Creating a supportive environment is not a quick fix, so as much as I want to do a big reveal of the new office, it’s still a work in progress. Today I’ll share what we’ve changed and how we’re going forward, because working in stages is important when designing for ADHD or any highly specific needs.
(You can read the start of the journey here)
What has changed
We completed the painting for the whole room, which is actually a large multi-use space that includes a working area, a tv-games area, and a playroom area.
When researching the little information about ADHD and design that is out there, I frequently came across advice saying to paint “calming” colours. I don’t know about you, but I found this unhelpful to say the least. It’s mildly insulting: just like for anyone, it isn’t necessarily the case that a person with ADHD need to be “calmed” in order to function. When I’m working, I want to be engaged and energetic, not “calm.”
That said, we chose to repaint in the same neutral colour, mainly because we know that it is bright and cheerful in this north-facing room, and a neutral wall is best when working with photographs, which I obviously do.
We did create a vibrant bright accent wall on the opposite side of the room, where my daughter’s desk and play/craft area is. We removed a dark green rug from the tv area and added a vibrant, stripped woven rug that has all of the colours from the room and more in it.
Overall, with the fresh higher quality paint, new rug, and accent wall, the room feels much brighter and lighter, and I’m super happy with it.
My partner and I have been looking for a standing desk for a long time. He prefers them at work, and I have some back issues that flare up and make sitting difficult, so we wanted one that would look good and function well.
We finally found one (in Owen Sound of all places!) that wasn’t overbuilt, making it reasonable for a home office. Getting it was what prompted the whole office redo.
It’s all set up, and deserving of a post of it’s own! I’ve discovered that it not only is good for my back, but useful for my ADHD as well. I’ll be following up with that in a future post, when I’ve used it for longer and can talk about it in more detail.
This is not super important to the work space, but we moved the modular storage system of dark black cubes I inherited from my grandparents to the livingroom, where it looks infinitely better. We swapped it with a console table which has never had a perfect home since we moved from the place we lived when we bought it, but with the colour changes of the desk and rug, it now fits really nicely in the office!
You’ll see in the picture that two of the black cubes are left. This is an interim solution to the amount of actual storage space that has not been replace. Which brings me to what is still in progress.
Tracking my work
Before we move forward with wall storage or any other storage, I want to know what it is that I really need in my space. There are some things that belong to my partner which will stay as well, because we really only want one desktop computer in the house, and he has a number of digital hobbies he’ll be keeping up with.
So for now we’re letting the desk accumulate some things, and tracking what is piling up, and what is missing.
So far, I’ve realized that I need a place for hair bands and elastics, because I use too-tight ponytails as a way to help focus (this is sort of like a fidget, but keeps both hands free when I’m typing). I waste a fair amount of time wandering around the house trying to find hair elastics.
I’ve also realized I need a spot for my sweater. Now that we have the standing desk, the back of the chair is no longer a way to keep it close at hand.
These aren’t earthshaking realizations, but taking the time to think about them, as well as figure out what is always around the desk and thus needs a place (head phones, charging laptops, bullet journal) is going to make the final storage solution much more efficient, and also make sure that everything I need to work – even the weird things – has a place to live permanently in my work area.
Eventually, we’re going to do something with the Ekat series from Ikea, and probably some cork board and hooks and stuff as well. Not to mention cord control, because while this room is so much more functional than before, those chords are unsightly!
If all this is sounding kinda cool or interesting and you want more, consider joining my ADHD and Design facebook group, The Structured Space! I post more pics and more about process there, and of course you are welcome to bring your own projects for mutual support and ideas.
I will also continue to have occasional updates and ADHD/design focused posts on this blog too. After all, while ADHD does have some specific stuff, a lot of what makes for good ADHD design has general relevance as well. My next post is going to be on the best counter-top materials for the absent minded! 😀
Let me know if there’s something you’d like to see the Structured Space series cover.