An efficient home office doesn’t necessarily need to be in its own room, although converting your UK loft is a great way to get an additional room at reasonable cost. However, as computers slim down, cellular phones shrink, and wireless equipment becomes more prevalent; fitting a work area into a small space gets easier. Cast a creative eye over every room, to find a niche for a workstation; one that looks good and functions effectively.
1 Outfit an armoire; either antique or contemporary; as a combination desk and storage system. Armoires are available in styles and sizes appropriate for every room in the house, and may have shelving systems designed for a computer, keyboard and filing system.
2 Mount casters on a tall, backless bookcase; to partition off a work space in a living or family room. Hide files and other work paraphernalia in attractive containers; such as lidded wicker baskets, or fabric-covered boxes, available at Hold Everything, the Container Store, Pottery Barn and other stores.
3 Commandeer the end of a hallway: If the space is too narrow for a desk, set up a drop-leaf table, with a chair alongside it. When you’re ready to work, open up the table, pull the chair in front and plug in your laptop; A nearby bookcase can hold supplies.
4 Borrow space from a bedroom, but keep the work area out of sight from the bed, so you don’t wake up to a pile of papers. Tuck your equipment into an armoire, set a folding screen between desk and bed, or float your bed away from the wall, and place the desk behind the headboard. A divan bed with storage is a good way of getting rid of some bedroom items to make way for a small working space.
If you’re faced with combining guest accommodations and a workspace, a range of options are available for every budget; Opt for furniture that converts easily from sitting to sleeping accommodations, such as a sofa bed or futon, or disappears altogether, like a Murphy bed.
5 Outfit a multi-shelf rolling cart with your work supplies, for a kitchen too tiny to hold a desk. Store the cart in a pantry or an adjoining utility room. When you are ready to work, roll the cart alongside the kitchen table, which doubles as your desk.
6 Explore your house or apartment for quirky, underused spaces: Fit a cosy office into an enclosed back porch, the nook under a staircase, or a guest room closet with folding doors. Make sure there is access to an electrical outlet and phone line.
Tips & Warnings
Use a wall peg to hang a folding chair when it’s not in use.
Suspend a curtain from a ceiling track, or use a folding screen, to give yourself the option of closing off the area when you’re done with work.
Note the office’s proximity to phone and cable lines, as well as outlets, before you set everything up: You don’t want cables snaking along walls or across floors.
Don’t forget the surge protector, and opt for a desk with a discreet hole in the top, so you can corral computer cables and wires underneath.
Using a laptop instead of desk top computer means the space you need is minimal, as long as you have somewhere for your printer, files, and other office items.