Several years ago, my husband and I moved into this house which is twice as big as our old one! Does this mean we have tons of extra space and can hear the echos of our footsteps in the hall? NO. It means that for some reason I am still tripping over kid toys and struggling to carve out a corner of my home that I can call MINE. We are still fighting for bathrooms, arguing over couch space and struggling to close closets that have too many shoes in them. So, how does a work at home mom deal with the clutter and get any actual work done? By carving out a niche of the house that I can call my own and actually be productive in. Here are a few tips on how to create space for a home office when your home just doesn’t have a lot of space to spare!
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Home Office Design for Small Spaces
Go Vertical: Instead of putting just a plain desk into the chosen corner of your new home office, find one that has shelving above it! Alternatively, you can install separate shelving on the wall behind your desk. Use this space to place small baskets of paperclips, rubber bands, and other assorted office supplies. You can also mount your calender to help you stay organized without taking up value surface space on your desk. (Green tip: start saving your wine corks and make your own cork board!)
Invest in multifunctional office equipment: You will not have room for a separate printer, faxer, scanner, etc. Find a good deal on an all in one unit that will take up significantly less space. Most of the newer models work just fine for the home office. (Green tip: make sure you keep it turned off when not in use or buy one with an energy saving function. Save on electricity and cut down on heat emission!)
Storage is key: Make sure whatever desk you choose has plenty of drawer space to keep extra supplies like printer paper, phone books, and whatever reference material you may need. Custom cabinetry is good, although a bit pricey, depending on your budget. If you have room for a small ottoman or foot stool, get one with the hidden compartment inside. Clutter is not your friend in the home office and can leave you feeling stifled and uncreative! (Green tip: there are a lot of great bamboo or recycled plastic storage bins available online!)
Make smart lighting choices: Many rooms have one large overhead light which isn’t really all that helpful when you are crunching numbers or typing on a computer at a desk in the corner. Choose colourful table lamps to add additional light and brighten up your home office. (Green tip: Choose energy efficient bulbs to help cut down on your electricity bill.)
Choose the right decor: Putting your desk near a window will make your office space seem bigger than it really is. Add a mirror on the wall and some brightly colored accessories to make it seem even more spacious. (Green tip: bring the outdoors IN with colorful flowers from your garden!)
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While you may not have an entire room available for your home office, chances are you can find a spare corner! Learn how to maximize the space you have and let your family know to keep their stuff OUT. There should definitely be a ‘no toys allowed in the office’ rule unless you are trying to entertain a cranky toddler while you type!
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Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.