These days, nearly all of us are plugged in at all times to our phones, computers, and tablets—and that means more of us are now able to ditch convention and work from the comfort of our own homes. While cutting out the commute is a plus for many reasons, there’s still one downside to working from home—not having a quiet office space to stay organized and get things done. And let’s face it, not everyone has space for a separate home office. Even if your home has an extra room, chances are you need that space as a guest room or playroom for your kids.
But dual-purpose rooms are a perfect way to carve out a designated place for your home office, no matter how little room you have. They take advantage of commonly overlooked areas and make the most of your available space. Here are some ideas for how to create space for a home office by making one room do double-duty.
The Office/Guest Room
Having a guest room can make life so much easier, particularly if you have out-of-town family and friends coming to visit often. But even if you host guests frequently, your guest room likely goes unused for a significant portion of the year. Even though a designated guest room can be a life saver when you need it, it can feel like wasted space the rest of the time. By making your extra bedroom into a guest room/office, you can use the room in a productive way year-round.
In terms of design, this dual-purpose space is one of the easiest to accomplish. Adding a desk to the bedroom isn’t a huge stretch stylistically. Be sure to choose a desk that suits the existing furniture so that the combination feels purposeful rather than like an afterthought. Use a decorative chair instead of a standard office chair for a softer, more welcoming look.
If you’re pressed for space in your guest room, consider using a day bed instead of a traditional bed frame. This will open up more floor space and provide additional seating as well.
The Office/Dining Room
Formal dining rooms are one of the least-used rooms in most houses—which makes them the perfect place to tuck away a desk and computer! Since most people only use their dining rooms for holiday meals and special occasions, this room can provide a quiet and out-of-the-way place to get some work done. And the desktop can always be cleared off and used as an extra buffet or sideboard when Thanksgiving dinner rolls around.
We can’t blame you for thinking that a desk in the closet sounds like something you’d see in a dorm room. But for a home office, it’s actually an ingenious solution. The office/closet allows you to create an entire mini-room without knocking down walls or calling in a contractor. To make this work, all you need is an empty closet. It doesn’t even have to be a walk-in closet. If yours isn’t deep enough for a regular desk to fit inside, you can install a sturdy shelf to act as a desktop. Simply pull up a chair and you are ready to work. Paint the closet walls and hang up a picture or two and you’ll have your own private office sanctuary. You can easily install curtains over the doorframe to close off the space when you aren’t using it.
It might seem impractical to have your office in a room full of toys, but the playroom is another room that goes unused for significant chunks of the day when kids are at school, doing homework, playing outside, or at soccer practice.
One tip for keeping the work area and play area separate is to divide the room with open shelving cubes. The openness of the cubes will keep the mock wall from looking too heavy and closing the space in while providing plenty of storage for toys that might be underfoot.
The Office/Laundry Room
This one might seem like a stretch, but hear us out. Some homes are designed with large laundry or utility rooms where the majority of the space goes to waste. Adding a desk, whether built-in or free-standing, can be a great way to maximize that space. Even if you can’t imagine talking to clients or filing tax returns from your laundry room, a laundry room desk makes a great workspace for trying out DIY projects and storing craft supplies.
While it’s probably not a good idea to keep your important papers right next to your mixing bowl, some kitchens have enough space for a separate counter/desktop that matches the rest of the kitchen without being in the line of fire for food crumbs and spilled drinks. Adding a hutch-style desk to one corner of the kitchen is another great way to make a dual-purpose kitchen/office work. Use the top cabinet and shelves for kitchen storage to make the office area blend seamlessly with the rest of the kitchen.
These are only a few of the many possibilities for dual-purpose rooms. No matter the size of your home, you can find creative ways to make the most out of your space.
We’d love to hear about the creative ways you’ve incorporated a personal office at home. Let us know in the comments below!