By Meg Escott
You might be designing your home office layout from different circumstances:
We'll be using the House Plans Helper activity based design process which takes you through a series of questions to get the requirements for your home office.
Grab a piece of paper, go through this page and at the end of it you'll have a list of requirements. Then you can have a look at the other home office pages.
This page forms part of the home office design series.
Let's have a think about all the activities that need to be considered for the design of your home office layout.
The first thing to decide is who needs a home office. The requirements of the whole household need to be taken into account.
For example, Mum might want a desk in the kitchen, the kids are going to have a play room with some study space (rather than have desks in their bedrooms) and Dad might only need a filing cabinet.
Even if two people share an office space they will still have individual requirements to be met.
All the questions below need to be answered for each home office layout.
This is the most important question from which all the other answers will flow and it needs to be answered for each person that needs an office, even if the office space might be in the same room.
For most of us a home office is somewhere to work at a desk, probably with a computer and printer and file a bit of paperwork (eventually!). If you want to be able to read then having a comfortable chair or sofa with a reading lamp in your home office can be a welcome addition.
Your home office layout may not be as obvious as you first thought.
If you’re doing general household administration such as school paperwork, paying the bills and surfing the internet a bit then you might be spending a few hours a week in your home office. This might require only a small office.
On the other end of the scale, if you’re working a demanding full time desk job from home it could be the place you spend the most time when you’re at home. If this is you, spend the time you need to get your home office layout right.
If you like to be able to leave your work spread out then it can be psychologically beneficial (not to mention more aesthetically pleasing) to be able to ‘close the door’ on your office space. If you’re considering an office nook where a standard swinging door may not be suitable, a bi-fold door or pocket door, or maybe even a curtain might meet this purpose.
The other option is to include a room divider to shield your home office from view from other parts of the home.
Depending on how many people need a home office you may decide to have one home office, or several home offices. Think about how you will use your offices and what other activities will be going on in the household at the same time. Would it be best located...
Would a homework room or communal home office layout meet your needs?
Homework rooms are gaining in popularity. These are usually located near the main living area of the home, so that adults can supervise how much work is going on and what's on the computer screen.
By a 'communal office' I just mean a homework room where the adults are welcome as well - one big office for the whole family.
If you’ve finished answering all the questions above look back over your answers and think about what you need to store in your home office. How about....
Filing system (filing drawers, pin boards, in tray), stationary and books for starters.
How about wrapping paper, photography equipment, craft equipment and other specialized items related to your individual activities.
It's likely that you've already got these items. Write down the storage space you need for each one by measuring the place where they're currently stored. Add on or take away a little bit of space if you'd like more or less storage space for each item.
If you want to house a computer with a big box, where is the big box going to go? How about your printer? Do you have a shredder? All this equipment needs to be stored, or sit on the floor, or a shelf or on the counter or desktop.
If you have any preferences for how any equipment is to be stored, make a note of it.
The desk is perhaps the most important piece of furniture in a home office and you have a few choices to make...
Do you want the storage furniture (filing cabinets and drawers) to be built in or do you plan on having individual pieces of furniture? A built-in arrangement might means that you can maximize every inch of space you have in your home office layout because it's custom built. The downside of using built-ins is that you can't move things around if you want to try a different arrangement.
Using stand alone furniture has the opposite advantages and disadvantages. You can move around but you might not maximize your space.