According to survey after survey, more of us are working from home. Whether part time or full time, most of us need a functional space at home where we can get some work done.
Of course, we don’t all have the space to dedicate completely to a home office, which means that we often end up with a mish-mash of office and home furniture and piles of paper cluttering up our lives. You’ll be amazed by what can come from rethinking the way you use your space and your furniture, so don’t give up on that home office yet. We’ve got five solid tips to get you started.
1. Hide It in a Closet
One of our favorite solutions is to tuck your home office into an existing closet. Of course, you give up some clothing space, but you gain the ability to close the door on when you’re working. We’ve found you can fit a very functional office into any standard reach-in closet by maximizing every inch.
Start at the top by installing a simple row of kitchen cabinets, being careful to account for the closet overhang. Deep storage materials can be moved to the top of the cabinets themselves to get the most out of the space. Next, bring in base cabinets — you may use up to four two-drawer filing cabinets as the support for your work surface. Finally, choose any solid work surface you like, from simple wood to solid quartz, that runs the length and depth of the closet.
With storage above and storage below, you can keep the desktop clear for your work, as well as secure a spot for your all-in-one printer/fax/scanner.
2. Hide It in Plain Sight
Today’s open floor plans present the opportunity to bring everything out. But again, you don’t want your work life to clutter up your personal life. Start by vowing to never buy office furniture — instead, select furniture that complements your design style. Then, plan for where you’re going to stash that clutter.
Paired with a mid-century credenza for filing and technology, a sofa table is actually a great multipurpose work surface because it makes up in length what it lacks in depth. Again, kitchen cabinets are another great solution here. They come in all styles, so consider adding something that works with your particular aesthetic to hide the day-to-day debris and allows you to close up shop when the time comes.
3. Shelve It
One of the most common rooms we see being used as a makeshift home office is the dining room, which makes perfect sense. There is a lot of space to spread out, and it’s empty for most of the day and evening. What usually happens, however, is that the office takes over and, pretty soon, there’s no more dining room. Instead, an attractive shelving unit or two that uses kitchen cabinet doors to hide office items or wicker baskets to stash everything from files to staplers gives you a place to put your work when the day — or night — is done. This makes it easy to transition back and forth between family time and work time.
4. Consider the Kitchen
There are a couple of reasons why contemporary kitchens often have a small workspace built right in: It’s a very utilitarian space in the first place, and those kitchen cabinets work their magic yet again by giving you room to hide the evidence of office work. If you don’t have that space built in to your kitchen design, the counter or island works just as well, offering more work space and easy access to power sources.
5. Utilize the Utility Room
The utility room is another natural space to tuck away the office. Even more practical in nature than the kitchen, many of our clients like using the utility room because it’s generally shut off from the rest of the house, so distraction is less of an issue. It also gives you a great excuse to renovate that room so that attending to the dirty work at home becomes more pleasant. Bring in some office shelving for cubbies, boxes and binders that keep out the chaos and add that set of kitchen cabinets over the washer and dryer you’ve been wanting for so long. Now you’ve got a work room that really works!
What are your favorite tricks for setting up an office at home?