Work Spaces

Patricia Skinner  |  1/15/2007 6:07:06 AM

Kitchens, laundry areas and home offices are three types of workspace commonly found in the home environment. Despite many differences between the three, all should be designed for efficiency and productivity. Try to avoid spaces that are poorly lit, inconveniently located or overly cramped.

One of the first and easiest steps to creating a successful work environment is to improve the quality and amount of light. Adequate light is one of the most important features of any workspace. Whether the space is naturally lit or not, supplemental light is necessary. Kitchens and home offices generally benefit more from natural light for task purposes so locating these rooms along a perimeter is optimal.

Adequate lighting is vital to maintaining a healthy work environment. Research different light fixtures and opt for those that reduce glare, especially for use in the home office. Lighting with heavy glare factors strains the eye and may create other physical discomforts like headaches.

Ample storage is another common thread between all types of workspaces. Whether cabinets or shelves, adequate storage helps reduce the risk of clutter, fostering a less stressful and more organized work situation in which to focus.

If possible, find the proper location for each work environment. Laundry rooms should not be located in the kitchen because they produce a lot of humidity, cleaning product vapor and lint. You want to avoid these types of discharge from food preparation areas, as well as avoid grease spillage or cooking aromas to seep into your newly cleaned clothing. Laundry rooms succeed best when located near the bedrooms. Easy access to the laundry from the bedrooms reduces the travel distance, which can be quite beneficial when carrying heavy loads of laundry.

Home offices may be best located in a corner of the house, reducing the acoustical intake that could be a factor if surrounded on all sides by other functioning spaces. Corner locations would also enable the room to be naturally lit from two sides, an ideal situation for a home office that will probably incorporate a lot of reading and writing tasks. Despite the amount of natural light, supplemental overhead and task lighting is essential.

When thinking about the location of the kitchen, keep in mind travel distance to and from your vehicle (specifically when carrying groceries). Whether you park your car on the street or adjacent to your home in a garage, this may affect whether you locate your kitchen at the front, middle or rear of your home. Once you have located the kitchen, it is also important to consider the ease of movement within the space. No matter if the kitchen is large or small, appliances and countertop space should be located in close proximity according to use. For example, it is best to locate the dishwasher and sink adjacent to each other and the refrigerator and ample counter space next to one another. This will help reduce bending, twisting and walking between tasks.

The key to efficient design of functioning workspaces is to remember location, lighting and storage.
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