How to Create an Efficient Home Office when you Lack Space: The No-No Spaces for a Home Office

Part 1 of a 3 part mini-series

Basement offfice

A home office in the basement is a dreary, low-energy space.

If you have a spare room to make into your designated home office, you are lucky. But many of us don’t have that luxury. This is when you need to be creative/think out-of-the-box to find a place where you can work with some privacy and protection from distractions.

No-No Spaces for a Home Office

First, I want to discourage you from locating your home office either in the basement or your bedroom.

Do you really want to go down into the basement? Why locate your home office is a place you would normally avoid, or spend as little time in as possible? The basement is a low energy space with little or no natural light or access to nature. This will cause your own energy to drop and you will be less efficient.

How to Make the Best of a Basement Home Office

If there is really no other place in which you can work other than your basement:

  • Have your basement tested for radon to be sure it is safe to work there
  • Place your desk near the window with the best light
  • Supplement natural light with incandescent or warm white or soft white compact fluorescents  in a table lamp on your desk to avoid the “penitentiary” look. Learn more by downloading my PDF whitepaper on office lighting here.
  • Get and use a dehumidifier if there is any dampness at all.
  • Get and use an appropriate heater/fan/air conditioner.
  • If the floor is cold, add an area rug to your work space
  • If the floor is concrete, add a smooth chair mat, in vinyl or bamboo, to make moving around in your office chair easy.
  • Personalize your space with professional office photos, artwork, music and inspiration. This is your home office, not your man cave.
  • Bring something of nature into your work space. Find a potted plant that thrives in dark or low-light spaces.

Do whatever you need to do to make your basement home office energized, comfortable and welcoming – not a make-do work space.

Never Never in your bedroom – because your subconscious will keep you awake with messages to yourself : “Why are you wasting time sleeping, when you should be awake and working.”

It is hard to relax with reminders of work nearby.

And, a home office in the bedroom is not romantic.

How to Make the Best of a Bedroom Home Office

If, there is truly no other place to put your home office:

  • Hide it with a curtain or folding screen.
  • Shut-down and close all electronics.
  • Clear your desk of all work at the end of the day and establish a mental ritual while doing this. As you are clearing your desk tell yourself that you have completed your work for the day, now it is time to relax, and you can start work the next day with your mind and body refreshed by a good night’s sleep.

What has your experience been working in a home office in your basement or your bedroom? Let us know with a Comment.

Next week’s blog will be about “Dinosaur Spaces”: the overlooked and underused places in your home, where you can work with privacy.

To learn more, read the “Dinosaur Space: Break Loose from Room Labels” chapter of my book The Smarter Home Office: 8 simple steps to increase your income, inspiration and comfort.