With more people than ever working from home now, it's become clear that home office design is a crucial topic to ensure that work stays productive and organized. Not only is the work-from-home option available to more people, but our everyday digital lives often require some type of "base of operations" at home. The best thing about a home office is that, unlike your desk at a corporate office, you can dictate style and function, and tailor the space to your family's exact needs, for work, hobbies, homework , and more.
Location is Key
When designing a home office, begin by finding the right place for it. It should be convenient. If it's in an out-of-the way spot in your home, you may be less inclined to use it- it's the old "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" problem. It's a balancing act, though. If it's in the middle of everything, it may not be as effective of a work station, since the chance for distraction is higher. All of this will depend on the type of work you are doing. Think about how you plan to use your home office and go from there. Will you need a quiet space for phone calls or webinars? Consider using a room with a door. Do you just need a place to pay bills every month? Perhaps a corner in the kitchen will do.
Work, Crafts, Hobbies, and More
Remember that not all "work" needs to be computer-based, the kind you get paid for, or even the stuff you need to do to keep your home and family running smoothly. A home office could also mean a craft room, gift-wrapping station, or just a place to sit down and write. A key factor for any of these types of places to be effective work areas is that they are designed for the job you want to do in them. Take a look at the tools and storage needs you require to do the work you want to do, and find solutions for them. Working with a designer can make this process easier, particularly when you have many different storage needs.
Match the Style to Your Tastes
The home office should be a room or space that you love and that feels comfortable. Pay attention to the style options as you put your desk, chair, storage and display together. They should feel right not just for the work you do, but for the person you are, and what you actually like. If the room is too casual for your corporate job, or too formal for your casual list-making, you may begin to look for other places to do your work. There's no need to banish all comforts from a functional home office. Just make sure they won't sidetrack your productivity.
Include Others if it Makes Sense
Also consider who may need to use the home office along with you. If your computer is the "home computer", making it easy for other family members to use it may require that your office is more open and accessible than if you were the sole user. Also think about how the home office can work in conjunction with other areas of the home. Is the kitchen or dining room table close enough to offer a secondary work station for getting homework done and bills paid at the same time? If you work while you do laundry, will you know when the loads are ready to be switched? Think through all the processes you go through in a day at home, and build your home office around the routines that still need to happen when you're busy with your work.
Note: This post was originally published on 10/11/2016. It was last updated 3/16/2021 with new photos and minor text edits for relevancy.