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6 Great Places for a Discreet Mini Office

Article By: Tiffany Carboni

Not every house has a room that can be set aside for work alone, but the beauty of the home office is that it can be integrated into almost any room. The trick is making the dual purposes play nicely with each other without (come on, it just has to be said) their dueling. Here are some tips to make the best of one room with two motives.

Contemporary Home Office

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New York Interior Designers & Decorators

Celia Berliner Design, LLC

1. Spare bedroom. A spare bedroom and office combo is one of the most common setups. It makes a lot of sense. Unless you’re constantly playing host to out-of-towners, an uninhabited bedroom can be a great workspace. 

Built-in cabinetry will make the most of your room. Keep a few drawers empty for guests; dedicate the rest to files and supplies. Desks with pullout features provide more space when needed and keep delicate equipment safe when visitors wielding oversize luggage come over.

Contemporary Home Office

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West Palm Beach Interior Designers & Decorators

Cindy Ray Interiors, Inc.

To squeeze every inch out of your bedroom office, use a sleeper sofa. Here a built-in bookcase frames an elegant sofa that can accommodate business meetings during the day and guests overnight.

Contemporary Home Office

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Solana Beach Interior Designers & Decorators

Lori Gentile Interior Design

2. Living room. When integrating an office into the living room, make sure the space has a welcoming, sophisticated air, just as you’d expect from any other well-designed living room. That way guests won’t feel like they’re encroaching on your private workspace — or worse, sitting in an untidy office. 

In this room the emphasis is on warm, community-oriented features: the fireplace, bookshelves and a variety of seating options. The desk, while spacious and functional, recedes into the background and complements, not competes with, the atmosphere.

Traditional Home Office

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Milton Photographers

Michael J. Lee Photography

A desk that matches the living room’s level of formality is a clever way to hide an office in plain sight.Here an antique desk is matched with an antique chair and mirror.

Contemporary Home Office

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Dallas Photographers

RUDA Photography

3. Closet. If you can afford the space, a walk-in closet can make for a highly effective work environment, thanks to its quiet nature. When the doors are shut, you could go unnoticed by the rest of your household for days.

One obstacle that could stand in the way of a closet office is a lack of adequate light, as closets generally don’t have windows. Adding a light tube (if the closet is on the top level of the house) or getting creative with lighting fixtures can solve this issue.

Contemporary Home Office

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Park City General Contractors

Todd Arenson Construction

4. Family room. An office in the family room has pluses and minuses. On the one hand, working near the kids offers family integration. Parents get to hang out with their children; the kids don’t get resentful that Mom or Dad is always too busy for them.

On the other hand, noisy distractions and important deadlines don’t mix well. If you can work out a schedule that suits everybody’s needs, the office–family room combo can be a huge success — especially in a room like this, where built-in benches hide toys and provide a cozy environment both during the workday and after hours.

Contemporary Kitchen

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Wellesley Kitchen & Bath Designers

Divine Kitchens LLC

5. Kitchen. Every family kitchen should be equipped with a mini office. At least it might feel that way to a parent getting bombarded with requests for signed permission slips and help with homework in the middle of fixing dinner. Itcan be as simple as a drawer organizing system that holds everything from a stash of writing utensils and paper clips to the checkbook for those “I forgot I’m supposed to bring money” moments.

If you can afford more space, a sweet setup like this one keeps household affairs in check and gets closed off behind cabinet doors when not in use.

Traditional Home Office

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Vancouver Photographers

Heather Merenda

6. Dining room.No, this isn’t about using the dining table as a desk, though honestly its size isunbeatable for large projects. Here a desk is built into a hutch, and a low-profile stool gets tucks out of the way under the counter. When the owners host a dinner party, they can even move the stool and computer and use the desktop as a serving area.

Eclectic Home Office

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Mill Valley Interior Designers & Decorators

SC Interiors and Designs

If a built-in hutch isn’t a possibility, an antique secretary desk is a great alternative. Its streamlined silhouette and fold-away tabletop allow it to be disguised as furniture appropriate to a room’s primary function.

Your Space Can Help You Get Down to Work. Here’s How

Article By: Laura Gaskill

Do you work best in the middle of a bustling scene or do you need utter peace and quiet? Are you a minimalist or a stuff lover? Do you do your best thinking while gazing out a window or would you rather be on your feet, moving things around? Designing your home office with your organizing and working style in mind will help create a personalized space that suits you to a T. 

See if one of these eight ideas for customizing your workspace does the trick for you. 

If you like to move around: Give yourself several options of places to work within a space — a traditional desk along one wall can hold your laptop, while a round table in the center of the room is available to sit and read, make notes or brainstorm. A standing-height desk is another great option if you like to move around, and it is healthier than sitting to boot. 

If you like to be surrounded by bustling activity: Do you work best in cafes and other busy spaces? Then consider designing a workspace you can share with your kids or housemates, or set up shop in the kitchen where the action of everyday life can flow around you. Be sure to make room for speakers, and turn on favorite music or podcast while you work. You could even try listening to real coffee shop sounds courtesy of Coffitivity, a free online site that provides ambient background noise while you work. 

If anything remotely office-y makes you squirm: There is no rule that says you must outfit your home workspace with a desk and desk chair. A dining table can be called into duty as a spacious desk, and any comfortable upright chair can be used as a desk chair, as long as you are not logging many hours at a time in it. 

If you do choose a proper desk chair for ergonomic reasons, there are still many ways to bring more home into your home office — try a cushy rug, colorful wallpaper, a pretty table lamp and artful accessories. 

If you are a daydreamer: Rather than fight the tendency to daydream, embrace it. Set up your desk in a spot with a view — upstairs looking out a window (but far enough from the window that glare is not an issue) could be ideal. Or, place your desk facing out into a large room, so your eyes have somewhere to go when you glance up from your work. In a tight spot, try hanging an inspiration board, wallpaper, artwork or a mirror, and use plants to create a sense of depth. 

 

If you are a visual person: For visually minded folks (myself included), keeping important materials in view is a must. Try creating your own giant calendar using chalk paint in different hues. Or craft a giant bulletin board where you can pin to-do lists, calendar items and inspiration. Just be sure to limit what you put up to the truly essential, and edit regularly — too much visual stimulation and it becomes hard to focus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are easily distracted: If the slightest noise or activity makes you lose your concentration, you need to cultivate a private space. Try to wrangle your own room if at all possible. If that can’t be done, choose the quietest, least-used room, and do what you can to protect your own corner. 

The desk shown here, with its built-in screen reminiscent of a study carrel, is ideal for blocking out distractions while you work. You could also use a decorative folding screen or open-backed shelving to carve out workspace within a larger room.

 

 

 

 

 

If you are a minimalist:A few just-so pieces are all you need to outfit your workspace. Perhaps a beautiful live-edge wood desk, like the one shown here, will help inspire you to keep your space as clear as your minimalist heart desires. Make the move toward a paperless office, and you can do away with nearly all files and drawers.

 

If you like to surround yourself with stuff: The polar opposite of the minimalists in their paperless offices, stuff lovers feel more comfortable with a happy amount of clutter. An L-shaped desk is great for those who like to toggle between spread-out papers and working on a laptop, and plenty of file drawers and cabinets provide storage for anything you might need close at hand.

Tell us: When and where do you do your best work?