written by: johnsinit•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 9/26/2010
When it comes to home office design, compact spaces are often a major constraint. But that’s OK, because there are many solutions to get the most out of whatever space you can carve out for your home office. It may be challenging, but you can create a very satisfying home office with little space.
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Introduction - A Necessity
With home office design, compact solutions are usually a necessity. Not everyone has an extra room that can be converted into an office, so we often have to make the best of what we have, even if “what we have" is a closet. Think of it as a chance to exercise your creativity to create an office that does what you need with a minimum amount of space.
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Setitng Your Priorities
The less space you have, the more you have to prioritize. Will you need the number crunching power of a PC, or will a laptop or notebook do everything you need? If printing is an interim step in your work rather than a finished project, will a compact design suffice? Can you get by with an armless chair? You can get an adjustable chair on wheels for about $60 from lnt.com. As for desks, if you don’t happen to need a massive executive desk in mahogany, you can get a height-adjustable computer desk with a sliding keyboard tray for approximately $140 from Overstock.com.
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What Do You Really Need?
You may be able to get by with only a fraction of the impedimenta you used to need in an office. After all, cell phones take up next to no space compared with a desk phone, and a notepad and pencil may be all you need on your desk for the occasional jotting down of information. You probably keep your calendar on your computer anyway as well as your calculator and your bank records. The moral of the story is: you probably don’t need a big can of pencils, a stapler, a calculator, or a Rolodex. And if you do, you probably use them seldom enough that they can live in a drawer 99% of the time.
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In home office design, compact thinking means thinking upward where you can. Hutches and shelves can be your best friend if you don’t have a lot of square footage on the floor. Think of things that can be put up high without causing problems, such as your wireless router external hard drives, or even your computer tower. You can get wall mounted desk hutches (otherwise known as “shelves") and go as high up as you please. K-mart.com sells a wall mounted desk hutch with adjustable shelves for about $90.
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Office in a Closet!
Home office design compact spaces can even include closets. For example, if you have a closet just deep enough for a standard filing cabinet, you can get two of the short ones, put them on the left and right, and bridge them with a suitable sized piece of plywood (which you can paint or decorate as you please). It’s not fancy, but it works. You should be able to close the door, even if you have to leave your desk chair outside the closet.
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Finally, no matter how tiny your home office is, don’t forget to have a little fun with decorating. Whether it’s a wall-mounted LCD tablet for doodling or an electronic bubble wrap key chain ($10 from ThinkGeek.com!), home office design compact constraints don’t mean you have to store your personality in another room.