and swap places with the chest of drawers? The tall mirror could maybe then move to the side of the wardrobes if the space becomes tight for it in its current spot. Invest in some storage baskets for the bottom shelves for toys, with space above for books.

3. His bed sits quite neatly into that alcove but when he moves up to a full-size single – why not look out for a daybed with hidden storage (or a spare trundle bed for sleepovers) underneath? This would fit the space well and allow his bedroom to double up as a living room all of his own. Opt for some plain bedding (denim, maybe?) then dress with fun cushions along the back.

4. Your curtains look great and seem ‘grown-up’ enough to take your little boy through to double digits at least – I’d use these as a starting point and let these influence the rest of the space. They are a greyish teal colour so perhaps you could use these to bring colour into the room, possibly opting for a lighter steel-blue on the bulk of the walls with a bolder teal making a feature somewhere (perhaps in the bed alcove?)

Using her advice we decided to paint a teal feature wall and decorate it with stars, we had a shade mixed for us at B&Q which was evocative of the night sky without it being too dark. I bought some luminous stars from my local toy shop, Giddy Goat Toys, decorated the feature wall with them and added the blue star light he’s always had. I wanted to keep things simple so we could change things up a bit as he grows. 

boys bedroom

We bought some extra storage from Ikea and put the bookcase on top of the chest of drawers to make a bit more space. We also gave him a little stool to use to climb up and choose his bedtime story.

boys bedroom

His bedroom looks and feels more like a boys bedroom now and less like a cluttered nursery. There are still a few more things we need to do, but we ran out of time over the weekend. We need to sort his lighting out, put a new blind up and eventually get him a full sized single bed. Not to mention sorting through his wardrobe and clearing out his old toys.

We didn’t blow the budget on it either, the paint and the stars came in at under £30 and the storage unit with boxes was about £100 from Ikea, we bought a few other things for his room too, like a new lampshade, a blind and the footstool, but I can safely say we got change out of £200.

But what did Spider-boy think of the transformation? I think he liked it!

boys bedroom

But my favourite bit is the starry-night wall which I’m actually very tempted to recreate in my bedroom too. I think we’ve managed to makeover his room in a way which will grow with him. The stars can easily be removed and replaced by something else if he wants, the storage has already made a massive difference to his room, and it looks fantastic too.

boys bedroom

The makeover was done in conjunction with Hillary’s Blinds, you can find out more about our makeover transformation, and see how the other bloggers involved transformed their homes on the Hillary’s Blinds website.