Whether you just need a space to take care of household bills or work from home full-time, setting up a home office is a much better option than commandeering the dining room or kitchen table with your laptop and boxes of papers. Setting up a home office doesn't necessarily mean you must set aside an entire room as workspace, as a very serviceable home office can be created in just a few feet of space. Usually there is part of a room that isn't being utilized, such as the corner of the den, the space under the stairs or even a closet.
The Right Size Office
The size of your home office only needs to be as large as the activities it will be used for. Obviously, if you will just be using your home office to keep track of family and household matters you don't need anywhere as much space as if you will be entertaining clients. Any area that is at least four feet by four feet, just large enough to hold a small desk and an ergonomic office chair, will suffice for a household-management office. However, if you work at home full-time you will want something at least as large as a small bedroom, in the 8- by 10-foot range.
The Right Size Office Desk
Like the office space, your home-office desk should fit the work you will be doing. For just sitting down with your laptop computer and a stack of bills, a work surface 40-inches wide and 30- to 32-inches deep is sufficient. For tight spaces, just a small table and small free-standing bookcase is often enough. If you live in a tiny apartment, with about zero extra room for home office, a small computer armoire can elegantly fill the bill.
If you have the room, the typical office desk is approximately 60 inches wide, with some having the benefit of draws for flies and storing miscellaneous office supplies. For a standard size office desk you will need at least ten-square feet of floor space in order to have enough room to move the chair enough to get in and out and open the desk drawers. If there is not enough space for a full-size desk, a well-organized hutch over a writing-style desk can keep files and supplies within easy reach
Storage ideas for your home office are only limited by your imagination. Consider the following options:
- Modern Office Furniture: With a little effort you can find pieces that complement each other, as well as the decor in the rest of your home.
- Custom Built: By designing your own storage cabinets you will end up with just what you need, not what someone else thinks you need.
- Containers: If you are a renter or on a tight budget, plastic bins can be had for a few dollars apiece, and in most any color you desire. You can also cover the containers with contact paper or wallpaper to have a customized look for next to nothing.
Home Office Chairs: Follow the Ergonomic Rule
Home-office chairs come in many styles, but the most important feature of a chair you plan to sit in for any length of time is that it be comfortable. The best ergonomic chairs will both offer lumbar support, for your lower back, and promote proper sitting posture. The seat height should be adjustable, allowing you to place both feet flat on the floor with your thighs being horizontal and bring your elbows even with the top of the desk.
Organizing a fun and functional home office may require a bit of imagination, but it does not have to be a Sisyphean task. Just find a suitable space and think about what you need your office to do. As a bonus, if you do work from home you can write at least part of the expense of your home office