How to Set Up a Home Office Anywhere
Between the extended stay-at-home orders and more companies considering remote work on a permanent basis, there are plenty of reasons why you should be looking into setting up a home office. Check out these creative solutions to convert any space into a home office.
Home Office in Your Bedroom
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Does your day job call for long, undisturbed hours to take calls or dive into big projects? As one of the quieter areas of the home, a bedroom office is ideal for reflection – it’s also the shortest commute. Invest in an upright chair to help you stay focused, with ergonomic features to keep you comfortable.
Avoid the temptation of sliding beneath your bed sheets by facing your desk toward the opposite wall, a good distance away if possible. A curtain or privacy screen can also be used to separate your workspace and sleep space, both visually and mentally.
If you have the will power not to sneak in a nap during the day or continue working into the night, then double up your desk as a nightstand. It’s a space-saving home office hack for small bedrooms. Don’t forget to hide any anxiety-inducing wires or files that could keep you on the hamster wheel instead of an REM cycle. Our Guide to Home Office Organization can provide solutions.
Home Office in Your Living Room
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A living room office provides the perfect incentive to jumpstart your day in the hub of the home and stay stimulated with the occasional passerby. Try to avoid settling into the couch-and-coffee-table combo, which might prove to be a little too relaxing to stay alert.
Instead, float your furniture and arrange a writing desk behind your sofa. This opens up your layout by adding more walkways, and that sense of spaciousness can lead to greater creativity. To avoid moving any furniture, consider bringing in a bookcase desk, which offers built-in storage hutch and easily blends into any living room design. Our Guide to Multifunctional Furniture can help make the office space feel as flexible as possible.
Since the living room tends to be a well-lit area of the home, consider placing your new desk under a window. Your workspace will then be filled with natural light, which is ideal for productivity, morale, and videoconferencing. You can also draw inspiration from the outside scenery. All you need is a stylish accent chair to complete your living room office setup, which will also provide extra seating when the workday is done.
Home Office in Your Dining Room
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For a setup that’s closer to the coffee, a dining room makes for one of the easiest, most convenient home office conversions. Breaking up your workday with mealtimes can help you stick to a work-from-home regimen. And most of us already have a dining room table, banquette, or kitchen island that can serve as a workstation, especially now while it’s not being used to entertain large parties.
Since there might be more than one person working from home, extra room for elbows and equipment is a must. You can upgrade your existing workspace with an extendable or drop-leaf dining table for a larger surface area. The sliding or collapsible features make it easier to maintain work-life balance when quitting time comes. A patio table could also be useful if you repurpose the umbrella hole for cable management.
Using a long, upholstered storage bench instead of multiple dining chairs to allow for wide, comfy seating and a place to keep your office essentials safe from crumbs and stains. For a larger dining room that can house a credenza, you can split its compartments between your home office accessories and dinnerware.
Home Office in Your Closet
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The walk-in closet is perfect for those who are short on space, but still crave a dedicated area to contain their work life. Whether it’s in your hallway or your dressing room, a closet home office is both private and productive — and can be concealed as simply as closing a door or a curtain. And with built-in shelving, a closet provides plenty of space for hefty equipment like a printer or scanner, or books to serve as a home office library. You can even leave one shelf clear to act as a standing desk.
It’s important to counteract a closet’s poor lighting so it doesn’t add to the idea of a cramped space. Opt for something like an overhead fixture or desk lamp for task lighting. Wrapping twinkle lights around any existing garment rails can also instill some ambiance. You can also add an engaging wallpaper or splashy paint color to stay alert. Office furniture with slim silhouettes and reflective materials, like a glass desk or acrylic chair, will help to keep things bright and breathable. Check out our guide to the Best Office Furniture for Small Spaces for more examples.
For more mental clarity, bring in some sensory stimulation with natural motifs and materials. Artificial plants and decorative objects or storage baskets made from wood or wicker can make a closet home office feel more personal.
Home Office in Your Guest Room
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A home office in a spare bedroom is the remote worker’s dream: an entire room assigned to hunker down and hustle. You can leave your professionalism and workload at the door, so there’s clear boundaries to begin and end your R&R. It also offers the most space for a home office: there’s room for a corner chaise to brush up on industry news, a workbench to tinker away at your blueprints or inventions, or a few accent chairs to consult with clients and business partners.
Since it operates as a guest room from time to time, try to make your office a little more inconspicuous during the holidays. Consider a murphy bed that folds up into a desk, or a lofted bunk bed that hangs over a desk. If you accent the wall with a whiteboard for brainstorming, replace it with a welcome message or vacation itinerary when your friends and relatives come to town. Make sure to store your office supplies during their visit so they feel free to settle in and make the space their own. Putting work away throughout their stay will also help you enjoy the time together.
Home Office in Your Entryway
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Forgo the elaborate office setup involving multiple monitors, and instead, streamline your workstation with a simple entryway office. You can work around the tight space by using a corner desk or console table. Hang a mirror above your desk to brighten the workspace. In your entryway office, it’s perfectly placed for a self-check before heading out the door. If you prefer to use that space for floating shelves, install wall sconces on either side of them for a space-efficient alternative to create task lighting.
Now that you’ve chosen which room will become your new home office, learn how to decorate it in your favorite style. Check out our full guide to Home Office Ideas for tips on which furniture and accessories will help you achieve the right look and feel.