Many of us have spent the last year with our lives in complete uproar. Kids were home from school, and you had to figure out a way to get your work done in a home that might not have had enough space for a home office. Now life is starting to get back to normal, but maybe you spend more time working from home, and you’d like a designated space for professional work where you don’t have to clean up after yourself every day.
So how do you fit an office space into the living room with TVs, couches, bookcases, and often kid toys? All it takes is some creative thinking, ingenuity, and maybe a compromise on the size of your desk.
Behind the Sofa
Unless your sofa is pushed up against a wall, you likely have an awkward amount of space behind your couch. Maybe there’s a small table with some nick-nacks, a bookcase, or even a reading chair. Consider transforming this space into a mini-office. Placing an office desk behind a couch allows for the room to still feel open while you get ample space for work. Of course, it might require you to find a new home for your bowl of decorative lemons, but you’re likely to get more use out of an office space anyway. You can even claim some of the bookcases behind you for office supplies, and still, keep an eye on the kids as you work.
Use that Unused Nook
It might have a small table in it, it might be the home of your favorite plants, but that unused nook probably isn’t as functional as it could be. Find new places for your plant friends and slide your desk into the nook or corner. While it might not have a great view, it’s likely to be out of the way and will give you enough space to work. With your back to the house, you might even find it easier to concentrate; however, it might be harder to keep the Zoom meeting interruptions down when the camera is facing into your home. As kids go back to school and things are slowly getting back to normal, this might not be as big of a hurdle as it once was, but it’s still something to keep in mind.
For more storage options in a nook desk space, you might consider floating shelves above the desk. Here you can store notebooks, pens and highlighters, and any other tools you might need to have the most productive day ever.
What About a Mini Desk?
The media tells us that the bigger the desk we have, the more successful and important we are. However, this is neither true nor helpful in our “I need an office space in my living room” problem. Although you might already have a desk that you love, if you can’t find a space big enough for it, it might be time to consider downsizing. With computers and tablets getting smaller and smaller, a mini desk might get the job done while you get your job done. Mini desks are also more affordable and will fit into almost any corner. They can also double as end tables or be stored in a closet when not in use.
Grab a cup of coffee and your laptop, turn on some “coffee house vibes,” and pretend you’re in your favorite coffee shop while you smash out your work.
Make Way in the Hallway
Not all hallways are created equal, but some are pretty wide and might even have enough space for a long table where you throw your keys and unopened mail. Instead of collecting clutter, maybe turn that space into an office corner. You can still hear the kids in the living room, but you can tune them out and get your work done simultaneously. Find a desk chair with a low profile, and you’ll likely not even notice the little extra space it takes up. And now you might even be forced to open that mail instead of letting it sit there collecting dust!
Transform Shelving into Desk Space
You might be an avid reader, or you might be an avid home decor collector; either way, that large bookcase in your living room might be the perfect place for a small home office. By changing the layout and adding a wider “shelf” near desk height, you can create a mini desk space without losing your bookcase. This is ideal for working on a laptop or tablet when you don’t need too much space for a computer, and you likely don’t have too many office supplies that need storing. Of course, you might have to remove one or two shelves on the bottom so you can fit your feet under the desk, but then the chair can slide right in, and you haven’t taken up too much space for your at-home office.
Take Over a Wall
Some can get away with a mini desk or a bookshelf desk, but some of us need space for desktops and even multiple screens. Instead of trying not to disturb your living room, why not take up a whole wall for your living room office space? Even though you might have to find new homes for bookshelves or big plants, the ample amount of space for creative and productive work will more than make up for it. You might even get away with two desks so both you and your partner can get work done side by side. Find desks that fill almost the whole wall and have enough depth for your computer and keyboard and get to work from home. The coffee is better here anyway!
Places like IKEA are excellent places to look for small space solutions, but you can also make your own with some of these ideas. Enjoy your home to its fullest and work from home in your own space. You’ll find that having a designated area for professional work increases your productivity and makes it easier for family members to understand when you’re busy. You might be begging your boss to stay at home!