The ultimate home office would be a haven of peace and quiet, fitted with all the latest technology and filled with enough inspiration to keep you doing your best work, however, long you spend at your desk.
Your home office needs to be a place where you can find enough peace and privacy to do your work. It should therefore be set up in a separate room, away from the main living areas in your house, if possible. You should take some time planning the layout of your room to make sure that it will feel spacious and comfortable. You will probably want to place your desk so that it faces the door and where your computer screen will not be affected by any glare from the windows. You should organize the rest of your furniture around your desk, making sure that any cabinets and cupboards are easily accessible.
Good lighting is essential in your home office. You should make sure that you will be able to read and use your computer comfortably at any time of the day. In addition to the main light and the windows, you will probably need a good desk lamp. You may also want an extra reading lamp in another part of the room, or to provide an additional source of light at your desk.
Your choice of desk will also be important. You need to find a desk that you will feel comfortable working at, and you should also choose your desk chair with comfort in mind. You may want to choose a computer desk, with space for your screen, keyboard, printer and other pieces of technology. If you prefer to use a laptop, then this will not be as useful. You should make sure that your desk provides you with the right type of storage. Depending on the type of work you do, you may need a CD rack, bookshelves or lockable drawers in your desk. You should also consider how much flat surface you need for writing or sketching.
You will probably need some more storage space, in addition to that provided by your desk. Depending on the types of things you need in your office, you may want to add a filing cabinet, some cupboards or some bookshelves. If you expect to have visitors in your home office, you should make sure there is a chair for your guests. You may want to choose a pair of comfortable chairs and add a coffee table, if you have the space. This will be a good place for you to sit and read if you want a break from your desk, as well as a space where you can sit and talk with any visitors.
It will be useful to have a clock, a calendar and some form of display board, whether it is a corkboard, a magnetic board or a whiteboard on the walls of your office. You should make sure you can see them all from your desk. You may also want to add some interesting artwork to your walls, or make sure that you can see out of the window if you prefer to have something to look at while you work. Don't forget the floor protection with a good chair mat under your chair and desk.
Once you have the room itself set up, it is time to start filling your home office with the equipment you need for your work. The items that you need will depend upon the type of work you do in your office, but they will probably form two basic groups: technology and stationary.
In terms of technology, you will probably need a computer, a printer, a landline phone, and an internet connection, at the very least. You may also want to invest in a scanner, an external hard drive, a fax machine or a headset, depending on how you use your computer. It can also be a good idea to upgrade to a more comfortable keyboard and mouse. If you work in a specialized field, you may need addition items such as a graphics pad or a Dictaphone. All of this technology will involve a lot of wiring, which you should keep as tidy as possible. You can use plastic ties to keep wires together or hold them in place. There are also various clips and types of tubing that can be used to hide your wires and cables away. Remember a web cam for those late night video conferences as well.
You should make sure that you have a charger for you cell phone, and for any other devices that you regularly use in your office. If you often need to charge a number of different devices at the same time, you should get a docking station that will allow multiple items to be charged together.
In addition to your technological office equipment, you will also need to make sure that you have plenty of paper and stationary. You should choose a desk organizer that will enable you to keep everything to hand on your desk, but it is also a good idea to keep some spare stock in a cupboard or desk drawer. As with your technological equipment, the types of stationary you need will vary, but might include pads of A4 paper, notebooks, staples, paperclips, files and folders, pens, pencils and highlighters, stamps and envelopes, and post it notes.
It is also a good idea to make sure you have a few useful reference books in your home office. There may be some books that are particularly useful in your field, but it can also be a good idea to keep an atlas, a dictionary and a thesaurus in your home office.
In the ultimate home office, it is also a good idea to keep a few small treats or comforts to keep you happy while you work. Many people work better with music, so a radio or music system could be useful. You might also want to consider keeping a kettle or coffee machine in your home office, so you can get a drink without having to leave your work behind and get distracted by whoever is in the kitchen. Keeping some gum or candy in your office can also be helpful for the same reason. It can sometimes be a good idea to add a few distractions to your home office, although if you spend too much time reading that magazine or playing with your desk ornaments, they should be exiled from the office immediately.