Designing Your Home Office Designing Your Home Office
An ever-growing number of families have computers, and therefore, many households struggle with the question of where to put them. The home office has become a necessity whether you work out of your home or simply share a computer with the rest of the family. If you are like most families and that tiny nook in the dining room corner or your bedroom no longer accommodates your office needs, it may be time to rethink your office space. The following article discusses home office needs and important design consideration.
Ideally, you have a spare room to transform into an office. This may need to double as a guest room from time to time, but dual-purpose rooms have become the norm for the vast majority of home office space. Also consider remodeling the attic or a section of the basement to suit your office needs. If your living quarters are very small and your big clunky computer simply must sit on your nightstand, there are plenty of inexpensive ways to make a workable space that adds to your overall décor instead of detracting from it. Don’t be afraid to think unconventionally either; a useful workspace can be eeked out under the stairs, in a closet, in a hallway or out in the garage.
Once you know the dimensions of your space, you can begin to seek the right furniture. Naturally your budget and taste will have some influence here, but these days you can find everything from traditional desks to hide-away modular pieces that run the gamut in price. You will need to choose furniture according to the size of your space. If you can devote an entire room to your office, you will want to consider desks, comfortable seating and bookshelves. If you will be operating out of your bedroom, consider converting a wardrobe into your office nook. To work well, the furniture must be functional and suited to your needs. Knowing your organizational needs will also help you to maintain a clutter-free environment.
Besides furniture concerns, you will also have to address the needs of the space itself. Will it require changes to the electrical systems - new outlets or rewiring? You may need to put in a phone line or reroute cables for Internet access. Will you need separate lines for faxes? Lighting and soundproofing could also be concerns. Ventilation is a big priority for wardrobe or closet offices. As you can see, these are important factors to address during the design phase of your new office. Professional help from electricians or architects may be required, so budget accordingly; as with most endeavors, doing things properly the first time out will save expense in the long run.
It may be useful, especially if you are doing the work yourself, to draw up a floor plan. Typical home offices require space for the computer as well as its typical attachments: printer, scanner, camera dock, etc. You may require space for a fax machine, copy machine and office supplies. Having a space to lay out books or papers as you need them is also important; a large flat table or desk may be appropriate for these needs, but may also double as a conference area if clients meet with you at home. File cabinets or document storage may also be needed. Additionally, bookshelves and lamps could be included. Different occupations will naturally require more specialized equipment such as a drafting table, easel, typewriter, etc.
As there is a wide range of office furniture available, plan some time shopping before you make a purchase. There is everything from minimalist computer workstations to custom-designed desks or high-end antique pieces. While matching your office décor to your home may be a challenge, and possibly a fun one at that, be sure that your selections will be functional as well as beautiful. Visit office supply stores, traditional furniture stores and even specialty container and storage stores to get an idea of what’s available on the home-office front. Carpeting - especially around the computer - as well as window treatments may also need to be included.
You know your lifestyle better than anyone, so assess how you and your family use the computer. Ask yourself how much time you spend surfing the Web. If your eBay business has you sitting at the screen for hours, be sure to invest in a comfortable chair. Also, since many dabble in eBay or something similar, it may be a good idea to include a shipping-packing area for mailings. How you will use the office should have the greatest impact on its design. Making your space user-friendly will make work more enjoyable and ultimately less stressful.
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