If there is one thing that 2020 has taught us, it’s that having a home office is non-negotiable. Those of us who had previously never spent a day working from home suddenly found ourselves scrambling to cobble together some kind of home office.
We found ourselves working from couches, dining rooms, spare bedrooms, and basements, or some combination. After month two of working from home, I had clients reaching out to see if I could help them add a home office into their space. Some made a more drastic decision to even move to a larger space to accommodate this seemingly new norm.
For a lot of people, dedicating a whole room to a home office isn’t realistic—maybe you don’t have space, or you just can’t see the value of committing so much real estate to something that may not be used every day. Regardless of the reason, there are lots of ways to create a functional home office without taking up an entire room.
Who says a home office has to have it’s own four walls? A home office doesn’t have to be a self-contained space to be functional and beautiful.
Turn a closet into a home office
If working in a closet sounds like a nightmare to you, just hear me out! A closet is a great place to put a home office—it is compact, efficient, and most rooms have a closet, meaning your office can be anywhere in your home.
When building out a closet office, it is important to think about lighting and electrical outlets. You want to make sure that you can plug in all your office essentials without having to run extension cords across your home. If you can access natural light in your space, that is always best, but at the bare minimum, think about where you will put a secondary source of light.
Remember to think vertically—when you’re dealing with a small space, it’s important to make the most of every inch. Utilize the space above (and below) the desk for storage. It’s also a great idea to think about overhead lighting to keep your desk free from clutter.
Most closets have some kind of door, which gives you a unique opportunity to create a completely concealed office space. Taking the doors off a closet often gives you a bit more space to work with. But if the space is available to you, there’s something satisfying about ending your day by literally closing the door on your work!
Create an office nook
Every house has a nook—an under-utilized space that sits completely vacant or has a side table just gathering dust. Take advantage of these spaces in your home and create a home office that fits your needs.
Think about the potentially wasted space in your home. It’s there if you really look for it—under stairs, large landings, entryways, hallways, living rooms, kitchens or dining rooms. With a few thoughtful touches, these spaces can transform into functional, intentional offices.
In your living room, think about adding a desk behind your couch. This gives the feeling of a separate space and takes advantage of an often neglected area in the living room. Also, consider floating wall units and wall mounted desks to transform the space into a home office.
Put the unused space in your hallways to work with a nook home office. The use of an L-shaped desk can really optimize the square footage you have to work with. Again, don’t forget to think vertically and add shelving, a pegboard or other essentials on the walls above the desk.
A large entryway can also double as a home office with the addition of a simple desk and stylish—but comfortable—chair.
It can be as simple as putting a desk and comfortable chair into an empty corner of a room—this works really well in master bedrooms and guest bedrooms.
If you really can’t find the nook in your home, think about switching up your furniture arrangement in some of your larger rooms and see if you can create a space perfect for a home office. Consider using slim-line furniture to avoid making the space feel cluttered and cramped—while you may have your eye on that hardwood, executive-style desk, you may want to opt for a more modern desk when sharing real estate.
Take advantage of counter space with a kitchen office
The kitchen is almost always a good room to put an office as there is a lot of counter and cupboard space already available.
Look around your kitchen for a dead space—is there a place where clutter constantly lives, or a space that just doesn’t get used? An empty wall coupled with a table and a work chair is all you need to start a home office in your kitchen.
It’s a great idea to build a small desk-area into your kitchen, but if you are past that point, think about how you can use furniture or cabinets that match or complement your existing kitchen. Semi-custom cabinets will allow you the flexibility to create a space that functions within your home office needs.
If you aren’t working with just a laptop, consider wall-mounting your monitor to save on space—this will allow you to have a much lower profile on your desk/table while also giving you the space to work more comfortably.
Get to work!
Take some time to look around your home and consider where a home office could fit. Look for the nooks and dead spaces that we talked about above keeping in mind that you need to find a space where you’ll be able to work in your home.
This means thinking about how other people use the spaces and what level of concentration you personally need to get your work done.
If you’re stuck on where a home office could fit into your home, shoot me an email and we can work together to create your functional home office.