While working from home has many advantages – no commute, less money spent on clothing and lunches – it presents some challenges. Some are psychological or emotional and some are practical. Some people miss the social network of an office culture when working from home. For others, it's difficult to balance family needs with office time; it's harder to get a last minute sitter for a sick child if you're working from home, even if your work needs your undivided attention that day. Another challenge is finding the space for your home office. Here are some thoughts on creating a home office and solutions for carving a space out of other rooms in the house.
A room that does double duty - The first option for most home offices is an extra bedroom. If you have a guest room that is used only occasionally, that is an ideal choice for a home office. Even if you still have an overnight guest from time to time, a sofa bed or futon can quickly convert the room from office to bedroom. An armoire can house your printer and electronic media. Files and supplies could also have a shelf that stores extra pillows, sheets, blankets and guest towels. Vacuum-sealing plastic bags allows you to minimize the space needed for these necessities and also keeps bedding fresh and dust free.
When office space is also living space -
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- If a guest room is not an option, try to pick a quiet area of the house away from the hub of family activity. Perhaps there is a nook at the top of the staircase, a bonus room over the garage, or a section of finished basement that can be utilized. While it may be tempting to tuck an office into a corner of your master bedroom, it is not a good idea. While it may be possible to incorporate a sitting room off the master bedroom as an office, you do not want your computer and piles of work to be the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing you see at night.
- If you have a large great room or family room, could a corner of that room be used? Invest in a computer armoire that not only holds your computer and printer, but has drawer space for files and supplies. A complementary hutch and bookcase combo that has drawer space will allow you to keep necessary items out of sight and provides display space for books, photos or decorative accessories. Organize a closet in the room to efficiently store supplies and files.
- When incorporating office space with living space, get away from the notion that office furniture and accessories must look Spartan and drab to be professional. Fabric colored boxes and lined baskets allow for storage with style. Your desktop can look fashionable and related to the décor of the rest of the room. For instance, a pretty ceramic vase can hold pens and pencils. Your desk lamp can be stylish instead of industrial. An antique trunk can hold hanging files, and an upholstered wing back chair can be your desk chair. Color, pattern, fabrics, lighting, wall art and accessories have as much impact in a home office as they do in the rest of the home.