Designing Work and Living Spaces at Home For the Modern Family
Studies have found that 4.7 million employees (about 3.4% of the workforce) now work from home at least half time. Working from home (among the non-self-employed population) has grown by 173% since 2005 — 11% faster than the rest of the workforce, and nearly 47 times faster than the self-employed population.
Most companies that offer their employees the ability to work remotely allows them to work from home, as well as other locations (sometimes designated ahead of time) that have an accessible internet connection. As such, it’s important to find ways to blend both work and living spaces so that it benefits not only the job holder but their entire family as well.
Home Office Needs
Some may not have the ability to dedicate an entire room to an in-home office and that’s okay. There are still many ways to incorporate a stylish, yet productive office-like environment without having to take up an entire room. However, when doing so, consider these tips for designing a home office space:
- Location is key. Try finding a space that is quiet, yet allows you to keep an eye on the rest of the house when needed — especially when working with children in the home;
- Allow enough space to work comfortably;
- Select a desk and chair that is fitting for you;
- Add storage and shelving, even if it is minimal;
- Have additional seating available for when clients or coworkers come over;
- If possible, create your workspace next to a window for natural lighting and a view;
- Tame your technology by hiding wires, plugins, and chargers. Going wireless, if possible, might be best in terms of the organization process;
- Accessorize and personalize;
- Choose fitting furniture;
- Create a floor plan prior to designing.
Home Office Ideas and Planning
When designing an in-home office, you may want to consider which area in your home will allow you to be the most productive. Listed below are the pros and cons of creating an office space in each of the following areas in your home.
Living Room Office
An office located in the living room can be perfect for those who are short on space. Most living rooms have a window or two, and finding one to set a desk near will help to increase the amount of natural light that is taken in throughout the day. Having an in-home office space located in the living room may also be perfect for the parents that have to keep an eye on their children. While they are entertained, parents can work without having to feel too distant.
However, living room work areas have the potential for many distractions. The desire to turn on the television or even take a nap on the couch may take over while trying to focus on the task at hand.
Corner space can be trickier to convert into an office space, however, it can be done effectively with the help of the right-fitting furniture and decor. Shelves added to the walls can help add to the cozy ambiance, while simultaneously creating more storage space. Office space in the corner can also help with privacy and provide a quiet environment.
For some, corner spaces might seem too much like a cubical, rather than an open-floor layout. While some may find this ideal, others might see it as too restricting and that it prevents them from experiencing the sense of freedom that is often found in open-floor plans. Corner office spaces also tend to get more cluttered than those located elsewhere. With little space and limited storage, some may find themselves piling on the paperwork or even misplacing important items.
Typically, dining rooms have plenty of space, meaning there should be no issues trying to set up your office area. If your dining room is smaller, then using the dining room table as your desk can be the perfect alternative.
However, a dining room office space may not be ideal for those who work long hours. When it comes time for meals, you may feel rushed to complete your work in order to make room for the food. Even if you’re not sitting at the table, the distraction of those eating around you can be just as much as a disadvantage of a dining room office space.
Working in a kitchen means instant access to snacks and beverages. Having small meals and healthy snacks in between work periods can help to maintain focus and motivation. Kitchen office spaces can also work out well for those who need to make phone calls, handle paperwork, and even run a part-time business.
Similar to a dining room, a kitchen can be full of distractions, especially during family mealtime. Those who work from home full-time may want to reconsider setting up their office in the kitchen.
Converting a spare bedroom into an office space is one of the most popular options for an in-home business. Here, the possibilities of the layout are seemingly endless, as well as the choice in decor.
Even though there is endless space to work with, it’s important to not over-decorate and clutter the room. This can divert the positive ambiance and create a potentially overwhelming environment.
Converting a garage into an office is similar to using an extra bedroom in the sense that it is typically larger and is full of decorating and layout possibilities. This is a good idea for those who need a larger space for clients and storage.
If converting a garage is a possibility, it’s important to keep in mind that there are a few downfalls. For example, a garage tends to be colder during the winter months and hotter during the summer. People will also want to make sure that there are other parking options that are available since the garage is now being used as an office space. It can also be costly to do this type of remodel, so those who are considering this option will want to evaluate their finances to make sure it is feasible for them.
Utilizing a basement as an office space is a good option for those who need the extra room and a quiet area. It is a versatile option that can allow room for storage and family use as well as work. If your basement has adequate lighting and easy access, then using the basement as your workspace may be the best option for you.
However, when doing so you will want to keep in mind that often times basements have increased in moisture levels, and even the possibility of flooding. If you’re in an area where these elements are common, make sure your basement is equipped with the proper tools in order to prevent damage to your home and office supplies.
If the attic space has proper insulation, foundation, lighting, electrical outlets, and space, then turning it into a home office is a viable option. This would be ideal for those who need a quiet space dedicated to their work.
Keep in mind that creating an office space in an attic comes with many downfalls. An attic space isn’t ideal for those who often have clients come over — climbing multiple flights of stairs isn’t the easiest route. Also, unwanted critters such as bats, rats, and bugs are often found in attic spaces.
In some cases, adding on a new room to your home might be the option that works best for you. This is one of the more costly choices, so prior to doing so make sure that it is something that works well with your budget. The plus side to renovating your home and adding a new room is that you can design it essentially however you want (as long as it complies with city codes and zoning regulations).
Home Office Decor
When deciding on stylish decorating ideas, think about the overall ambiance of the room and how you want it to feel. This can be accomplished by choosing the right color scheme
, adding panels to create a sense of privacy, and arranging the furniture in a way that flows.
The best home office decor will blend comfort and livability with functionality, so that workspaces quickly and easily convert back into shared living spaces. Vamping up your current fireplace with electric fireplace inserts can make it fast and easy to transition from work mode to enjoying the comforts of home. Likewise, decor such as a dresser, bookshelf, or electric fireplace television console could be the perfect addition for the overall feel of the room.
Working from home has many benefits. For example,
- It helps save money on your daily commute;
- Allows for more independence;
- In some cases you can create your own schedule;
- You can spend more time with family;
- You can avoid office politics.
Even though there are many benefits to working from home. It’s important to maintain a workspace that has its own boundaries and allows you to succeed.