Home offices come in many shapes and sizes. Often, when there isn’t any specific room allocation for a home office or a den, it ends up taking over the spare bedroom, a landing at the top of the stairs, or any available “leftover” space.
Designing A Home Office That’s Not So Officious
If the office is going to be in the guest bedroom, you don’t necessarily want it to look like an office. This means you would have to have some hidden storage and think about how some of your furniture can do double duty – such as a Murphy-style bed that’s actually a desk that folds down into a bed, or a nightstand that doubles as the desk.
Nightstands are typically quite small, but it’s an easy way to go if you don’t need a large desk – say if you only need it for writing. Then, it is your desk when it’s your office, but it’s a dressing table or a nightstand next to the bed when it’s a guest room.
Home Office Storage Challenges
The real challenge in organizing the home office is storage, so you’ll need to think about what items you need and where you’re going to hide them.
Do you have a lot of filing? Filing cabinets? Is there office equipment to consider, like printers, computers, and so on? Think about the stuff that you don’t want to see or need to get at every day versus the things you use all the time. You want everything to be accessible but organized in such a way that your things can be hidden quickly if needed.
Depending on how “messy” these things are, you might choose open shelves or cubbies, but your closet could also become the hideaway. If your file cabinet and supplies can fit into the closet, you can install extra shelving in there and then close it off completely when you have guests.
Creating A Healthy Home Office Environment
A lot of home offices tend to be in “leftover” spaces in the home, either in the basement or an extra bedroom. Quite often, they don’t have a lot of natural light, but if you’re working from home more than you’re not, having natural light is pretty important.
If this is the case, then the location of the office is more important than what you put in it. People perform differently in different atmospheres, but in general, science says that natural light has a direct correlation to productivity. You will get far more accomplished if you are comfortable in the room.
Making The Most Of “Leftover” Spaces
If you’re using leftover space in your home for a dedicated workspace, that doesn’t mean that everything that goes in there has to be leftover too.
Since you’re going to be working in there a lot, it should be comfortable and pleasant to be in. Paint the walls your favorite color. Get a comfortable, ergonomic chair. Put a plant in there – do things that will make it nice – like it’s a space you want to be in, not just that unused space you don’t know what else to do with.
If the room doesn’t have access to natural light, plants can give the room some oxygen and make it feel like it’s alive and not just some dark corner of the basement that nobody wants to go into.
Psychological Factors In Home Office Design
Good lighting is always important in the home office, both for health reasons (reduce eye strain, improve mood) and for practical purposes (you need to see). Install an overhead light and put a lamp at your desk if you need it. Choosing “indoor sunshine” light bulbs can be helpful too, especially if you lack windows.
Position your desk and chair so that you face the door. If your back is to the door, you’ll always be looking over your shoulder. The same concept applies to windows – you don’t want to be sitting in such a way that you’re going to be looking behind you all the time.
It Doesn’t Have To Look Like An Office
In conclusion, no rule says your home office has to look like an office. Go to Home Goods and get a pillow. Choose a nice rug, a pretty light fixture, some art that makes you happy, a record player – it’s your space, so make it whatever you want it to be!
Are you thinking about redesigning your home office? We’d love to hear your ideas! Schedule a free consultation today and let’s talk about it.