Find Space for a Real Home Office: Reclaiming Dinosaur Space

Do you have a make-do office? In the last few weeks I have made some wonderful changes with clients in their home offices.  I want to share some of what we did with you.

The first client (let’s call her “Ann”) is doing more work at home and was feeling limited by the fact that her home office was dual function: work space and exercise space. Because of this her work had spilled over to her dining room and living room. I noticed that she had a spare bedroom reserved for guests. When asked, Ann said she had overnight guests only a few times a year.  I suggested she make her guest room into an exercise room for the 49 weeks a year she did not have guests. The bed was moved against the wall and set up like a daybed with lots of cushy pillows to make it a reading nook. This left much of the room free for exercise space.

Mats, equipment and CD’s were moved out of Ann’s home office to her new exercise room. This freed-up storage space for her office supplies. It also opened-up floor space which allowed Ann to shift her desk and make more room for comfortable working. We were able to move an unused easy chair from the guest room into her home office for reading and laptop work, thus allowing Ann to take a break from her desk, while maintaining her work momentum.

Additional benefits: Ann loves that her exercise room is near her bedroom, making it easier to shuffle into that place first thing in the morning before she talks herself out of her workout.  Creating separate spaces for exercise and work, helps Ann focus more on her workout and her work.

The next client (call her “Zahra”) wanted a more functional home office.  Zahra’s work was scattered between her dining room and her bedroom. Guess what?  Zahra also had a spare bedroom reserved for guests – used only 2 weeks a year.  We brainstormed together and relocated her work space to the guest room. She was able to place her desk near a window with light and a lovely view, position her printer near her desk with her files and a planned bookcase nearby. Now Zahra has an organized and unified work space.

Additional benefits: Zahra re-claimed her dining room for daily meals and entertaining. She has plans to add a wall storage unit in the dining room for her treasures, so she can display art and family photos that have been packed away waiting for a place to belong.

Do you have an underused space in your home? This is “dinosaur space.” Many of my clients have beautifully decorated, but rarely used, guest rooms while their home office is a make-do affair squeezed into a corner. Aren’t you as important as your house guests?  Would that guest room or spare room be more useful with a dual function? Creating a guest room/home office is very do-able.  A single bed and some double beds can be moved against the wall to open up the space; or use a sofa bed or futon-type bed.

To convert an underused guest room into a functional home office:

  • Place the desk to make the most of natural light
  • Arrange your printer, fax and files nearby.
  • Add a lamp to your desk.
  • Use the bed/sofa for reading, or
  • Find room for a comfortable, but not too comfortable, reading chair.
  • Add a reading lamp near the chair.
  • Hang artwork and mementos that inspire you.
  • Now you have the best of home office design.