There’s always room for a home office

  • Home and Garden Television
  • Thursday, August 25, 2011 12:01am
  • Life

Unexpected places for home offices:

Home office in the guest room
In small spaces, combining a comfortable sleeping spot and an efficient office is a challenge.

Repurpose a wide, shallow closet into a “pocket office.”

Replace overlapping sliding doors with either bifold doors or a curtain panel. Then add a generous work surface with a built-in countertop and wall-mounted shelves for storage.

Pull up an occasional chair to get to work. When guests come calling, simply shut the doors on your incognito office and set the chair against a wall to hold their luggage.

Replace the bed for a multifunction piece.

Consider a daybed, an expanding bed within an ottoman (instead of a futon), a trundle or a sofa bed.

All provide a cozy place to work by day and morph into a full-sized sleeping spot for guests.

Home office in the living room
This is one of the most natural places for a home office. Here’s how to make sure you separate work and play.

Arrange the office so you don’t see it when you’re not using it.

“The living room is supposed to be a relaxing, social space, so it’s nice to be able to make your office ‘go away,’ ” says Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, “Apartment Therapy” author.

One option is the ever-handy computer armoire. Another is orienting the couch and other seating in one direction, and the office setup in another, such as against a window wall and facing outside.

Divide the room into two distinct zones with a visual buffer between them.

Libby Langdon, a New York designer, loves nestling a shallow office area against a far wall and enclosing it with fabric hung from a hospital track.

“It hides your office when you’re not working and is a gorgeous design feature on its own” without taking a big chunk out of the room, she says.

Home office in the dining room
Fitting a dining table and a full-sized desk into a small space is tricky, so either your table, your workstation or both need to be lean.

“A work surface doesn’t have to be a desk,” Langdon says.

Space-saving choices:
• Extend a shelf off a wall.

• Mount a demilune surface between two bookshelves.

• Choose a compact “cabinet desk” with pullout keyboard tray and printer cubby.

• A round dining table placed off-center leaves space for an office nook.

• An expandable table for dinner parties or holiday meals can be kept short when not in use.

Leah Hennen,

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