6 ways to create your own home office
With homeworking set to continue for a whole host of UK businesses, we are all looking for a more permanent home office space. In short, the kitchen table just isn’t going to cut it any more. But are you struggling to see how you can squeeze a desk into your current setup? No problem! Read on for clever ways to create your own home office.
1. Convert a guest room
If you have the luxury of a guest room, make it work just that little bit harder by doubling it up as a home office. Start by identifying its main function. For example, if you’re only going to be hosting guests on high days and holidays, then a sofa bed or trundle bed may be sufficient (particularly if space is at a premium). This way you’ll be able to slot in a decent-sized desk and a chair too. If your room is snug, there’s always the option of a space-saving love seat, sofa bed or single sofa bed.
Whatever kind of space you have in your office, a desk with integrated storage is always handy. If this doesn’t provide enough, make the most of wall space with a couple of shelves. Alternatively, companies such as String Furniture offer modular solutions that can be adapted as your needs change over time.
Sometimes, the secret to a successful multifunctional space is bespoke furniture that’s designed to maximise every square inch. Although it’s more expensive than off-the-shelf furniture, it’s worth investing in if you have an awkward-shaped room, for example. Alternatively, if you’re lucky enough to have a large built-in wardrobe in your guest bedroom, you could use part of it as a workspace. It means sacrificing storage space, but the benefit is that you close the door on your office when guests arrive.
2. Create space in your living room
If you don’t have a guest room you can use, then look to your living room or dining room. Alcoves or narrow nooks are good spots in which to slot a desk. Design note: measure your space before splashing out on your desk. If you can’t find one the right size, a made-to-measure desk will do the trick. This could be as simple as a piece of wood cut to fit and installed, which eliminates the need for legs.
Top marks to Nina Gee of @ninageehome (above), who’s put the alcove in her dining room to good use. Design note: a feature wall with fabulous wallpaper like this one is a great way to inject colour and personality into your space.
3. Look for any unused space
To find the perfect spot for your workstation, you may need to think outside the box. For example, can you borrow square inches from an existing space – a big bedroom or large living room, for example? Perhaps you have dead space under the stairs begging to be put to better use. Why don’t you claim it with a desk and chair that tucks away? If you prefer the fitted look, opt for a made-to-measure workstation that’s tailored to your space.
Another idea is to clear out a cupboard and transform it into a home office. This means you can literally close the door on your work at the end of the day. Choose a compact chair that can be tucked under the desk when it’s time to shut up shop. Follow in Pati Robins’ footsteps (@patirobins) and convert a former boiler room into a micro office (above). Design note: this space only measures 100 x 80cm, but Pati’s used it wisely by building storage up to the ceiling. The upper shelves are useful for storing stuff used less regularly while the lower shelves are reserved for more essential items. If you don’t want everything on show, swap out shelves for a cupboard.
4. Carve out a workstation in your kitchen
The kitchen may not be the most obvious choice, but given that it’s the engine room of the home, you could include a dedicated workspace so you can tackle family admin while dinner’s in the oven. Design note: the average kitchen can’t accommodate a workstation, so generally, this is a solution for those of you designing a kitchen from scratch (plus, you’ll have plenty of space to play with).
In this Roundhouse kitchen, a tambour door pulls down to conceal a nifty workstation when its not in use (below). Painted in soothing grey and teamed with book-matched walnut, the unit blends effortlessly with the rest of the kitchen, creating a cohesive look.
5. Work a desk into your bedroom
From experience, when a bedroom doubles up as your workspace it can sometimes be difficult to switch off. The solution is storage – and lots of it – so you can pack away at the end of the day. Be smart with your choices: vertical storage makes the most of available space (think tall bookcases and wall-mounted storage). You may also need a cupboard to hide away bulky items such as the printer. If you don’t want your storage to look office-like, a stylish ottoman with under-seat storage allows for essentials to be squirrelled away.
Strike a balance between bedroom and office by doubling up your desk as a dressing table. Choose a desk with drawers so that you can hide unsightly essentials away at the end of the working day. Then, pop a mirror on it to transform it into a dressing table. A great example is Nelson’s (@nelplant) desk (below), which is kept clutter-free by a fabulous metal locker from Mustard.
6. Consider a loft conversion
If you are in a position to extend, boost your property’s value and increase your space with a loft home office. The first step is to ask yourself a few questions. Is your loft large enough to be a usable home office? Is there enough height? What type of conversion do you want – rooflight, dormer or mansard? Whatever you choose, make sure you get expert advice early on, as there could be legal aspects to explore.
Loft conversions are generally considered a permitted development. This means you don’t usually need to apply for planning permission unless you intend to extend your roof space by more than 40 cubic metres (terraced houses) and 50 cubic metres (detached and semi-detached houses). However, there are limits and conditions, which are listed on the Planning Portal website. That said, in conservation areas, area of outstanding natural beauty and world heritage sites, permitted development rights are more restricted. Check with your local planning authority for more information.
Loft conversions always need approval under building regulations, irrespective of whether they need planning permission. These regulations cover the strength of the new floor, the stability of the structure (including the existing roof), fire precautions, stair safety and sound insulation between the conversion and the rooms below. Again, visit the Planning Portal website for more details. Finally, be inspired by @mysheffieldhome (above), who’s converted her loft into a cosy art studio.
Featured image: Achieve a clutter-free look like @thewhitehoneyhome has and get yourself a desk with drawers – great for hiding away paperwork. This work spot is all about natural materials and neutral colours, resulting in a relaxing space in which to get creative.
Want more? If you’re interested in the other blogs in our series on home renovation, click here.