Creating Your Dream Home Office

Email, faxes and voice mail have forever changed the office concept. Gone are the beige furnishings and the daily rush hour commute for many people who work from home. Depending on the type of business you are in, it may be possible to dodge the corporate office full time or a few days per week. Conducting business from home can save time, offer flexible hours and even tax advantages. You may be able to deduct a portion of your property tax, mortgage interest, and other utilities from your income tax. Check with your local taxation office or accountant for details on restrictions.

Before you decide to work from home you may want re-evaluate your "office". Is it simply a poorly lit table with a computer on top? If so, it may be time to get creative. You can build an addition, renovate an existing room or make upgrades to your current workspace. With any of these options, remember that an office space should be attractive, comfortable, quiet and make efficient use of space.

An addition can be as small as six feet wide-just large enough to accommodate a desk, filing cabinets and even a small meeting table. If you do not anticipate needing the office for the life of your home, consider building an addition, which can easily convert to a solarium, den or music room. Certainly the benefit of starting from scratch is designing exactly the space you want. A high ceiling, French doors leading onto a patio or built-in wall shelves are some of the attractive options.

Renovations to an existing room are typically less expensive than an addition and can be equally creative. If you need both an office and an occasional guestroom, why not simply hide the bed until it's needed? A Murphy bed can fold up against a wall and be concealed behind panelling, which matches the room, or a large decorative screen. The reliable standby sofa bed is another option if you have the space. Choose a quality sofa bed, which can furnish a seating area for clients.

A great new design tool is the interactive CD, which allows you to create and view your ideas before you start building that addition, applying wallpaper or installing shelves. Many offer realistic two-dimensional layout and three-dimensional walking tours. You can purchase these CDs at most computer stores and from the Internet. (A good selection is available at including Bob Vila's Home Design program.)

So whether you decide to bring in builders to add a new room or you just want to rearrange your shelves, a home office is the opportunity to create your ideal work environment. If you are working with limited space and funds, remember that a little ingenuity can go a long way. You might discover new uses for items you already have, or invest in furniture that has dual purposes or can be expanded to provide more workspace.

Consider these design tips:

  • Use a low-pile carpet that allows chairs and carts to roll easily.
  • Get colourful. Many office furniture manufacturers will allow you to use your own fabric (such as a floral print to match your living room couch) at no extra charge.
  • Use an old chest to hold hanging files.
  • Modify an antique liquor or tea trolley to hold your computer equipment.
  • An office door with glass panels will help open up a small space, increase brightness and even help you keep an eye on the kids.
  • Refinish an old armoire to match your office furniture and use it as a stylish filing cabinet.
  • Incorporate pullout designs to provide extra space. There are great new options available from keyboard trays to tables and desks.
  • Plenty of natural light will reduce eyestrain, however, ensure that the computer and windows are positioned to avoid glare on the screen.
  • Add a desk lamp lit with a blue "grow bulb" from a garden or hardware store to provide a full spectrum of light.
  • Velcro fasteners on the underside of a desk are cheap, effective means of concealing computer and telephone wires.
  • If you are buying new equipment consider a space-saving multifunction peripheral (MFP) which combines the features of a printer, copier, fax machine and even a scanner.
  • Position your monitor to be arm's length from your body with the top few lines of text at eye level.
  • Your chair should be low enough that your feet rest on the floor or on a footrest.
  • All frequently used equipment should be placed in front of you to avoid twisting.

Once you have that dream home office your spouse may still say you spend too much time at work but at least the commute will be short!


Touch base with local Abbotsford realtors like Kristy Dusdal to discuss real estate for sale in Abbotsford.   Abbotsford has a varlety of property options to choose from. View current Abbotsford real estate listings like farms for sale in Abbotsford or acreage for sale in Abbotsford




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Choosing the Right Houseplants?

There are many factors that are involved in choosing the right houseplant. You do not need to change the environment inside your house to suit the plants. Choose plants that have both aesthetic appeal and practicality. Consider your lifestyle … do you have the time to devote towards taking care of the plants? Are you a “plant dedicated” person?

Take a look around and evaluate the inside of your house and décor. One factor to consider is to make sure the temperature in the room is nice and toasty! The lighting and the direction of the window in that room is also very important to consider.

Does the room have a draft? Make sure to put plants away from a drafty window in the winter time. Certain plants do not like cold temperatures and it is important to consult with plant nursery staff to ensure an optimal growing environment.

Other factors to consider are: What is your decoration style and theme of the room? Is it Oriental, formal, casual, etc? Will the plant enhance the theme, or go against it? Is there an architectural element in the room you want to disguise or highlight? Where you positioned the plant is very important!

Consider the overall look and feel of the room and decide on what visual texture the plant should have. For instance, tall and spiky, tall and wide, big and dramatic, soft and fluffy, small and eye-catching, etc…etc.

Once you have decided where the plant is going to be in the room, you have to decide what type of plants you want in there. This can be difficult for some people especially if they do not know what they want at the first place.

You can buy virtually any type of plants from your local nursery. Your local nursery staff can advise you on the type of plants you are looking for if you provide them with the descriptions of your room and all the aforementioned factors.

Here are some of my personal favorites (ranked by size):

Small plants (at full size, less than 1 foot tall)

  • African violet, cactus, dracaena and maidenhair fern

Medium plants (between one and three feet tall at full size)

  • Chinese evergreen, wax plant, spider plant, and velvet plant

Large plants (usually over 3 feet tall or long)

  • Christmas cactus, jade plant, lady palm, rubber plant and weeping fig

If you are looking for plants that are easy to grow (low maintenance) without much effort, try these: Chinese evergreen, cacti, dracaenas, jade plant and ficus.

If you are “chi” or “yin yang” conscious, you may want to consult a Feng Shui master. The type of plants and the positioning of the plant are very important for the flow of good energy.

Again, if you are still undecided, there are many books about houseplants in the library that you can do your own research before you start your project.


View Abbotsford real estate listings and connect with local Abottsford realtors like Kristy Dusdal to find the perfect home for all your plants.  


See Abbotsford real estate now and happy houseplanting!!




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