I began this year wanting to set up a home office area and get piles and files of paper under control. I thought that the project might take me a week. Thinking that I was being overly cautious, I allowed myself a month to get the job done. Eight and half months later, I have finally have an office space that works!
Living in a small 1000 sq. ft. home we had never found space to establish an actual office area. Bills piled up on the dining room table and got paid in front of the TV. At the start of this year, determined to solve the problem of stacked up mail. loose receipts, and wayward warranties, I set up a desk in the corner of the dining room. When that too- small location failed me, I tried moving it into the living room.
Both rooms presented me with the same problem. No matter how compact I tried to make it, an office area requires a minimal amount of space that I simply didn’t have in either room. I moved the office area to one end of our long and narrow sun room.
The sun room space had the advantage of being somewhat out of the way. There was room for a small desk. A bookshelf, already in the room, could be converted to office storage. It was still a small space but large enough to be workable. The problem this time however, was that creating an office area blocked the view out of several windows and made the non-office end of the room feel cramped and crowded. The sun room has always been my favorite space in the house and I wasn’t willing to lose the space and window views that I love. After a few weeks, I packed the office items into cardboard boxes and stashed everything in the basement. Before summer had even begun I had nearly given up on the idea of ever having an efficient home office.
June, July and August came and went. I was now paying bills and stacking mail onto a table in the basement. But the basement was too far from our internet connection and the Wifi only worked about half the time making online banking difficult.
And then, one sleepless night at 3 a.m., I got an idea.
If I moved my first floor art room to the basement I would open up an entire room on the first floor. In the middle of the night, I began carrying canvases and boxes of paints down the stairs.
The basement room that I had in mind for my art space isn’t really “underground.” My house is built into a hill so my new art room at the back of the basement has windows on three sides and a door that opens onto my flower garden. It’s a nice space that I’ve always liked and it would be a quiet place to work on craft projects.
Once empty of art projects and supplies, the first floor room became the perfect spot for setting up a home office and library. It too is a small space and is separated from my living room by an open archway where we have installed a large glass window wall. I moved in the filing cabinet and office supplies. Shelves were already in place for storing many of our books. I laid down a leopard print rug that I’d recently purchased and moved in two leather chairs that I swiped from the living room (there were too many chairs in the living room anyway). Lamps also “stolen” from other rooms, completed two quiet reading corners. A drop leaf table will serve for stashing mail and paying bills until I can find a small desk that will fit the space.
It took me eight and a half months and a lot of trial and error but I now have a home office/library that is both efficient and attractive.
You can Google lots of “pretty” home office ideas. Many of them though, are too small to be practical. Before you decide to copy one of them, look at the picture and make sure there is enough space for storing files and other supplies.
Here are some of my favorite home office ideas from Pinterest.
Installing a desktop supported by bookcases (my husband used small filing cabinets) is a great way to save space. Instead of buying a new desktop, you could also use a flat, recycled door.