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Do you work from home like I do? A ton of my friends and their spouses do, too. And here’s another question: Do you work from home… on the couch? Be honest! I do sometimes even though we have an office space here at the loft. Sometimes I even work from bed when the kids are playing loudly and I need some quiet. I used to work really long hours in a more traditional office setting, so I know how lucky I am to get to answer emails in a sea of feather down and soft cotton (that is, until one of my arms falls asleep and my back starts rebelling!).
For the first time in almost seven years of working from home, when we move to Brooklyn I will have an office space that is very separate from our living and sleeping spaces (on it’s own level, and in a room with a DOOR!). While there are trade offs there too, it will probably be better for my mental health and productivity levels to have more separate work space. It’s just time, I think. Working in the loft’s office for the past two years has been great, though. It’s pretty and functional and I like that the look of the space compliments the living room and rest of the house, which is all open to each other.
Anyway, all this to say, I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of home offices, or maybe, more like a home base, where you can keep all your office stuff and maybe even sit down at when you really need to get things done. One of my consulting clients has an adorable, but teeny apartment in the cutest neighborhood. She sometimes works from home, so we had to carve out a niche for a desk/console table that also functions as a dining table. That’s a hard-working table! And it looks great! It really is possible to fit in a work space into even the smallest city apartment. I’d love to share some ideas, but first, I’ll lay out some completely-biased-and-probably-not-fair-to-all-of-you personal opinions.
What I think you need in a home office:
– A pretty desk, with a place to put away your computer
– A cool-looking filing cabinet or other storage piece with large drawers (love the look of this one)
– An armoire or cupboard for storing your printer/scanner (vintage preferred – scour your craigslist!)
– A comfortable chair that provides good support (if you must have an “office chair”, invest in something good with a name like Miller/Eames)
– At least one lovely and interesting table lamp (sort of obsessing over this one)
– A rug to keep things soft underfoot
– Inspiring art
What I think you don’t necessarily need in a home office:
– A boxy, cubicle feeling computer desk unit with a million drawers and cubbies
– A cheesy, gooseneck “desk lamp”
– A rolling office chair
– A rolling chair plastic mat thing
– An inspiration board.
I can feel your eyebrows raising over the inspiration board comment. :) I think inspiration boards are cool. I even put up a couple cork boards in our old office. Here’s what I discovered though. It was just one more thing to keep up with. I never ended up changing or adding to the things on the board and I never really used them for work ideas. Looking back, some beautiful, inspiring art would have been a way better choice for me. Also, there’s this thing called Pinterest… :)
So, here are some options for you, depending on your space constraints.
If you have no floor space to dedicate to your home office, you can use your dining table to work on during the day. This wall-mounted laptop storage unit would be really helpful for putting everything away at night and keeping organized, and it requires absolutely zero floor space. I would paint the wall unit the same color as your walls so it blends in nicely.
IKEA also makes this great little laptop desk with a drop down, perforated bottom drawer. Cute as is in gray, or would paint up fabulously like any of the colorful options above or maybe try the DIY inlay painting?
If you have even just a little bit of floor space, try using a secretary desk!
Elle Decor/Carrier and Co
I am a huge, huge fan of the secretary. Especially for us laptop users that like to roam around the house. Write a blog post during Conan and then shut that laptop away for the night. Out of sight, out of mind.
Hopefully, you also have space to keep a comfortable, upholstered side chair next to the secretary when not in use.
I also like what Jordan and I came up with for her SF apartment.
If you do have room for a desk in your living room or bedroom, try adding a beautiful, leggy writing desk with just a couple drawers for lighter storage.
Make the desk a focal piece instead of an eyesore. I would opt for a vintage or antique desk, something like these:
Also don’t forget the bedroom as an office option! Try using a desk as a nightstand, just make sure you have a place to tuck away your work at the end of the day. It would be miserable sleeping next to a big pile of stress-inducers!
House and Home
And if you have an extra closet, by all means, have the hardware store cut you a piece of thick MDF to size and make a desk nook! This is an especially good idea for less-organized people. Just shut those doors when you want the mess gone.
What’s your home office set up? Did I miss any small space/home office tips?
If you work from home, do you feel like it’s necessary to actually have a home office? Or are you more relaxed about your set up? One of my blogger friends technically works from home but she goes to a cafe everyday for a few hours to get her writing done and for a little change of scenery. What do you do?