Nearly half the population had to find a corner to work in at home over the last year when non-essential workers were told to work from home. How do you accommodate a home office without having to clear the kitchen table before dinner?
Slowly but surely, most of us have had to create an area in the house for work, and unless you have a dedicated room
as an office, you’ll likely be perched in a corner of the kitchen, living room or the guest bedroom. There are many ways to fit a practical, liveable solution for having a home office into your home. One that means you can have a clear distinction between work and home life.
Kit out your kitchen
It’s easy to commandeer the kitchen table for a weekend of extra work, but if you’re having to spend the majority of your working week there, it’s just not practical. Papers strewn everywhere, with notes from Zoom calls scribbled in the margins of agendas do not make the basis for a relaxed location for dinner. Nor does having ten minutes to hastily scoop it all up, losing all sense of structure, before spaghetti bolognese gets plonked on top of it. First things first. Look at the size of your kitchen and see where you could possibly fit a desk. If you have enough room, there are plenty of small width desks that you could place in a corner or perhaps in a cupboard that you could repurpose to use with the doors open. As most cupboards are in use, a wall-mounted desk could also solve your issue. There are many areas of the kitchen that are hardly ever in use, so by making use of some wall space, you could secure one of these wall-mounted desks, which means all you need to do is carry your laptop to the desk! If you think that your working situation may only be temporary, there are other solutions. There are many foldable desks on the market, some that could easily be slotted away when not needed. Utilising a trolley with shelves would allow you to take minutes to get set up for work the next morning.
Buzz Home Office provides bespoke home office and study solutions, especially for homes that have awkward
spaces to be converted. Its two ranges - ‘Home Hive’ and ‘Beespoke’ - designed for those who want to transform a room into a workable space and also to assist those who have less space to work with, such as an alcove or a cupboard under the stairs. Living room Creating a space in the living room can be more complicated. The temptation when you have a desk in the living room is that, when the working day has ended, you can still see your workspace so there’s a chance to do that last email. Two ways around that are to create a workspace that can be closed up and put away out of sight. Or it can be left set up but is cordoned off as if it is a separate room.
B&Q do an amazing range of room dividers that can be erected permanently and won’t detract much from the decoration of your living room, however, if you want to get fashionable about it, Homebase does a gorgeous
room divider that brings the beauty of peacocks into your living room. Another way to have an office that
doesn’t look like an office could be to purchase a ‘2-in-1’ desk. Daals.co.uk does a lovely desk that has storage
underneath the desktop, so when it’s not in use, it just becomes a piece of the living room or hallway furniture as it looks like a sideboard. Featuring high gloss white panels and a contrasting oak effect veneer frame, the sideboard has two drawers, two cupboards and one extra central shelf. The desktop slides open smoothly, revealing three more compartments for convenient storage. There is even a choice of what is called a ‘secretary desk’, which has a roll-top that completely covers the desk and hides away all work paraphernalia. This can work well in a living room, hallway or spare room, without looking out of place.
Have a look at your hallway. You spend very little time there, so there’s space that is rarely used. Think about converting the space under the staircase, into a space to work. The only problem could be the lack of power sources but that can be easily rectified by extension cables or calling an electrician. There is also an option of having a spectacular dresser like this one from The Dormy House. Once work is done, it closes into a beautiful piece of furniture.
