Specialty Rooms: The Home Office

When it comes to your Home Office there are many options to fit the different needs required by such a space.  Whether you are looking to house your home business or just a place to get organized, there is a solution to fit every need, budget, and space constraint.  The home office is the perfect place to organize your business, your hobbies, your kid’s school work, or the bills and paperwork for the household.  There is also much versatility available in the design, location, and organization of a home office space.  From the traditional study to a conveniently located and organized nook, the home office can offer exactly what you need, where and when you need it.

First off, you need to decide on the purpose of your office.

  1. Is it a location for your home business or for working a few days out of the house?  If so, do you need to be able to interact with others in your office and entertain outside clients and guests in the space.  If this is the case, an office located in a public area of your home is the answer.  Many people are turning their formal living room or dining room areas, which are typically located off their entryway, into home offices that offer a public purpose.  You do not want to ask your client to walk through your entire house to an office stuck in the back corner, if you don’t need to.  It offers a much more professional option if your space is located near a public entry or perhaps even has it’s own entry from the outside.
  2. Is your office for your personal use for household tasks or hobbies?  Is it for your kids to use to do school work?  How many people do you want to be able to use the space at one time?  You need to consider who is using your home office space and when.  A single desk is great for one person at a time, but will not serve multiple people at a time.  Perhaps consider multiple workstations, one for each person, either all in the same room or perhaps located throughout the house where there is available space.  If you do not have a single room to dedicate to an office there are many options for space saving techniques and offices that fit just about anywhere.

Your office can come in many different sizes, styles, and locations.  Peruse the gallery for a few ideas, but don’t limit your imagination on where you may be able to fit an office in your home.  There are the traditional options where an entire room is dedicated to an office or study or perhaps combined with a library as well.  These are great options for a professional office since they lend a formal touch to the space.  However, there are also options where you many have a family office, with work stations for your tasks as well as a few places for the kids to do homework or work on projects.  This space is typically rather large, but can house a lot of functions and storage if it is organized well.  The multi-purpose office is also a great combination of spaces.  Incorporating a desk and organized office storage area into your kitchen, laundry room, or family room can allow a room to be used for more than one function.  If you want some division or distinction between the spaces, a room divider or screen works well as a non-permanent element that allows your office to be open or closed to the rest of the room.  If you have a small area you are not sure what to do with, maybe a slightly over-sized closet or a dead end hallway, you may be able to transform that space into an efficient office are.  You only need about 4′-5′ for the width of a desk with storage above and below.  Finally, for those who are extremely limited on space, the nook, closet, or furniture office may be your best bet.  These take up little to no space in your room and can often be closed or tucked away to blend into the background of any space when not in use.  The dead space between two closets, or the closet that should really be cleaned out and re-purposed, or the corner of a room that could house a piece of furniture and nothing more can become the perfect spaces for your out of the way, space saving office.

Once you determine the purpose and location of your office, there are a few elements to consider.  Organization, as in any room, can make or break your office design.  You often require quite a few items in your office, a computer or laptop, storage, paper, pens, books, files, etc.  The best way to make your office work for you is to use an organizational system that works and makes sense to you.  A work surface is where to start.  Whether you use a traditional desk, a table, or just a simple shelf, determine the size required to accommodate your projects.  Remember a desktop takes up much more room than an laptop and is a  permanent feature on the desk.  Make sure to leave enough room or provide additional work surface for paperwork and projects.  Whether you go with built-in or movable, cabinets, shelves and drawings are absolutely necessary to organizing your office.  A combination of open and closed storage is key to keeping the items you are constantly using handy, while storing the necessary but not frequently used items out of sight.

And finally, make your space your own.  If you have natural light or a great view, take advantage of that in your space.  Face your desk towards a window or into an adjacent space to keep from constantly looking at the same wall.  Decorate the space to fit your taste and enhance your productivity.  Use vibrant colors to stimulate the mind and variety to keep you interested in the space.  Even if you have a small area, hang a few pictures or paint it a different color.  It will make your office feel unique and give it a sense of it’s own space.  And in the end, just make sure to get the most out it and make your Home Office a space that works for you and your home.

Written By: JoAnna Landers

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