After the first lockdown ended in May 2020, the UK housing market experienced a mini-boom. Estate agents reported new buying trends, including a sharp increase in the demand for properties with a home office or space to create one. This demand was driven by the rise in remote working during the pandemic but it’s unlikely to diminish as the way we work has changed forever.
Whether you’re planning to sell your home and want to make improvements that boost its value or you need to create a home workspace for your own use, I’ll provide some handy tips on how to create a home office even if there is only limited space available.
Make Space in Your Living Room
If you don’t have the luxury of a separate room to create a home office, design space in the living room by altering the layout. Moving furniture around or removing some items and relocating them elsewhere in the house can free up a surprising amount of space. Mounting the TV on the wall and ditching a chunky TV stand or moving a large floor lamp into the hallway, might create just the space you need. Remember, a “home office” only needs to meet basic needs — a small desk and chair with access to a power socket will be sufficient for most home workers.
If you have a young family, working in this shared space may not be ideal. Consider how you use the rooms in your home and zone in on any “dead” space that you could convert into a usable work area. Noise-cancelling headphones may help you to maintain concentration when working in a small, shared space.
Convert “Dead Space” Under the Stairs
Many older homes have an area under the stairs that you could repurpose as a home office. You may need to add extra lighting to make the space usable, but if a desk and chair fit, this often unused space can become the perfect work nook.
No room for a desk? Mount a “shelf” on the wall to rest your laptop on and pop a stool underneath. You could even add a curtain or blind to send out the “do not disturb” signals to the rest of the family!
Turn That Junk Cupboard into a Concealed Home Office
We all have that cupboard. You know, the one where old clothes, receipts and unwanted gifts get “filed”, never to be seen again. Have a clear out, remove the shelving, add a desk, chair and lamp and voilà! A perfectly usable and beautifully hidden workstation.
The added bonus of this idea is that you can literally close the door on work at the end of the day and focus on home life — a real challenge for many remote workers.
Create a Standing Workstation
Like the “laptop on a shelf” idea mentioned above, you can easily create a standing workstation by installing a shelf against any free wall. This will take up much less room than a traditional desk and chair.
Bear in mind that a fixed workstation will not be adjustable so make sure it is fitted to suit the person’s height who will be using the “desk”. This is both a space and cost-efficient way of creating home office space.
Choose Home Office Equipment Carefully
Think about your needs and the space available before rushing into purchasing home office furniture. Do you need a full-sized desk if you only ever work from a laptop? Would a corner desk make the best use of the space available? Can you fit in a luxurious office chair with cushioned arms or do you need to choose a more basic, streamlined option? If your work area is in the living room or other shared space, would a foldaway desk and chair allow you to pack the office away at the end of the day be ideal?
An increasing number of home furniture retailers offer “space-saving” lines that have been specifically designed to make the most of small homes.
Seek Professional Help
If you’re struggling to find a way to squeeze a workspace into your home, contact an interior designer for advice. They will be full of space-saving and design ideas that you have never thought of — or perhaps never knew existed!
While this is a more costly option than the DIY suggestions listed above, it will be worth the investment if you plan to work from home long-term or want to add value and sell your house fast.
Don’t Forget about Lighting and Power Points!
Working for long hours staring at a screen in a dingy home office will negatively impact your productivity, performance and health. If possible, position your work station near a window to take advantage of natural light. If this is not an option, budget for desk lamps or, even better, ceiling spotlights.
Adding a lick of paint can also work wonders on a small home office. Choose light colours to create the illusion of space, such as pastel shades or white.
If you live in a “bijou” property, adding a home office may seem idealistic. But there is space to be found or created in almost any home, no matter how small. Get creative with the space you do have, consider what you need in a home workstation and you’ll be surprised what you can achieve. Whether you want to make working from home more practical and comfortable for yourself or you’re keen to tap into current buyer trends to expedite the sale of your property, creating a home office is easier and more affordable than you think.