written by: N Nayab•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 5/10/2011
Designing a good home office space can greatly improve your productivity and efficiency. We'll help you pick the design best for you based on ergonomics, aesthetics, space, and cost considerations.
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The strip layout is the basic and most common of all home office layouts, and entails arranging all home office furniture in a single line. An extended strip or double strip, arranging furniture on two parallel walls works best when the home office sits in a long corridor or a room with plenty of length but little width.
The strip design owes its popularity to the fact that it consumes the least amount of space and is usually less expensive. Another big advantage of the strip layout is that it is easy to build on this layout and convert to any other design later. Most home offices, therefore, incorporate this basic design at the start and upgrade to a more sophisticated design later depending on the success and requirements.
The strip layout works fine for small home offices where the major work is on the computer. In comparatively larger offices with much equipment it makes accessing files or equipment difficult, and can reduce efficiency.
A corner layout or “L" shaped layout entails positioning the workstation and storage spaces in the corner of a room, usually using two adjacent and perpendicular walls. Adding a bookshelf or filing cabinets parallel to such furniture creates an L-shaped corridor that serves as a barrier to the workstation and the rest of the room. Another option is an inverted “L" with one arm of the workstation projecting out into the room while the other arm skirts one wall.
Corner and “L" shaped designs give a neat and tidy look especially in square rooms, and makes best use of available space. Such designs generally provide a large workspace suitable for more than one person to work, and allows for placing all equipment and storage within easy reach, usually at arms length from the workstation.
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The "U" Design
The “U" shaped layout is another common layout and entails positioning a desk and placing two other desks as islands on both sides of the first desk.
This design ranks among the best, for:
Providing ample workspace
The design suits most rooms irrespective of the size, and works best to seclude the home office when the room is shared
It allows two people to share the workspace without intruding into each other’s space
It allows for all equipment within arms reach of the worker
The outer corners allow for good storage space
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The “T" shape design works best when two or more people share the workstation. The “T" intrudes and splits the workstation into two, providing privacy to individual workstations while allowing common facilities such as printer and fax in the middle for easy access by all.
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The style you choose ultimately depends on the shape of the room, the positioning of the window and power plugs. The best home office design is one that adapts and suits the room. Generally, it is important to place the workstation away from windows to prevent glare and outside disturbances, and near the power plugs to minimize the use of extension cords and to plug in surge protectors directly.
One good option for small home office layout ideas and home office furniture layout placement tips is downloading the IKEA Office Planning Tool. This planning tool allows dragging and dropping furniture pieces into a layout, viewing them in 3-D, trying different color combinations, and viewing the total cost for each combination.