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Setting Up a Home Office

Source: Blueprint, 2006


No one wants to bring the office -- or the cubicle -- home: the humming fluorescent overhead light, the hulking steel filing cabinets, the horrid acoustic-tile ceilings. But you can leave the bad parts of office design behind and employ the sensible, comfort- (and sanity-) friendly rules at home. For one, start with a work surface that's about 29 or 30 inches high for proper ergonomic form. And Marilyn Zelinsky, author of "The Inspired Workspace," points out that a flat-panel monitor requires 25 to 30 percent less space than a full-size monitor. (Gather the cords together, then run them down one table leg with white poster putty.)

The freebulled-up desk space could be just the spot for a task light or lamp fitted with a xenon bulb, which burns cooler than halogen and gives a natural light, says architect Neal Zimmerman, author of "Home Workspace Idea Book." While he doesn't recommend putting a monitor in front of a window (which can cause glare and squinting), he realizes that some spaces offer no other choice. In that case, hang blinds so you can control the amount of light coming in.

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