Stylist and bestselling author Selina Lake knows a thing or two about designing beautiful spaces. In her new book, ‘Natural Living Style’, Selina shares her expert tips and inspiration for making your home sing with simple, natural style while being more sustainable and eco-friendly. Starting with your home work space…
IMAGE: RACHEL WHITING
When it comes to working from home, any nook and corner can be turned into a functional work space as long as there’s room for a desk and chair. The most sustainable type of lighting is natural light, so position your desk under or next to a window. Access to fresh air (and perhaps a leafy view) will also be beneficial.
Keep things simple – install any necessary tech, but draw the line at plastic folders and cheap ballpoints. I have invested in pens made from recycled plastic, along with folders and notebooks made of recycled paper. Baskets or boxes holding files or stationery or for recycling can be stowed away under the desk.
Before heading out to buy new furniture, look for second-hand office furniture that you can upcycle if necessary. I found an old wooden filing cabinet several years ago and it has moved around with me, taking up residence in all my home offices. If you have no access to natural light or if you are tucked away in a dark corner, you will require effective task lighting – choose a desk lamp that works with energy-efficient LED bulbs.
This overhead light has a long arm that can be manoeuvered across the table to wherever task lighting is necessary. The skylights allow natural light to flood into the room and can be opened to fill the space with fresh air too.
This alcove to one side of the chimney breast in an old Dutch farmhouse has the original wooden structure of the house on show, while the white-painted walls and ceiling keep the space fresh and bright. Light floods in from the glazed doors at one side and a small internal window. The desk is an antique table in dark stained wood, and the bright green chair is a classic Eames design from the 1950s – a piece to be treasured.
IMAGES: RACHEL WHITING
Creative spaces: An interior designer’s tranquil home office space
If you work from home, it’s important to consider the following factors when you create your ideal work space: natural light, fresh air, a comfy chair and recycling systems for paper and other waste.
This fabulous high-ceilinged space in London (below) belongs to interior designer Beth Dadswell of Imperfect Interiors and is pretty much the dream home office-cum-studio. It boasts a huge window overlooking a compact courtyard and a skylight above that floods the room with natural light – entirely sustainable and essential when making design decisions on paint samples and fabric swatches.
IMAGE: RACHEL WHITING
Built-in storage runs all the way around the walls, creating a handy work surface. A collection of moodboards relating to work in progress are propped up against the far wall. The cushioned retro-style brown velvet office chair was a second-hand buy, while various baskets make ideal storage for bits and pieces, including paper recycling. The walls are eco-friendly lime plaster, with the beamed ceiling adding visual interest.
Selina’s eco-friendly office tips
Zero-waste tip: If you commute or head out for meetings, invest in a cup for coffee on the run. I work from home or on location, but often travel into London for meetings and press reviews. Disposable coffee cups are currently not recyclable, which causes huge amounts of waste. Take your own cup and most places will also offer you a discount on your coffee. I love the bamboo takeaway cups by Ecoffee.
Style tip: I always add natural greenery for a botanical feel, while plants will purify the air; some good options include spider plants, trailing ivy and philodendrons.
Zero-waste tip: Invest in a reusable metal bottle designed to replace single-use plastic water bottles. Make a notepad by tearing up pieces of waste paper and securing with a metal clip.
Style tip: If your work space is housed in an open-plan interior or is at one end of a room so that you can’t close the door on it at the end of the working day, then hang a linen curtain to close off the space during downtime.
Extract taken from Natural Living Style by Selina Lake, photography by Rachel Whiting, published by Ryland Peters & Small, RRP £19.99. Out now.
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