Your next home needs a space that works for you — literally!
More Americans than ever are swapping in their daily commute to work from home, whether full- or part-time. In one Gallup poll of more than 15,000 people, just under half (43 percent) said that they “spend at least some time working remotely.” Another report from the US Census suggests that, as of 2017, more than 5 percent of the workforce got their jobs done at home — up from just 3 percent in 2000.
And working from home isn’t just for telecommuters. Today, plenty of people also expect to have spaces in the home that can serve as art studios, craft rooms, or video editing bays. Many people prefer to have a home office so that they can pay bills or type emails without distraction in their down time.
There are many advantages to having a home office. Having a functional space purely devoted to letting you be creative or focus on work can be empowering, letting you get things done more quickly, and with less stress and effort. But in some cases, you may need to get creative and flex your design muscles in order to craft the home office space that truly works for you.
Looking for a few ideas to add a home office to your home? Here are a few creative ways to integrate a workspace into your home, without sacrificing space or style:
1.) Add an Office Space to Your Living Area
If you don’t have any extra rooms to spare, one idea may be to add a functional work area to your living room. There are all sorts of ways to integrate an office space into your living area, if you take the time to think strategically about your space.
A small desk in the corner can be a great, unobtrusive way to add a work area, without cluttering up the room. Or what about positioning a desk in front of a large and airy front window, to create a work station with a beautiful view that still feels separate from the rest of the space? Another idea may be to keep all of your choices on the minimalist side, so that the living area doesn’t feel overcrowded — think sleek desks with thin legs, floating shelves, and other open and unobtrusive design elements.
It’s all about finding solutions that will work for you. Take a look at your space, and see if there’s a way to configure the furniture so that you can add a spot to get work done. You may be able to subdivide your den or your large sitting room to create a functional, welcoming office area, without losing any charm.
2.) Carve Out Room in a Closet
Is there a hallway closet that you don’t really need for storage? Or a large master closet that you’re only using half of? Believe it or not, canny designers have started to look at these spaces as prime areas for adding a home office.
A large closet may provide just enough space to add a desk, storage, and artwork. You could add new shelving, or build your work area around the shelves that may already be in place. Add brightly colored wallpaper, your favorite decorative flourishes, and — voila! You’ve got a functional workspace, all ready to go.
Depending on the layout of your space, there are all sorts of ways to retrofit a closet into an office area. You may want to remove the closet door, to create an open cubicle set-up. In other cases, if you can fit everything inside the closet, you may want to leave the doors in place, so you can easily hide your work area away when company comes over or you’re ready to call it quits for the day.
3.) Make Use of All the Nooks and Crannies
Whether you’re considering if a potential new home has enough room for an office, or trying to make the most of the space you already have, it helps to think about all the little nooks and crannies that you may otherwise take for granted. Often, these awkward, forgotten spaces can be a great place to add the functional finish you’re looking for.
Does the living room area have a small corner space wedged next to the fireplace, for instance? Is there a blank wall — or even an open area — underneath a set of stairs? These little areas can be great for adding a small working area. Similarly, think about any “bonus” spaces in your home. An attic, a basement, a loft space, an attached or detached garage — with a little ingenuity, all of these underused spaces can be put to work as office areas.
4.) Create Flexible Spaces
“Multi-purpose design” is a growing trend in interior design. In short, this concept is all about finding ways to reuse one space in multiple ways, perhaps with the help of a few flexible, adaptive design elements. Adopting a dual-purpose mentality is a great way to go about adding an office space to your home.
For instance, in some households, there may be a debate about whether to use a spare bedroom as a guest room, or a home office. With a few smart design choices, you may be able to use this one room in both ways. There are all sorts of folding and hidden beds you could use in a dual-purpose room, for example, allowing you to get sleep space when you need it, and hide it away when you don’t. This way, a spare bedroom could function as an office for most of the year, and be put to work as a guest room when you have company.
5.) Use Accessories to Hide Your Workload
One of the biggest concerns that comes along with a home office space is that this area is bound to be full of stuff. Depending on your job or your hobby, your office area may need to hold papers, books, specialized supplies, and computer equipment. A lot of people fear that this clutter could start to spill over into other rooms, or make a more open office space seem unsightly.
With this in mind, remember that adding an office doesn’t have to mean inviting in clutter. There are all sorts of storage solutions you can put to work to keep an office space from becoming unwieldy, from accessories to help you bundle and hide your cords, to sleek organizers perfect for managing mountains of paperwork.
And if you’re ever worried about your office intruding on the rest of your home, there are plenty of simple solutions you can use to keep this space separate. For instance, there are many furniture pieces out there that essentially act as contained offices unto themselves, like self-contained shelving units or hidden desks. Just open the doors when you need an office space, and close them when you don’t. In other cases, you may be able to discreetly contain your office area with a screen, a sliding door, or even curtains.
Baird & Warner Gets You
Are you searching for a new space that will truly work for you? Whether you’re looking for an office, a music room, a yoga studio, or a green space, we get you. At Baird & Warner, our agents are local experts, who know all the ins and outs of buying, selling, and living in Chicagoland. We’ll help you find exactly what you’re looking for, and make the process easier, at every step of the way.