With so many of us working from home nowadays, it’s clear that a home office is becoming an essential addition to any living space. In the best-case scenario, you get an entire room to yourself. However, sometimes that room might not be the biggest. If you’re in a smaller home office that doesn’t allow for much room to swing your legs around, how do you make the most of it? Here, we’re going to look at ways to maximise your space and your comfort.
Float what you can
There is likely to be a lot more vertical space in your small home office than floor space. As such, where you have the opportunity to use one over the other, you should try to keep your floor as clean and uncluttered as possible. One of the cleverest ways you can do this is to install a single, large, and sturdy wall shelf to act as a floating desk instead of having to get an entire piece of furniture. You can tuck your seat and any storage you might need below it, while still give yourself the space that you need to get your work done in peace. You can tuck it into the corner of the room to take up even less space.
Smartly use that vertical storage space
If you need storage for your home office, then you should do much the same thing as recommended in the last tip, using the vertical space at your disposal when possible. You can put things like a small filing cabinet below your desk to keep it out of the way, but you can also make use of things like open shelving options so that you can keep your desk clear. Just make sure that you consider where you’re going to be when you’re reaching for things. If you’re likely to be sitting down while trying to grab something, you have to ensure that you install those shelving units at the right height to be convenient and accessible.
Downsize your tech
If you already have a desktop PC that you’re working with, then the best you can hope to do is to place it somewhere that it’s going to be too much of a hassle. However, if you’re newly outfitting your home office or it’s time to replace your old equipment, you might want to think against the idea of installing a big, chunky tower PC. Instead, you should look at some of the mini PCs available on the market. These act much the same as regular PCs but take up a fraction of the space. Unlike laptops, they can be highly specced to meet all kinds of industrial needs. Also highly portable in case you need to take your work anywhere else with you, so long as you have a monitor.
Secure your desk with a tidy
Keeping your desk neat, organised, and easy to rifle through it going to help you throughout your workday. If you tend to have all sorts of work documents or notes kicking around while you’re hard at work, then make sure that you’re using a desk tidy to keep it all in one place and to make it accessible. You want to avoid cluttering up your desk too much, even temporarily, as it’s going to make that space feel all the smaller and more claustrophobic, which is going to have impacts on your comfort while working.
Leave space for some greenery
We know the tips so far have been about saving space as best as possible. However, you want to save space so that you both have enough of it to contain everything that your home office needs and that you have enough to feel comfortable in that office. Both of those criteria are ticked by making sure that you find space for a plant, be it on the floor, on a shelf, or on your desk. A low-maintenance small plant can do a lot to add colour and life to the space. They’re been consistently found to be good for morale, motivation, and alleviating stress, as well, so there’s no reason not to.
Go minimal with your surfaces, too
Maximising space and the feeling of roominess in a smaller room isn’t just about your office furniture and equipment, either. It applies to the features of the room, the surfaces that you might not otherwise be thinking about. For instance, you should try going minimal with designs and patterns, as things that are too textured or visually busy can only serve to make a small room look smaller. One example is when you’re choosing the flooring, you might want to choose wood or vinyl floors that are clean, smooth, and have minimal variation in their look, while still not being a block uniform colour. Carpets can have much the opposite effect.
Add some task lighting
The light fixture hanging from the ceiling isn’t enough to make sure that you have a comfortable space. If you’re spending most of your day working at your monitor, then you are going to need some light to contrast the blue light from those screens that can cause eyestrain. If your desk offers the space, then a desk lamp might be no issue. However, if you don’t have that space, then you might want to look at options such as installing recessed lighting into a wall or even into your desk or shelves. Light placement is important, you don’t want it to be glaring directly at your eyes, but you want it to be in your eye line when you’re working so that it’s able to offer the contrasting light so that your eyes aren’t just locked on to your monitor.
Use colour to your advantage
One of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to making a room feel larger is to use the right colours. Though the best choices will largely depend on how, precisely, the light hits and gets through the room, the general rule is that brighter and light colours tend to make a space feel larger. Darker colours tend to extend the shadows that hang in the corners and nooks of the room, which can make it feel smaller and more claustrophobic. You can use colours smartly to balance dark with light, but in general, you might want to stick with a sunny colour palette. It’s also going to make the space feel a little more cheerful and motivating.
Light plays a role, too
One of the reasons that bright colours tend to make a room larger is that they are better at reflecting light. Basically, the better that you can get light to travel around the room, the larger that it’s going to feel. To that end, you should make sure that you’re working to maximise any natural light that makes it into the room. This can include switching out heavier window treatments that block more light such as heavy curtains and instead opting for things like blinds that allow you to better control your lighting while still offering privacy. Keep your window sill clear and try to avoid placing any furniture in front of the windows, too. Mirrors can be great for reflecting light around the office, too.
While a bigger space may be the thing you desire most from your home office, you might not have that option. For that reason, consider the tips above and think about what you could do to make the most out of the space that you do have.