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Use Small Areas for Home Office Spaces

Telecommuters and Freelancers Can Benefit from Thinking Out of the Box

© 2013 by Kelly R. Smith; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without written permission.

A home office at a breakfast bar; photo courtesy Blakespot

A home office at a breakfast bar; photo courtesy Blakespot

This article was last revised on 11/29/20.

Almost everyone can benefit from a home office, especially today. The COVID-19 pandemic and the increase in entrepreneurs make it a necessity. It provides a convenient place for telecommuters and independent professionals to work at home. A home office provides easy access to work without the typical interruptions of a commercial office.

Lack of available space is a primary limitation for most people when it comes to a home office design and setup. Fortunately, there are a lot of creative options and a spare bedroom is not the only alternative for a great home office.

Best Rooms for Home Office Space

Many rooms have an unused corner that can be converted to a small yet efficient home office. Thinking out of the box, other great workspace ideas include:

  • Multipurpose closets.
  • Open modular kitchens.
  • Attics and hallways with a staircase in the center.
  • A garage.

Furnishing Your Personal Workspace

Simplicity is the key to making a small space work efficiently as a home office. Most workstations need only the essentials to function efficiently. Here are 9 ideas for turning a small space at home into a great workspace for almost any kind of project.

  1. A Cozy Nook. A cozy nook provides a small but efficient workspace in any room. A built-in desk for office essentials is the only piece of furniture required, apart from a comfortable, ergonomic office chair.

    The ideal built-in contains a large file drawer and several smaller supply drawers. While a ready-made desk may fit the allotted space, a semi-custom cabinet is an affordable way to customize your home office.

  2. A Kitchen Niche. A kitchen niche is a cozy nook situated in the kitchen. Located in the heart of the home, it is a great place for a home office as long as you can avoid distractions.

    A surface extension that matches the kitchen cabinetry makes an effective workstation that really fits in. Wall-mounted wire shelving is affordable and provides a seamless transition with storage boxes in the kitchen color theme. If space permits, an armoire can provide storage for the office and kitchen.

  3. A Kitchen Island. A kitchen island can serve as a home office when no kitchen niche exists. It provides a great place for bill-paying, homework and computer use.

    Drawers and cabinets built into the island offer ample storage for office supplies. Open islands can hide a drop-leaf table that homeowners slide out for meals or deskwork. Note that islands tend to be high enough to warrant a comfortable bar stool for your desk chair.

  4. An Attic Hideout. An attic office puts under-utilized space to good use. It is often spacious enough such that a long desk against the wall provides enough workspace for two people. It's a very good idea to install radiant barrier foil on the roof rafters or drywall ceiling if that's what you have this will keep you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. In my attic I used both radiant barrier paint and foil. Bye, bye, high electric bills.

    Homeowners can easily create the desk by mounting a tabletop to several cabinets. Placed under a window or below a skylight, the work surface gets plenty of illumination. Wall-mount lamps illuminated dark areas and provide task officelighting.

  5. A Stairway Landing. Since wireless computers eliminate the need for a plug-in modem, a stairway landing makes this underused space ideal for a home office.

    A landing space work center is easily accessible from most any room in the house. File cabinets and free-standing bookcases provide storage for paperwork, supplies and other office essentials. There is usually ample light from a window.

  6. A Closet Workstation. An extra walk-in closet easily converts into a home workstation. If you have one in a rarely-used guest room, more the better. Removing the closet doors creates a handy nook that easily houses a desk, a file cabinet, and wall shelving.

    Fabric-covered plywood with cork attached makes a stylish bulletin board to hang above the desk. Pendant lamps or other task lights illuminate the workspace, and baseboards that match the room add polish to the space.

  7. A Room with a View. A built-in desk under a window creates an office with a view. Alternatively, a windowsill with a custom extension can serve as a desktop, supported by open shelving that ties into the room.

    Depending on the light and glare, this may not be ideal for a computer desk. However, craft and hobby projects can benefit from the natural light.

  8. A Hallway Office. A wall-mounted, drop-leaf table turns a hallway wall into a home office. Re-purposed kitchen canisters and jars make great holders for writing instruments and office supplies.

    Homeowners can complete the office look with memo boards created from fabric-covered plywood, old radiator covers or small bedsprings.

  9. A Two-Sided Desk. A two-sided desk doubles the size of a home office without using more floor space. A bookcase centers the workstation, which houses a small desk on each side.

    The desk surfaces are attached directly to a bookshelf on either side of the bookcase. A pair of sturdy legs provide support for each desk. Baskets hung on the side of the bookcase provide additional storage.

    Finding adequate space is one of the most challenging aspects of designing a home office. These ideas can help homeowners “think outside the box” to build the perfect workspace for their office needs.

    By utilizing unused spaces and re-purposing household objects, they can create a one-of-a-kind office that is stylish and efficient.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

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