I’ll admit that I’ve been spoiled these last five years: I’ve been lucky enough to have a room in our house that’s a fully dedicated home office. Earlier this year we started gearing up for adoption and are starting to make “space shifts” around our home. One of those shifts is knowing that our current office will be used as a nursery in the (hopefully🤞) near future . With some extra time in pandemic quarantine this year, I set out to define where I’d create my future workspace. Being that we have no other bedrooms to move into, I had to get clever! Read on if you need help creating a workspace without an office!
Tips For Creating A Workspace Without An Office
Creating More Space Where There Isn’t Any
Finding a dedicated spot for your workspace is easier said than done. It can feel especially challenging to create a space that feels productive. So, put on your slippers, grab a cup of coffee (I’m writing this in the AM!) and let’s go for a little walk around your home. Oh I miss field trips!
Start by scanning your rooms for underutilized space. I find there’s generally some wiggle room in the living areas and maybe your master bedroom. Is there a plant you bought to fill a corner way back when? Bingo! A piece of furniture that you hate and that’s totally unfunctioning? Give it the good old chuck! Be open and willing tossing furniture that just doesn’t work any more or even the potential of rearranging an entire room to make a little spot for you and your desk. Look at everything with fresh eyes!
Don’t close yourself off to any one room. It could be your master bedroom, the living room, or den! Let’s leave those Zoom calls out of the bathroom, though! Remember that it’s important to choose a space that’s conducive to your work and the people who will be at home with you. I’ll get into this more a little further down!
I ended up creating my desk nook in our living room. I’m sure some of you who already have kids are laughing! While we don’t yet, this was a good starting point to train my mind out of a doored-off office. We will see!
Why did I choose this spot? We have a quite large fiddle leaf fig that was once tucked in the corner. I never really realized that there was a three foot wall behind it. Just perfect for my desk and chair! The fiddle worked great in the window on the other side of the room (though it’s looking a little sad….a fiddle saga for another day!).
It’s Down To the Bare Necessities
Okay, you know Marie Kondo right? It’s time to go and rewatch her Netflix show and gain some inspiration because you’re going to need to pair down. I know…I hate that phrase, “pair it down” almost as much as I hate the word “budget”. But, like a budget, taking it down to only what you need is a necessary step for creating a workspace without an office.
Make a mental list of the items you really need (did I say need?! Need.) to complete your job. Depending on the size of the space you’ve found, you likely won’t have much desk surface. Only allow yourself the essentials. Think 3-5 items like; computer, keyboard, mouse, coaster for a bevi, etc,
Don’t forget other rooms in your home can be flex spaces when needed. Maybe your small workspace doesn’t do for those big strategy sessions where that require sprawling out. Maybe you use the dining room occasionally instead. That’s okay! When I say “essentials” I mostly mean those items that you use on 90% of your work days.
Fortunately, most of my work is done on my laptop or my phone so my list ran pretty small. I do sometimes print for my real estate business but have resolved to put our printer in our large pantry. Thank goodness for wireless printers. Remember the days when we had to plug those things in? I also tell myself that it’s great because I get a little exercise walking back and forth too. I always love a double or triple justification method to convince myself. But it’s working great!
Choose the Right Furniture
You know where it’s going to be, you know the supplies you need. Now it’s time to start thinking about furniture. Think small and minimal for furniture. You will probably only need a desk and a chair. If you do need more than this for your work, try to get crafty. If you need some extra storage think a filing cabinet on wheels that doubles as a seat or go vertical with wall shelving for extra space.
I utilized a small West Elm desk that we had in one of our small Boston apartments. It was a desk that became a console and is now a desk again! It’s perfect for the job and, lo and behold it fit perfectly on that three foot wall I discovered! At the time, I used a spare chair from our dining room but have since been on the lookout for a better replacement. You know, something cushy!
Set Boundaries With Your Crew
Whether you have a husband, girlfriend, roommate, kids, dog, fish, or whatever at home, once you’ve found the spot for your home workspace, you’ve got to set boundaries with the people and things that might be around. Just because your office is in the corner of a living room doesn’t mean that little Blake can come over and interrupt you all the time.
In order for your workspace to be successful, you need to set expectations with your family about how the space will be used and when you will be available for interruptions. A good way of doing this is with some sort of “sign” that everyone can know and understand. For example: when the headphones are in, you’re busy. Or maybe you create a small sign to hang off the edge of your desk that says “busy” or “free” (that’s what we do with Sky’s He-Shed/office!). Make sure everyone is on the same page so that you can stay productive. This may be the most essential part of creating a workspaces without an office! No walls means more chances for interruptions. Nip it in the bud from the start!
Get To Work and Don’t Be Afraid to Adjust
Now it’s time to try it out. It will definitely be different at first – like working from home is for many of us. Don’t be afraid to tweak and adjust as time moves on to make your home workspace function for you. Creating a workspace without an office is never an easy task but with the right mindset and the right tools, you can create an awesome space to get the job done in the comfort of your home!