Most houses have a box room or a spare room, for family or children visits. They can become junk rooms that are cleared in a panic when a relative arrives unannounced but the rest of the time, they are prime real estate in your home that is being wasted. If you have space, creating a working area here is quite simple. The room is perfect to create an office in, but if you need it set up for 75% of the time, coordinating things around a bed can be tricky. This is where the ingenious wall-bed (also known as Murphy beds), comes in. These became very popular in large cities where property was expensive and space was limited. Wall beds have a beautiful secret. Anyone coming to yourhome will think you’ve dedicated the spare room to your career as the bed just disappears into the wall. Michael Downton, sales manager of Wallbeds.co.uk, says that demand has increased in the last year for beds that can be tucked away. “We have seen a large increase in customers requiring multi-purpose rooms over the last year,” he says. “We have also had a lot of customers who have not been able to go on holidays, so have been putting money into home renovations, also those customers who have sold their properties and are downsizing but still needsomewhere for visitors.” Wall beds can be supplied to retract vertically or horizontally, depending on the size of the room and the wall condition, but if your walls aren’t suitable, that doesn’t rule out getting a wall bed.“Your wall bed will need to be fixed to a wall, the floor, or both,” says Michael. “You can easily install the wall bed yourself on any type of floor or wall, strong enough to hold the frame in place. Unlike with other systems, with our beds, you have the flexibility of having your bed attached to the wall, the floor or both.”
While the costs of installing a wall bed may seem expensive, most wall bed companies sell the basic springmechanism that can be used with your existing mattress. “The mattresses we supply are designed to work with wallbeds,” says Michael. “What I mean by that is that they are suitable for long-term upright storage, so won’t sag or losetheir quality under the weight. Customers don’t have to purchase a mattress from us, many customers use theirown mattress. The main dimension they need to check is the depth. Our beds range in terms of the thickness of mattress they can take, which is anywhere from 18cm to 30cm depending on the system.”
If your spare room may be used for an extended period, wall beds can be used for every night use, so if you’re ina studio flat but have to work from home, it could be a solution for your weekly work life. The wall bed can be putaway with its bed linen on just like a standard bed.
Tips to make the most of space Use walls as much as possible – if you don’t have a corkboard, use a chalkboard or paint a space on your wall with chalkboard paint. Great instead of covering the wall with Post-Its. Try to use the storage in whatever room you’re in. Above the kitchen cabinets, drawers, or bedside table in the spare room.Save some workspace surfaces in the kitchen, by using pull-out shelves to store your printer, or even better puta wireless printer in another room. Create an under desk storage area by using magazine racks, empty boxesand hide them using a curtain. Before you decide where your workspace is going to be, make sure you have enough power sources for all your equipment. If you don’t have enough plugs, use an extension. Trust us, you will need it!You can always fix your computer monitor on the wall, and gain more space for the keyboard. Make use of an old wine rack to store rolled-up magazines or documents.
By Mairi Clark
It’s become normal for many to have to create a working space in the home to work, but it’s often something that was never taken into consideration when you chose your home. Working from the sofa or clearing the kitchen table to work can not only impact your posture, but it can also impact on your work/like balance, making a space that should be used to relax in, such as a living room, kitchen or bedroom, feel like a work environment.
Whether you're tight for space or have more room to play with, here are our tips for how to set up a home office in any room of your house;
If notebooks, pens, staplers and tech are taking over since you started working from home, why not store these away out of sight. But if you're struggling to think where you could place a storage system without taking up even more space, the key is to use unused space, normally walls or up higher than a desk.
You might not ordinarily think of using a wall, other than with a traditional shelf, to store items, but there are some great wall storage options that will allow you to keep stationery out of sight and even display some of your favourite decor and design pieces.
You can either opt for wall storage or look for desks that come with built in shelf storage. We're big fans of the Turner desk from Habitat, which combines both wall storage and built in shelves without taking up too much space.
Turner Industrial Desk With Mesh Magnetic Back Board (£140) - Habitat
Have room under your stairs? Is there space in your hallway or conservatory that isn't being used? Or do you rarely use your dining room to actually eat in? These are all spaces that could become your new home office space.
Speaking of underutilised spaces, let's talk about alcoves. These often awkward areas can be transformed into a great workspace that doesn't take up too much space.
If a traditional desk doesn't fit into your alcove, you can add a shelf without spending too much time or money. And the end result can take an unused corner of your home or section of wall and turn it into a dedicated workspace that allows you to keep your home office from overtaking a whole room.
Keep working and living spaces separate with a room divider or privacy screen. This is especially helpful if you live in an open plan space or have your living, cooking and dining areas in one room.
