Whether you work from home full-time or you just like to catch up on a few e-mails after you’re home from the office, it’s good to have a dedicated work space in your apartment. But if you’re short on room or don’t have a second bedroom to convert into an office, where should you put that space? What if you do have space for an office, but you’re unsure of what furniture to buy and how to make it feel more like an office and less like a place to relax?
Here are a few tips and tricks for figuring out how to incorporate the ideal home office in your very own apartment.
Know That Everyone Works Differently
Some people can work just fine using a laptop table and a comfortable chair, but others need the full-on desk set complete with file folders and an ergonomic chair. When you figure out how you best work, you can start to take a look at your space to see what the best option is for adding in a home office. You’ll also want to think about how much time you’re going to spend in your dedicated office space. If you go to work at a regular office every single day, then it might not be as important to spend as much money or space on your home office. However, if you work from home every single day, or even a couple of days per week, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re making it as comfortable and conducive to productivity as possible.
Evaluate Your Space
Okay, so now you need to actually look at your space and evaluate it to see where and how you could work an office set-up into it. Obviously this gets more difficult the smaller your space is.
If you live in a studio, for example, you might want to think about skipping the big desk in favor of a vintage-style secretary desk, which is fairly small and has a lid that closes. You might also consider a wall-mounted desk, which could be folded up at the end of the day when you’re no longer using it.
If you live in a one-bedroom apartment, your instinct might be to put your office space in the bedroom, but try to avoid that if possible. After all, you should want your bedroom to represent rest and relaxation. If your desk is in there, your brain might not be able to shut all the way down when it’s time to unwind. Instead, you should dedicate a space in your living area to a small desk and an office chair, which will add at least a bit of separation between work and rest environments.
If you have an extra bedroom on your hands, then of course use it as your home office. You can still use the space as a guest room when you have people come in from out of town, but instead of buying a full bedroom set, you can replace it with a fold-out couch or a futon so that it feels less like a bedroom.
Don’t be afraid to get creative in a small space. There are tons of Pinterest hacks that feature closets (and even hallways) as home office spaces. Use the space you have, and try to make the most of it.
Buy Some Furniture
Now that you know where your office will go, it’s time to buy some furniture. The most important piece in your office space is going to be your desk — and you want to make sure that you really love it, especially if you’re going to be spending a lot of time at it.
If you have the room for it, buying a desk with a dedicated drawer or a bit of storage is always best. Be sure that you’re choosing a desk that fits your body and that you don’t feel like you have to slump over or reach too high to put your hands where your keyboard or laptop would rest. If you’re really serious about ergonomics, you could also consider purchasing a desk that can switch between sitting and standing modes. Note that these desks are on the pricey side, so unless you’re working from home every day, you might not want to invest in them.
You should also assess whether or not you need filing cabinets, bookshelves, or any other office equipment that might help you work better or faster. Although we may not need as much office equipment as we used to when we relied more on paper, these accessories can still be helpful in some ways.
Hang Up Artwork
Just like you would decorate a cubicle at work, it’s important to give your home office a little personality. Hang up a calendar, your favorite artwork, and maybe even a chalkboard to doodle or write a to-do list on. Be creative, and turn the space into a place you actually want to spend time in.