Indeed, the last year has certainly challenged many of us into figuring out how and where to best work from home. While having a full fledged home office is something we all have our wish list, it is, fortunately, not the only way to have a well functioning, productive and stylish work space. If you’re working with a smaller space and cannot dedicate an entire room to a home office, there are plenty of ways to carve out a corner for yourself.
Decide on the location of your home office
First off, consider spaces that aren’t used very much and have low traffic. While your office will also likely be in a space that is used for other things, your choice will depend on how much it’s used during office hours and by whom. The last thing you need in the middle of a zoom call with a key client is your entire family trundling by, on their way to the kitchen.
The corner of a bedroom, a nook under the stairs, or even a corner of the den are all great options that have lower foot traffic throughout the day but which can double as something else when you’re not using it.
Aim for functionality when furnishing your home office
Putting a desk and a lamp into one of these spaces isn’t enough to make it functional, however. What you want is to make sure that your office isn’t in the way but that you can have everything you need to get your work done, handy and at the ready.
A moveable, room divider, to split off a corner of the room, is ideal for this as it affords you the ability to pull the screen up against your desk space and really ‘close the office’ when you’re done for the day. This also helps to ensure that nobody is going to go back there and mess around with your laptop or lighting. There are beautifully designed room dividers that will look elegant in any decor.
Ensure comfort and productivity with proper lighting
These underutilized spaces are often lacking in creature comforts so the goal is to set it up so that it is functional AND comfortable to be in. Consider your lighting carefully—some natural light is ideal, either to the side or in front of you. Consider also what people on your video calls will be able to see behind you. By having the aforementioned room divider, you can create an easy and elegant backdrop that will hide anyone who happens to be walking by.
If you don’t have natural light, make sure you have enough soft light in front of you, so that your appearance on camera isn’t harsh or glaring. Beyond that, how much this transformation of a space will cost depends entirely on how big it is and what you want to put into it. A standing desk and ergonomic chair, room divider, a couple of foot stools that double as storage units and a small bookcase could run you well over $2500. It’s really down to your personal taste and what you need that you don’t already have in your home.
Stage a scene on the wall space behind you
Above all make sure that the wall space behind where you sit is curated for maximum effect during your zoom meetings. An elegant and subtle look, with neutral colors, will draw the eye without being visually disruptive to meeting attendees. Adding a fresh bouquet of flowers or a plant adds some visual appeal, a cluttered desk with stacks of papers does not. And we all love our families and our kids, but limit the kids art drawings and a multitude of family photos as a backdrop to your zoom calls. Have no doubt that people are checking out your surroundings, so it’s important to keep it professional, while maintaining your personal brand. If crystal chandeliers are your thing, and having one in your home office will flow with the rest of the decor in your home, go for it! The key is to ensure that your home office fits in with the rest of your home.
One very interesting home office design that is becoming increasingly popular is the closet office. Whether that’s a walk-in closet, an unused pantry or a bedroom closet with the doors altered or removed, there are so many options for a closet office that might just fit the bill to keep your work life organized and functional.
Consider remodeling your closet into a home office
Picture it: a master bedroom with his and her closets, one of which doesn’t get used except for as junk storage. Take all the stuff out of the underused one, open up the doors and run some wiring into it for computers and lighting. Presto! You’ve got a closet office, also known as a “Cloffice”!
Tips for converting your closet
- You can add in shelving at the back, as well as a wall mounted desk space, which leaves plenty of room for storage baskets or a rollaway filing cabinet. When you’re done for the day, simply push the chair in (or leave it out, depending on how much depth you have to play with) and shut the doors. Everything is tidy and secure in your closet office, ready for another day. Mix and match or modular closet units offer the type of flexibility you need when setting up this type of an office.
- Another option is to remove the doors entirely, making it an open and accessible space for you to use. Lighting will matter a great deal, particularly if there is a window behind you in the space. If you do get too much light from behind you, consider a moveable room divider or screen here too.
- Painting the inside of the closet a contrasting color to any shelving and/or the desk will create a pleasing visual effect, when the doors are open, and a sense of greater depth, even if you only have a foot and a half of space.
With many people working at home these days, designing the perfect home office is more important than ever. Creating a stress-free and orderly space has the advantage that, while homeowners will utilize the space mostly during the pandemic, it can be appreciated even after life settles down and jobs transition back from remote to in-person.
I want to give a special shout out to Marty Basher is the design and organization expert with Modular Closets, https://www.modularclosets.com. Marty regularly contributes on topics of DIY renovations, home design, organization, improvement and more, helping home owners get the most out of the spaces in their home. Modular Closets are high-quality and easy-to-design closet systems made in the USA you can order, assemble and install yourself, in no time at all. Using closet modules (closet pieces you can mix & match to design your own modular closet), homeowners everywhere are empowered to achieve a true custom closet look- for nearly 40% less than standard custom closets.