It can also be a great idea to utilise a room divider if two, or more, of you are working from home at the same time in the same room, which could avoid noise disturbance and clearly mark work and relaxation time.
World Menagerie Armendariz Room Divider (£121.24) Wayfair.co.uk
By Ellis Cochrane
Image Credit: Furniture And Choice
Our homes are not set up to be similar to the office environment, so should you have to work from home, then luckily we’ve rounded up the best accessories to make life a bit easier.
If working from your couch is the only option available to you, this adjustable laptop stand is a serious game changer.
Even if your computer has built-in speakers and a microphone, having headphones with a microphone makes Zoom calls and blocking out background noise a breeze.
And wearing headphones is especially necessary if you're discussing confidential work or sharing your work from home space with other people in your household.
If you're using more than one monitor or screen, or if you need your screen to be more in your line of sight, this monitor stand is ideal.
We also love the fact that it comes with a drawer built into it and you can also hide your keyboard away at the end of the day under it - removing the temptation to send ‘just one more email’.
You don't need to invest in a specialised office chair to make sure that your back is being supported during work hours. This lumbar support pillow can be added to any chair to make it work well for you and your back/posture.
And lastly, even though we have our phones, a physical to-do list pad is an essential for us. It also feels very empowering to tick off what you've achieved at the end of each day - but if like us, start the day on a positive by listing something you’ve already done! .
By Ellis Cochrane
Working from home is the new normal. Get the latest office tech that will making working from home that much nicer.
2020 has led to people working from home more than ever before. Whether your office is your dining table or you have a separate study room in your house, we thought we’d let you in on the latest tech you should have while working from home. We strongly suggest investing in a good monitor for your study so that you are not straining your eyes on your small laptop screen. If space for a monitor isn’t an option for you, you could get a laptop stand which will elevate your laptop screen and help keep it further away from you. One of our favourite pieces of tech that would be perfect for your study is an air purifier. At the moment, most of us are spending all of our time indoors so it is important we are breathing in fresh and clean air. An air-purifier will keep you feeling healthy. If health is an important issue for you then you might want to take it one step further. Did you know you can get an elliptical machine that sits under your desk to keep you fit without even leaving your chair! The Koble Bodie Smart Desk from cuckooland.com avoids the dreaded '0% battery life' with the wireless charging surface, simply set down your compatible smart phone and tablet to quickly power up! Don't have a wireless device? Not to worry, there are USB points too. Including 2 hidden Bluetooth speakers, connect your device and enjoy your favourite music or audio-books while your work and control the volume with the touch sensitive buttons built into the sleek grey glass table top. And with matt grey, powder coated metal legs and a handy storage drawer, you're sure to be more productive sitting at this beauty!
Koble Silas Smart Desk from Cuckooland.com
Not got enough space for a home office? That’s okay, we’ve found some solutions for you…
Working from home can be hard when you’re living in a smaller home or flat with little room. With lockdowns still continuing, we thought we’d give you tips on how to convert your small spaces into home offices. You might be surprised where you can squeeze one in. Which one of these solutions will work for you? Check them out below..
Under the stairs
Channel your inner Harry Potter and magic up an office in your space under the stairs. This may be one of the smaller areas of your home but you should still manage to get a small table and chair in. It can also be a space for storing your work documents in area that is often not utilised.
Unused landing space
Got some dead space at the top of the stairs free? Why not turn it into a makeshift home office. Keep it neat and tidy with a small desk and clever storage so that it doesn’t look cluttered and stays natural in the space.
Floating and Standing Desks
Floating desks are perfect if you are really struggling for space. They can be smaller and look more like units than a desk. With some floating desks you can pull-out the desk and place it back into the wall when you’re finished. If you want to go even further, you can get a standing desk so you don’t even need a desk chair. Standing desks are claimed to have health benefits so you might even feel the benefit!
Dressing room table turned desk, why not? This saves you buying another table and using up space. Your dressing table will be more than enough space to get your work done and is the perfect way to have a multi-functional home.
Ferm Living at Nest