A home office can be as small as a folding file or as large as a room. If you're running a business out of your home, you'll obviously need much more space and equipment than a family looking for a corner to file papers and tend to correspondence.
The important thing to remember about creating a home office is to make it suit your family's needs. For example, if your children need to use a computer, you'll want to set up space that can be shared -- not a corner in your bedroom. Likewise, equipment and supplies should be selected for versatility.
Creating Office Space
- Use a wall or part of a wall to set up an office. If you're extremely short on space, mount shelves on the top portion of a wall to store files and use a table that can be folded down.
- Use a screen to set off a corner of a room and create office space. While not ideal, it may be the best space you can find.
- Find a niche -- under the stairs, on a landing, or in an odd-size room or hallway. Use a roll-down window blind to enclose the niche when not in use.
- Convert a closet into an office with a folding door. If there is no power inside the closet, have it wired to provide good lighting and an electrical outlet. This works particularly well in a guest room closet. Keep a portable wardrobe hanger on hand for guests when they arrive.
- Replace a double bed with a sofa bed in an extra bedroom to allow space for your office.
Outfitting a Home Office
Equipment is almost secondary to some of the intangibles that a home office must have to work properly. Along with good lighting, make your office a place that you like. This doesn't require a lot of space. In fact, sometimes it's easier to plan a small space than a large area. If your office ends up looking like a sterile cubicle in a high-rise, you're not going to want to spend time there.
- If you intend to outfit a room, draw up a floor plan before purchasing equipment. Use a 1-inch scale, and draw in windows and doors. Then plot various design arrangements for such items as your desk and computer.
- Plan your work space so you have room to keep items such as the phone within reach while still retaining space to jot notes.
- Make sure you allow room for file cabinets to open. They're deeper than a desk.
- Use bulletin boards to hold reminders, calendars, and a "To Do" list. Put the board where you can see it easily.