HomeTurning an Extra Bedroom Into a Home Office

Amanda OrlandoJanuary 30, 20209 min

Working from home has become more and more commonplace. It is a strategy implemented by many large companies to reduce office square footage, by start-ups who may have employees in different cities or countries, or are not yet ready for an office, or by entrepreneurs who work out of their homes. Some companies even have a work from home plan for half the week, transitioning from desks and cubicles to ecosystems with fluid workspace in their corporate offices.

If you’re in any of these situations, then you know the value of a dedicated home office space over working at your dining table, in your bed, or on your couch.

For those who prefer to separate their work and personal lives, having a home office allows them to close the door on work when they’ve clocked out for the day.

Let’s look at some considerations to make when turning a spare bedroom or a sizable den or nook into a home office.

Determine the needs of your work space

Which basic items does your home office require? Do you need a desk, or a sketch table? A white board, black board, or pin board on the wall? If so, what size? Do you use a laptop or a large screen? Do you need a desk in addition to a creative work area?

Think about how you work and the furniture and organizational tools that could improve your flow, efficiency, and comfort. Perhaps at your office, you did not have space for a large white board or had to share one with others on your floor. In your own home, you may choose to mount a big white board on the wall in order to sketch out ideas and plans.

Not all work is done on the computer or on paper. Are you creating a home office for your photography or video content business, for example? If so, you may need the layout to be more versatile so that you can shift furniture around and make space for content creation. In my home office, I have studio lights, a tripod, and a dropcloth that I use every day. Since I don’t want them to always be out on display, I have an area that I can tuck them away in so that they’re only out when in use.

Acoustics

Does your space need to be quiet, or do you thrive on a little background noise? Is there such a thing as too quiet? Personally, I find it difficult to work in a room that’s so silent you can hear every squeak of your chair or tap of your toe. Hardwood or tile floors combined with wooden or melamine office furniture can create a very tinny, echoey environment. If you need to make your space more peaceful, try adding soft surfaces like carpets, soft furniture, or wall hangings to soften and round out sounds. Do you share your room with others? If so, make sure you get a solid door that will block out any noises coming from the rest of the home, for example, others working from home or kids playing in the other room.

Map out the floorplan

Always measure your room and create a floorplan. It may feel tedious because you can conceptualize the size of the room, but as soon as you get to the furniture store you’ll wish you had exact numbers. Some retailers offer a floorplanning map on their websites, but you can also just tape out the shapes and sizes of your intended furniture right on the floor. Get a sense of how much space everything takes up, how much room you have for your chair to slide out, if you have space for an extra large desk, a cabinet, or a comfy chair. Is there enough room to walk around everything comfortably? How does it flow?

Where are the windows situated in relation to your desk and computer screen? Will the light shine right at it, causing glare? Did you situate your desk to face a wall instead of the view outdoors? Do you require natural light for any of the work you do, for example, photography, sketching, or other creative work?

Extras

What little extras would make your home office more comfortable? Take the opportunity to really personalize it to suit your tastes, because you’re likely going to spend a lot of time in there. You may like to have a coffee nook with a kettle, coffee maker, and mini-fridge so that you don’t have to go out to the kitchen every time you want a drink. A good sound system to play background music, heated floors or a space heater, a standing desk, etc.

What would bring more joy to your working environment?

Decorate!

Make your home office feel like a space that you want to spend time in every day. It’s not a grey cubicle, so it shouldn’t have to feel like one. Use your favorite colours and materials even if they are non-traditional for an office space. Ensure everything is comfortable and functional. In what type of environment do you work best – a calm and peaceful one, or an energetic and vibrant one? What will motivate you throughout the day to be your most creative, hardworking self?

For more about home offices, see our post about creating an inspired office here.

How did you create the perfect home office? Share in the comments section.

Amanda Orlando profile picture

Amanda Orlando

Freelance writer and photographer living in Toronto. She is the author and photographer of two cookbooks, Everyone’s Welcome (2019) and Allergen-Free Desserts (2015).

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