How to style your Outdoor Garden Office
14 Minute Read
Post-pandemic and lockdowns, there has been more demand than ever for offices at home. When we’re working, we need a peaceful space, away from the hustle and bustle where children and pets roam. But with house prices remaining high, and many homes already at capacity, we’re having to be more creative to make office space. Where extensions simply aren’t a possibility, a garden office may be the solution. If you’re considering making your office in a garden room – be that in a summer house, conservatory, or even an upgraded beach hut, follow our tips to make your space as peaceful, and functional as possible.
You might already have a summer house, or even a shed that can be adapted to be used as your garden office – but as with all home decoration projects, planning a garden office is key. You’ll need to think about:
- How many people does the office space need to comfortably seat? Is there a possibility that might change in the future?
- How big is your budget?
- If you’re installing a new building, there any ground work that needs to occur before you can get started?
- What insulation and heating is required if the garden office is to be used year round?
- Is there electricity? If not, this may influence the location – closer to the house will minimise the costs.
- Does your Wi-Fi reach your garden office? Do you need a Wi-Fi booster, or will you need a separate connection?
- Can you access the garden office safely, without getting wet and muddy?
Once you have the practicalities sorted out, you’ll be able to start styling both the exterior, and interior of your garden office.
Outside your garden office
While you’ll probably end up spending more time inside your office than looking at the exterior, you’ll still want it to look great, no matter how big your garden, and your office is. There might be other aspects to consider outside your garden office, but these are just a few things to think about before you get started.
Whether you want your garden office to look like the garden was designed with it, and like it was always there, or you want it to be an eye-catching feature, planting around the outside of the office will need some planning. You might work with a garden designer, or simply add plant pots to brighten up the outside, allowing you to make changes season to season. But planting doesn’t have to take up loads of your budget – pieces like your desk should take priority! If you already have a reasonably mature garden, you can split plants, take cuttings, and move pots around to make the exterior of your home office look great.
Safety needs to come first when you’re going to and from your garden office – especially if you’re carrying your laptop and mugs of tea! Slips and trips are definitely not great for your productivity, so make sure the route to your garden office is clear and kept free of mud, moss, and leaves. If you’re in your garden office during hours of darkness, especially during the winter, then ground or stake lights might be necessary. Solar lights with PIR sensors mean that you’ll get the lighting you need, when you need it, without disturbing wildlife, or adding to your electricity bill.
During the glorious days of summer, you might want to work outside your garden office rather than inside. If that sounds good, then find a canopy that you can easily install over the space, to protect yourself from sunburn, and to prevent glare on your laptop screen. Sail inspired canopies can be found relatively inexpensively during the early summer, are simple to put up and remove, and look chic.
Inside the garden office
How you decide to style your garden office will depend very much on what you do, and how you plan to use your garden office – as well as your preferences for interior design. These are some of the things you’ll want to think carefully about before getting started.
The colour palette
You may already have a vision in mind, and the opportunities really are endless, but some of the colour schemes we have seen look great in garden offices include:
- Pastel seaside hues
- Pretty country garden
- Soft neutrals such as grey and beige, accessorising with pops of colour
- Ocean-inspired tones of blue and green
- Clean white, with navy blue and red accents
- Playing up the colours of the natural wood, with neutral decorations made from natural materials
The choice really is yours here, and the right colours will depend on the size of your garden office, and your personal taste. If you’re looking for more ideas, we recommend browsing Pinterest – you’ll find more inspiration than you could ever want or need.
Office desk and chair
Most of us have encountered working at a really bad desk at some point or another, whether is the wrong height, too small, or simply a repurposed kitchen table. But being comfortable at your desk means that you’ll be much more productive, so it is well worth getting it right. If a simple table is the right style for your garden office, our rustic office desk with hairpin legs is a great option, and our range of box frame furniture has several styles with chunkier legs to make more of a statement. If your office furniture needs to multi-task, and be brought outside for al fresco dining on sunny days, then our garden tables might suit too. As always with our range of solid wooden furniture, you can choose the perfect wax finish.
Comfort and keeping your back safe also means that a great chair is also essential. There are plenty of great office chairs that are designed ergonomically, so protecting your back doesn’t need to be boring.
Even if all your work is done purely on a laptop that you can pick up and take with you, there are nearly always bits and bobs that you’ll want to keep in your garden office. Adding a few shelves to your garden office allows you to place baskets that can keep those extra cables and office supplies tidied away.
Shelving doesn’t just make for great storage though. As we’ve talked about on our blog plenty of times, wooden shelving can be a great way to provide visual interest for a room, and having a few shelves means you can style them for each season – and of course, means you can share those #shelfies with your remote colleagues.
When your family start to use the garden during the summer, the potential for distraction is high, and even higher if your garden office overlooks other gardens or a road. Keep those distractions to a minimum by adding curtains or a blind. They don’t have to be heavy – simple gauzy voile curtains are inexpensive and can provide just enough coverage to shield you from passers-by and children.
You can also get privacy by shielding the outside of your garden office. Tall plants in pots, or a climbing plant on a trellis are great options – honeysuckle, jasmine, and clematis all look pretty and smell gorgeous they flower.
When you’re styling your home with plants, you can treat them much like any other accessory that you might be using to decorate your home with, such as artwork, lamps, and vases. In this section, we’re offering tips on how to make the most of plants in your home.
Your planters don’t need to be limited to sitting on shelves and other surfaces either – hanging planters are popular at the moment, and are perfect for ferns, spider plants and different types of ivy. They can be hung from ceilings, and from underneath shelves – perfect for under bracket shelves.
Some of our favourites are below:
When it comes to winter, your garden office is going to be chilly, but since you’ll have electricity in your garden office, heating is a possibility with simple fan heaters, or oil-filled radiators. Keep them on a plug on a timer, and you’ll never have to wait for your office to warm up.
While fan heaters and radiators are functional, they’re not always that attractive, but there are other options. We love the look of electric log burning stoves, which gives you the cosy look and feel of a fire in a log cabin, without the workload of a real log burner.
Once you’ve got the main elements in, it is time to accessorise! This is where the fun really begins, because it depends on the décor you’ve gone for – and you can keep things as minimal, or maximalist as much as you like. Accessories to consider include:
- Rugs to help keep the cold out
- Artwork or photo prints
- Mirrors to reflect light, if the space is dark
- Plants to blur the lines between the garden and the office
- An easy chair with cushions
When you’re choosing accessories for a garden office, remember that garden rooms may get cold and damp, especially through the autumn and winter, and if you don’t use them for a while. Even your garden office is well insulated, it is best to keep fine art and expensive accessories inside your home – just in case of mould or mildew setting in. Use your home office for those fun purchases, or thrift store buys that matter so much if they end up needing to be replaced.
Our final thoughts
The garden office is almost certainly here to stay, and we love it – there are so many great purpose-built designs, as well as repurposed spaces. Whether you want to make your garden office look professional, or for it to express your personality as an extension of your home, there are some wonderful options. When you’re looking for the perfect furniture for your garden office, check out our range of solid wooden desks and shelving – and as always, don’t forget to tag us in your Instagram posts @bensimpsonfurniture.
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