Shelter-In-Place: Home Office Design Considerations

So, most of us are “stuck” at home right now due to the newest shelter-in-place restrictions. You are not alone! Instead of “being stuck” we are trying to change our mindset to say that we “get” to be home with our families, “get” to still meet with clients and friends virtually, and “get” to make home-cooked meals every day! But, how are you set up? Are you realizing that working from home is possible for your job but you don’t have a good setup? We are here to help you discover some great ideas for your next renovation: your home office.

The Dedicated Home Office

For those of you who work at home most of the time (and not just during government-mandated times), you may want to consider a dedicated home office space. If you have plenty of bedrooms, you could consider renovating one of those into a home office. You don’t need a whole lot to be very productive. Being able to close the door in order to easily take phone calls and video conferences can be a lifesaver. A few of us are “doubled up” at home right now. You can hear our partners in the background on their own calls – a separate space alleviates this issue. A dedicated home office allows you to really identify that home/life balance. Being able to “get out of the office” by retreating to another part of your home for a lunch break, and outside of work hours, can help productivity.

Now, what do you need IN the space? A kneehole is a must. This should be at least two feet in total width in order to feel comfortable. Some file folder drawers are helpful if you have tons of paper. Storage above to host extra paper, books, and supplies is great. Make sure your shelving and/or wall cabinet are high enough to allow your computer to fit, and do not protrude too far and cut off light supply at your keyboard. We recommend at least two feet from counter to the first shelf/cabinet, just to be safe.

The Built-In Desk Space

Sometimes you don’t have a separate bedroom, closet, or other space to create a closed-in home office. So, what do you do then? Have you ever stared at a mostly unused wall in your home? This could be a wall in the kitchen, sunroom, or family room that has always felt out of place. These are the walls most people want to “knock down” during a remodel. But what if you utilize the wall instead? BAM – home office. Just like the picture at the top (and the one below) you can create the perfect desk setup without taking up an entire room.

Maybe in your everyday life, a home office isn’t necessary but you’ve always wanted a dedicated space to do recipe hunting, have kids do homework, or just get a few of your side hustle projects completed. A standalone desk is perfect for this. Read more about Back-To-School Spaces for some additional inspiration. You are still integrated into your everyday life, but the “desk mess” has its own landing zone. Since you likely aren’t stocking up an entire office in a small space, you can opt for more open shelves (so it doesn’t feel as bulky) and a few closed cabinets below to store unsightly items. We suggest you still make sure to ensure there is a space to host a small printer, out of sight, just in case. A roll-out shelf in a base or tall cabinet near the desk can be perfect. Make sure you have your electrician install an outlet in the back!

The Make-Shift Home Office

Ok – so here is the bucket a majority of us are probably sitting in right now… literally! You realize you don’t have a home office space and don’t really need one most of the time. But while you’re at home on quarantine, it’s starting to really bug you. This is where you can get creative with your kitchen design. A lot of kitchen designs nowadays have large islands with seating and are used to help entertain, have kids do homework while you cook and help, or to eat breakfast while you’re on the go. However, an island isn’t always the best place to set up a command center since there isn’t usually a lot of easy access storage available, and you don’t want things sitting around (like the kids’ school books) in the middle of your new gorgeous island.

The solution? A separate landing space in your kitchen perfect for all of the things above, just not on the island! This thoughtful design allows work to be done in the kitchen, just slightly tucked around a corner so things can be “pushed” out of the regular work zone while cooking as needed. The shelves above also allow you to store any books, small electronics, or other things while you are working without reaching the shallow cabinets at your feet. For any space that isn’t a dedicated home office, we always suggest giving lots of thought to your lighting solution – task lighting is important for anyone reading, writing, or looking at a computer screen, so be mindful. Check out these Lighting in Design considerations as well.

Thinking about your next remodel? Let us help! See what it’s like Working with Kitchen Design Concepts and give us a call!