Working from home can be both a blessing and a curse, on the one hand, it's pretty hard to deny the convenience. But on the other hand, carving out a functional yet stylish space, where distractions are limited, can be quite a challenge. But it should come as no surprise that a dedicated home office design (that doesn't involve the couch or dining table) will result in a more productive and efficient workday. Needless to say, all of the extra time and effort required to complete such an undertaking will be well worth it in the end.
However, that doesn't mean you have to have a workspace with four walls and a door. We're here to tell you that with a bit of ingenuity you can create an attractive shared and/or small home office where functionality is top of mind. But before you run out to buy shiny new pieces of furniture, cabinetry, and office decor, you need to do a bit of planning. So where do you start? Well, there are a few key questions that need to be answered: Where will your work area be located? Who will be using it? One person, more than one person, kids? We've broken it all down in this handy guide to help you design the best home office possible. Let's get started.
Where Will Your Office Be Located?
Maybe you hit the WFH lottery and have a CEO-worthy workspace design dedicated to handling business affairs replete with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and a gorgeous view. No? No worries. Fortunately, you don't need an abundance of space to create a useful and attractive setup — there are plenty of home office ideas that will have you efficiently tackling tasks in style. The layout of your office will largely be dictated by the space you have to work with. Are you planning to make the kitchen pull double-duty, by carving out a niche? Or, do you have a bonus room that you can take over? Whatever your specific situation, if there is a will and a way, you can create a stylish and functional workspace.
- Living Room Office: Sometimes you have no choice but to add a workstation to your living space, and that's okay. The important thing here is to minimize distractions, so perhaps an office desk in the middle of the room, facing the TV is not the best solution. Carve out a minimal nook that can be dedicated to work. Want more inspo? Peruse the following ideas.
- Bedroom Office: Whether we're talking about your sleeping quarters or the guest room, ideally you want the bedroom to be a work-free zone, but unfortunately, that's not always an option. In that case, you want to create a minimal workstation, with small space-friendly pieces, that will blend in seamlessly with the rest of your bedroom decor. Make use of a corner or swap a nightstand for a desk. These ideas will get you started on the right foot.
- Attic Office: Maximize your upper level's awkward and cumbersome floor plan and make the most of all those nooks and crannies with built-in storage and small space-friendly home office furniture. Add decorative light fixtures, like floor lamps, to complement the mood-boosting natural light that flows through the skylights and small windows. Need more convincing? These ideas should do the trick.
- Garage Office: Kick your car to the curb, or at least the driveway, and give your garage a little office makeover. With a little paint, a few stylish storage solutions, and some decorative accents, you'll wonder why you didn't think of it sooner. Let these garage office design ideas show you how it's done.
- Library Office: If you have space, we love the idea of pairing an office with a library. The combo evokes images of an old-school study with leather club chairs and rich mahogany wood built-in bookcases. But this, of course, isn't the only way to pull off the look in style. Check out these designs for a more modern take.
- Office Shed: Absolutely no room left in the house? No problem. Move your workstation outside, or more specifically to the shed. It's cozy, private, and away from the hustle and bustle of the house. Follow the lead of these ideas.
- Corner or Nook: Seek an out-of-the-way spot that will provide you with at least a bit of quiet — atop a stair landing, in an overlooked nook or corner, even a spacious hallway will do — there are plenty of small space-friendly desks available. Then infuse personal flair in the form of open shelving, a cheerful office chair or stool, and a gallery wall or art prints for inspiration and color.
- Basement Office: If you're lucky enough to have a converted basement, don't waste this bonus room on cobwebs and storage boxes. Transform it into the home office space of your dreams. Situating a workstation here has the added benefits of solitude and ample space, so it's a win-win.
Who Will Be Using the Office?
- Office for Two: With more and more people working from home, it's possible that more than one person in your household will need a place to be productive. While it can be tricky, it's totally doable. With a little ingenuity, you can carve out a functional, albeit cozy, workspace for two. Here are a few clever tricks to jumpstart the design process.
- Kid's Workstation: Take back your dining room or kitchen island and give your kids a dedicated workspace to call their own. While the overall design should have loads of personality to inspire creativity, it should also include all of the office essentials that they need to complete their tasks. Don't know where to start? Here are a few fun ideas.
Other Things to Consider
While nailing down the location of your home office and making sure that it works for everyone who needs to use it are key factors when designing a home office, they aren't the only things to consider. You'll also need to factor in budgetary constraints, noise pollution, temperature control, and adequate lighting in order to create the most productive workspace possible.
Budget: One of the biggest benefits of working from home is that you have complete artistic freedom when it comes to styling your office. Love the look of a vintage desk? Go for it! Can't get enough of rustic decor? Have at it! Even though the world is your design oyster, there is one little roadblock to consider: your budget. Whether you have limited funds or piles of cash to work with, there's no shortage of ways to infuse your home office with style and purpose without breaking the bank. We recommend taking notes from these design ideas.
Office Noises: From landscapers working on the lawn to road construction taking place right outside your door to the neighbors blasting their music to the kids running around the house, there seems to be a neverending stream of noisy distractions to contend with while working from home. Luckily, there are a whole host of genius solutions on the market — ranging from noise-canceling headphones to sound machines to soundproofing to earplugs — to help us manage some of the chaos and better concentrate.
Temperature Control: Just like corporate offices, your home office can also get too hot or too cold. Since you have control of the thermostat, you might be able to sufficiently manage the climate in your space. However, if you plan to set up shop in the garage, it might get a bit drafty, in which case you should consider investing in a small space heater. Or, if your workstation is near a window that gets lots of sun, you might want to consider adding a fan to keep you cool.
Lighting: Anyone who has been subjected to staring at the blue light of a computer screen for eight-plus hours while sitting under harsh fluorescents, knows how important adequate lighting is in an office. Needless to say, it's important to spend a little time on the subject, including natural light sources. For instance, if you're planning to transform your garage, consider replacing the utilitarian fluorescent light with something a bit warmer. Alternatively, if your standing desk is going to be near a window, consider investing in top down bottom up shades so you can still enjoy the benefits of natural light without having to sit in direct sunlight every day. And if you tend to work late, you definitely want to make sure you'll have enough task lighting after dark.