How to Squeeze an Office or Admin Station into Any Home
Browse these clever ways to find a perch for your small home office, however little room you have
You’ll want some shelving, a slim work surface and perhaps the household printer. Flexibility is the order of the day, so your home office can double as homework zone, hobby area, part-time work area and so much more.
Think you don’t have space? Read on for home office inspiration, no matter what size or shape your home.
Whatever the form or location of your home office, know the dimensions needed to make sure it all works smoothly.
Your desk will average 75cm high, the same as a dining table. Use the zone of 14cm between the top of your knees and the underside of the desk to fit in some really useful, shallow drawers. A desk depth of 36cm is adequate for a laptop, with a depth of 50cm a good average.
Leave a zone of about 50cm between the top of the desk and any overhead shelves to allow for somewhere to pin notes and reminders.
Shelves should have a clearance of at least 32cm between each to allow lever arch files and over-sized books to be accommodated. A shelf depth of 30cm will be sufficient for lever arch files.
Allow for lots of sockets, too – at least twice as many as you think you’ll need.
What better place to house your home office than in the kitchen, the heart of the home.
Your base units will average 90cm high and 60cm deep – too high for a desk but the perfect depth for a great workspace. If you can, extend a zone 75cm high alongside your kitchen units for a neat desk. Add shelving overhead to complement the line of your wall cupboards.
Your desk will work hard here, performing many functions that are part of family life. Homework can be tackled as you cook, and projects spread out without the need to be tidied away at mealtimes. Kids can also be monitored as they take their first steps into cyberspace on the family laptop.
And what a handy surface for laying out a buffet on special occasions.
Find a local carpenter or joiner in your area to make you something like this
You may prefer a quieter perch, away from the hurly-burly of the kitchen. Most older homes come with alcoves either side of the living room fireplace, and one of these can make a great spot for a tiny workspace.
Slot in a slim desk, if space permits, making sure you measure between the skirting boards (not the walls), before committing to purchase.
You could also get a small home office desk custom-made and fixed to the wall, eliminating the need for legs and allowing the desk to float.
Slip a modest work perch into a run of wall-mounted shelving. As already mentioned, a surface 36cm deep will house a laptop, with 50cm preferable for a desktop computer.
Choosing an adjustable shelving system like this one will allow you to group your files separately to your paperbacks, with scope to leave space for precious objects you may wish to display.
For sheer flexibility, it’s hard to beat a simple trestle table. Whether it lives in a guest bedroom or on your landing, or moves about, get it into the perfect position by simply picking up the separate top and trestles to suit your changing needs and circumstances.
Choose lightweight pieces so changing location is never a chore. A fold-up top would be a bonus, allowing you to stow your pop-up home office in a cupboard when not needed.
Your trestles may even find themselves pressed into use for dining when a large gang needs to be fed!
Short of room but need a permanent space to work? Slip a nifty desk and shelving within a run of storage cupboards, behind full-height, hinged panels. Wardrobes typically measure 60cm in depth, which is perfect for concealing a modern desk.
With a setup like this, your ‘office’ can enjoy the light and space of the full room when in use and disappear in a jiffy when the day’s work is done.
Room Tour: A Broken-plan Extension with a Hideaway Home Office
A wall-hung bureau will perform a nifty disappearing act, with your workspace hiding in plain view in whichever room you choose.
Wall-hung furniture brings the added benefit of maximising the sense of space and light in any room, allowing the floor to flow without interruption.
The bureau top is a useful spot for a lamp, flowers, plants or any other additions needed to create your own sense of place.
Bearing in mind a laptop only needs a surface of 36 x 100cm, try slipping a skinny console table into a hall, alcove or any under-used corner to create an instant perch to deal with those tasks you’ve been putting on the back burner.
For the serious homeworker, a separate room in the garden is a great option. Like all rooms, its use can change as your needs evolve, so in time it could become a hobby room, teen den or exercise zone.
In a bright space like this, ensure you consider daylight control and where the sun comes in when positioning your computer or factoring in shade. Sunshine plus screen can make it impossible to see what you’re doing.
Where do you sit at your computer in your home? Share any tips, too, in the Comments section.