Design Distractions: The Real Reason You Can't Concentrate In Your Home Office

Whether you work from home full-time or take one day a week out from your workplace, a home office is now a standard for any modern professional. It’s a space in which you’re sure to spend a lot of time and get a lot done. At least, that’s the plan. Hence, there’s more focus than ever on designing a home office fit for your purposes.

But, if you can’t concentrate in the space, you have no chance of producing any work of worth. Anything you do manage to get done will be illegible at best. Such is the nature of only having half your mind on the job. Don’t make the mistake, either, of thinking that concentration is automatically better at home. You won’t have to deal with the noise of co-workers. But, there are a few design distractions out there which could ruin your concentration altogether.

As such, it’s worth considering these fatal flaws if you’re struggling to get your head down at home.

The color scheme is too loud

A major mistake from the off would be to decorate with a loud color scheme. When attempting to create a concentration-inducing haven, the last thing you want is to splash bright red paint over the walls. As well as giving you a headache, this is sure to impact your ability to work. While your walls may not be distracting, loud colors could soon cloud your mind and affect your thinking. And, when that happens, you can kiss goodbye to producing anything decent.

Instead, opt for stripped back, basic colors. Whites and creams are always a good bet here as they produce the impression of a blank canvas. They’re neutral and non-impeding and will allow you to approach each task with a clear headspace. If these more basic colors don’t appeal, you could always opt for gray walls. These are becoming increasingly fashionable in home offices, and are a fantastic compromise. The color is still basic enough not to prove a distraction, yet it adds an extra level of interest. You may even want to play around with a feature color wall if all else fails. This way, you can add a splash of brightness which needn’t even come into play where your work is concerned. If you turn your desk away from the main wall, you won’t even notice it’s there most of the time. If you’re unsure what would work, don’t be afraid to test out a few strips of color in front of your desk. That way, you'll be able to see which proves best.

Too much clutter

There’s also a temptation to indulge in clutter within your office space. After all, scholars always seem to have imposing bookcases and artefacts on display. If the movies are anything to go by, you should even go all out with family pics on your desk.

But, as fantastic as those vast bookcases can be, nothing’s quite as bad for distraction. This is especially the case if you fill those shelves with books which interest you. And, why wouldn’t you? After all, an empty shelf doesn’t look great. But, a book-filled shelf doesn’t serve well either. Before you know it, you’ll have spent all morning browsing your library instead of working. In truth, the less you have in your office space, the better. Instead of cluttering the room, you want to create a stylish workspace which leans on the side of minimalism. Forget family photographs; you don’t want anything on your desk but your laptop and a few necessary notepads. Forget bookshelves and focus on keeping the space clean and fresh. Even if you have already-fitted shelves in alcoves, fill them with plants instead of possible distractions. It’s also worth keeping your walls bare. You could risk one art print on the wall behind your desk if you’re desperate. But, as a general rule, art on the walls could lead to hours of lost time. Do away with it to save you from yourself.

You don’t have everything you need

This point may seem contradictory but bear with us. As much as you want to avoid clutter in your office, you also need to have everything necessary to hand. If you need to leave the space to get that reference book, you’re going to lose your flow. And, that can be as disruptive as the bookcases you worked hard to get rid of. As such, it pays to focus on making the most of storage within the space. That way, you can keep everything handy without it being on display. And, that’s undeniably the best of both worlds.

Desks with storage included are your best here. This would involve not even having to move from your chair. Equally, you could keep that bookcase, but fill it instead with solid boxes you can’t see through. It may also be worth incorporating options such as a printer cart. This can look stylish and also provide you more space for paperwork and the like. At each step, though, make sure you consider whether a feature would distract. If yes, do away with that plan and replace it with something less obvious. Again, placing much of your storage on the wall opposite your desk should at least go some way towards reducing the risks here.

Your temperature is all wrong

It’s likely you took a fair amount of time deciding on which room you would like to use for your home office. But, during those deliberations, it’s less likely you considered the role temperature would play in your work. The bad news is that temperature plays a huge part in concentration. Too hot, and you’re sure to suffer. Too cold, and you’ll struggle to concentrate on anything else. The good news is, it’s easy to control that temperature with a few different design features.

The most obvious option here would be to install an HVAC system which can take care of your heating and cooling needs. This would be ideal, as it gives you the opportunity to change the temperature either way. And, given how crucial this will become to your work life, it’s also worth developing a maintenance plan with a company like Harster Heating. That way, you can be sure you’ll never need to go without.

If a heating and cooling system doesn’t appeal, you could always settle for smaller alternatives. These could also become fantastic design features within the room. Most obviously, you could invest in a stylish desk fan which will cool you when you need it. You could also buy yourself a fake fire heater and keep it in your alcoves for when you get chilly. Either way, tackle temperature if you want to increase production.

Your desk is in the wrong place

More often than we realize, distractions in home offices are nothing more than bad positioning. As we’ve already mentioned, placing things on the wall opposite your desk is a fantastic way to remove distractions. It’s also worth considering which wall you have your desk up against. Often, we opt for the wall with the view. After all, those rolling hills will be good for your creativity, won’t they?

Not necessarily. In fact, placing a desk in front of a window can be a sure way to distraction city. Instead, you should focus on putting it somewhere with as little to look at as possible. A blank, white wall is your best bet here. Equally, a window which looks out onto your neighbor’s wall should be a safe bet. Either way, you want to ensure you can’t get lost in a daydream when staring at the view in question.

The room is too loud

Another issue worth addressing is that of noise. Admittedly, your home office is always likely to be quieter than a work office would be. But, at work, you’re surrounded by the gentle clatter of other people getting tasks done. At home, you may fall foul to people in the street, the rumbling of trains, and many other non-work related noises. And, those are less likely to be conducive to your efforts. If you notice sound is an issue, it’s worth doing what you can do block the impact. Often, turning away from the window can help here. It’s also worth installing double glazing if you don’t have it already. This can go a long way towards blocking outside sound. If noise is an issue after these efforts, it may be worth thinking of more extreme measures. Insulating blinds are a good idea if you don’t mind leaving the light on. Equally, you could use carpets and rugs as sound insulation. You’ll certainly notice a difference compared to wooden floors. If these measures don’t work, you may want to think about moving your office to a different space. Even something as simple as moving to the other side of your house should do the trick here. And, if it’s this or not being able to concentrate, it should be apparent what the best choice is.