You'll get the biggest benefit from your bedroom to office conversion if you pay attention to the details. These tips will help:
- Make a clean break - If your home office doubles as an exercise or game room when you aren't using it, the space may suffer from a conflict of interest. If you don't embrace the idea of having to clean your office before using it (as in pitching the paper plates decorated with last night's pizza), push for a dedicated office space. You may want to keep items on hand to convert the space into an occasional (very occasional) guest bedroom, but that should probably be it. If you want to convert your office to a temporary guest room, outfit it with a Murphy bed, daybed or futon. A daybed or futon (if you have the space) will give you extra seating for office visitors, too.
- Respect the electronics - Your computer, printers, scanners and other office electronics are important resources, so take good care of them. Keep them out of direct sunlight, away from drafts and heat sources, and up off the floor. Make sure there's good air flow around your equipment, too. Oh, and avoid munching or drinking liquids when you're using your computer. Accidentally spilling a latte in your computer is a mistake you'll only make once before you institute a no food or beverage rule.
- Protect the carpet - A rolling office chair can get you from the file cabinet to your desk in a second, but if your home office is carpeted, that trip will reduce the life of your carpet -- and could turn out to be a bumpy ride. Install a chair pad for smoother sailing and carpet protection.
- Keep it green - If you're working from home, you're probably already saving gasoline and reducing your carbon footprint. Keep up the good work by turning off electronic equipment when you aren't using it. Connect ancillary equipment to a power strip you can switch off to eliminate any standby (vampire) power drain. When you buy new equipment, look for the Energy Star (energy efficient) label. If you do a lot of printing, use recycled copy paper, and make use of both sides of the paper by reusing the back of printed sheets or taking advantage of your printer's duplexing function.
- Design an attractive backdrop- If you anticipate any video conferencing in your future, consider the space the viewer will see from your webcam. If it's a wall full of sticky notes and electrical cords, make it more visually appealing to your virtual visitors with a nice print, poster or wall shelf.
Now that you have a dedicated work space, don't be afraid to hang a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door. If fact, that little warning dangling from the knob may turn out to be the best home office investment you make this year.