How To Squeeze An Office Into Forgotten Spaces In Your Home
If you work a lot at home, but DON’T have an office, this is the post for you. Maybe you are working at the kitchen table or on your couch, but what if there was an easier way to get a self-contained office space without a separate room. The answer is to create an office nook.
Our house is only 1850 square feet, and there have been three of us sharing the space for work and school for a while. I staked out the kitchen, but the downside of that is that you never leave work because you’re always in the kitchen. While my house is small I identified two areas where I could squeeze in an office space.
I’m going to share some strategies for finding these spaces in your home. I’ll also give you concrete ideas about how to make your office nook functional WITHOUT spending a lot of money.
Finding Your Office Nook
The first step is to look around your home or apartment for spaces that you don’t use very much. Think of your home like you would a heat map on your computer, where do you rarely see any red spots. I’ll give you some examples:
- A bedroom that you don’t use except to sleep in. Is there a corner of your bedroom you could put a desk in? Or an armoire you could convert to a desk (my choice)
- A guest room that you like to keep as a guest room, but that you rarely use. You can add a desk next to the bed, and use that as your office.
- One end of your living room that you don’t sit in. In my case I have a fireplace end that is set off from the main seating area.
- A landing area that is large enough to hold a desk and chair.
- A large closet that you could repurpse.
In my home, the bedroom is not a space that gets much use. I have a large armoire in my bedroom which became a dumping ground. It was filled with things we didn’t use and rarely even saw.
When I say these things, do you start thinking about the dumping ground in your house? I bet you can. These kinds of spaces are perfect places to reclaim and transform into a usable nook.
If it’s a closet, are there things you could get rid of or relocate to free up space? I relocated the things we DID use to some under-bed storage containers.
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Determine the Priorities for Your Office Nook
Now that you have a spot in your mind, think through your must-haves for an office. Do you need storage for paperwork? Do you need room for a printer? Do you use a laptop or a desktop? Is there power near the space? Do you want to sit or stand at your desk?
Take some time to think about your priorities. My must-haves were:
- Printer storage
- Paper storage
- Doors – I really need a space that can be closed up at the end of the day. I’m a paper stacker, and I always have stacks of paper next to my computer of things I need to tackle. It never gets completely empty.
- Room for a stand-alone monitor
- Stand or sit capabilities (I’m still working on this one)
- Possibility of privacy (i.e. not the kitchen)
- Room for cats (just kidding)
This is my space after I got it cleaned out and started figuring out how to best use it.
Use, Adapt, Repeat Until You Get It Right
Once you have identified the space, it’s time to start using it. Do the absolute minimum to make it where you can use the space, even if it’s just for an hour a day. While you’re working in the space make notes of what you need to change.
After working inside the armoire for an hour I realized, I need to move the top shelf UP. I also realized I need light inside the armoire. I ordered these puck LED lights.
After using it a while longer I realized, I can still store blankets up top, but I need something prettier to look at. I had some left over fabric from covering the door,s, so I cut a few pieces to go inside. I added some artwork and a plant. These thinks make the space look nice, which makes me want to work here.
Next I’ve decided that while I want to stand to work at my laptop, sometimes I need to sit. This set me on a quest for a comfortable stool. It’s an evolving space, but it’s all mine. And at night I can close it up along with all of the mess inside.
I don’t recommend spending a lot of money on your space before you start using it, If you have to purchase a desk, use a folding table first to see how the space feels to work in. This gradual process helps you to really refine what you need for your office nook to be a functioning office.
Before you go, you might like this corner desk DIY project and the best rugs for an office area, if you have a rolling chair.
Andrea, I am struggling with this very issue. Currently my office is in the breakfast room off the kitchen and it’s a total mess. You’ve given me ideas on where I can relocate. I actually think today I will try and find a better place and space!
Great ideas Andrea! I’m redoing my office/guest room right now – thanks for the inspiration! 🙂