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From freelance work to side hustles, the home office has had some massive growth in recent years. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford a living space that includes an extra room for a full home office. The good news is that it doesn’t actually take an entire room to carve out some space for a home office. Read on to learn some tips for making a home office in a small living space.
Choose a part of your home that feels separate from areas where people frequently congregate. For example, you shouldn’t set up your home office in the middle of your living room as it would only distract you while you work and cause complications when you are entertaining guests or relaxing with your family. Look for underutilized corners and nooks. With the right furniture and decor, a rarely used dining room or an oversized guest room can be home to a small working space. You may need to get creative, like removing the doors in a cupboard space or making use of a closet. If you are really having trouble, consider dividing an existing space using room divider screens, bookshelves, or strategically placed furniture.
When considering a space for your home office, try to select an area that gets enough sunlight, like by a window. Aside from helping your overall mood and sense of efficiency, sunlight can make a space look and feel more open than it is. If your office is lacking in natural lighting, you may have to make up for it with more lamps.
Monitor mounts are becoming increasingly popular, partly because they provide greater customizability, and partly for clearing up your desk space to reduce potential clutter. Whether you use a side-clamp mount or a wall mount, mounting your monitor can help to support a slick, clean desktop. The added bonus: mounts allow you to adjust the viewing angle, height, and rotation of your monitor. This makes for improved ergonomics, reducing your neck and eye strain. Before you purchase a mount, be sure to verify that your monitor can be mounted.
Most monitor mounts also come with built-in cord management systems, allowing you to properly organize all the wires and cables sprouting from your computer and electronics. Even without a mount, make sure you organize your cables. Tuck them behind your desk and along nearby walls using zip ties or clips. This will prevent tangles, maintain your own safety, and prevent further clutter. For a detailed step-by-step on how to mount your monitor, check out our simple guide!
Along with a mounted monitor, keep your desk clear in general. It’s far too easy for a few stray papers to overtake your desk and turn into a mess. Get rid of trash and scrap pieces of paper immediately, and use file cabinets to create a system that works for you to minimize clutter while supporting your overall organization.
The good news about having such a small work area is that it doesn’t necessitate a lot of furniture. Usually, a desk, a chair, and some accessories for filing and organization are all that you need. While you should keep things compact, with such few actual items, it helps to invest a little more in pieces that maintain comfort and function. Remember that you’ll be working at your desk for hours on end. Choose a chair that provides plenty of support and a desk that is aesthetically pleasing and functional without sacrificing ergonomics. Using mounts, stands, and other accessories that take any potential strain out of writing on your desk or using your computer day to day is also a great idea.
If you’re aching for more shelf space, think vertically instead of horizontally. Wall shelves are affordable and easy to install, providing plenty of room for books, décor, bins, and extra file organizers. Though they require a bit more investment, built-in shelves can yield even more storage space if you're short on square footage. If you have drawers, consider stacking them tall. Make use of the space under your desk (without sacrificing too much legroom). If your work requires you to draw or diagram things, use chalkboard paint to transform a standard wall into a chalkboard wall. By using your vertical space, you can optimize your storage while keeping everything accessible within your reach.
Creating a space that feels personalized for your work can seem difficult, but it’s actually much easier and more affordable than you realized. Try not to overthink things. Keeping things small, compact, and efficient is a great place to start.