Photo by Roberto Nickson on UnsplashMaking your home office successful in a smaller house or even an apartment can seem daunting. Where would you get your work done? Do you have room for all the important pieces like your desk, computer, and file storage? Will you be able to invite clients in for a meeting?
Fortunately, there are many options to offset these difficulties and inconveniences if you can be patient with what it takes to make your business successful and your home livable.
Where is the Best Place for your Home Office-ette?
With a small living space, there simply must be a small working space. However, if you have nowhere to work, you cannot work, and then you may not be able afford where you live potentially! That is a vicious cycle, but it does not mean that you have to choose one or the other. A little give from both sides may leave you in a comfortable working environment without intruding on your daily life.
If you do have a potential guest room, that certainly means the guest room becomes the office. It may be inconvenient or make you uncomfortable to tell guests they do not have bedroom to stay in or have to stay on your couch, but your home business simply has to matter more than that particular instance.
If you have multiple kids, perhaps the kids must share a room to let you have the other room to get your work done. Having the kids share a room with you probably is not a healthy option, but having them share a room surely will not hurt their development even if they grumble about it. They need you to get your work done even if they do not understand why.
Fret not, we are not asking you to sleep on the couch instead of having a bedroom. A small nook in your bedroom may suffice for all of your work space. You will only need a small desk, and we will discuss that more in depth later this article. You may find that nightstand can be replaced or even transformed into your workspace, and that may be all the space you need.
One thing to consider with this choice is the potential that you may begin to overwork yourself. Having your work next to your bed may tempt you to go bed-to-desk without even getting breakfast first, then struggling to get to bed at a good hour instead of getting just a bit more work done. You may even wake up early to get one more thing done because your computer is right there. This may seem like hard work, but it can become unhealthy if it is common, so set a routine for yourself that you will stick to. Set a bedtime, and set your meal times. Then you can responsibly have an office in your bedroom.
If you have even a small living room, a home office there may truly seem much less out of place than you imagine. It can easily be worked into the home life rather than seem like an intrusion. A small desk, or even just a corner of the kitchen table may be enough room for you and look natural. You may even be able to hide the home office behind the front door, though make sure you add a doorstop to protect yourself from someone barging in and hitting you with the door.
For some extra privacy, you may consider adding some curtains. They should not be difficult to install at all. The separation may be useful to keep you undistracted from what is going on in the living room, and those in the living room should see that and remember not to bother you.
Would it really be that bad to have an office in the closet? It may seem like a joke, but if your closet has any spare space and is not covered in shelves, you may be able to convert it into a small home office. Add proper lighting, store a little desk in there, and make sure the door will not slam into your head from someone walking by. Most closets like this should have an electrical outlet, but make sure that you have the connectivity of course. If you have a wireless internet connection, then you will not need an ethernet hookup.
What Size Desk do you Need?
How much desk space do you really need? If you have a smaller, mobile computer, you will be able to do your electronic work dedicatedly, then stow the computer away when you need to do paperwork. That may seem like a small thing, but being willing to make that adjustment means you only need a deskspace a couple of feet wide. This will save you tremendous room in your home and let your home office only be a very small inconvenience to your small home.
You may even be able to use a standing-desk setup, potentially with a high chair where you can seamlessly decide to sit or stand while working. This is not only healthy but space-efficient as it allows your home office to just be a small corner with a desk extending only a bit from the wall and your chair hiding naturally in the space.
Can you take Advantage of Wall Space?
Using wall space properly can save you tons of room in your attempt at making a home office in a small home. Any sort of storage that is not incredibly heavy can be hung there easily with some hangers. Even things that seem heavy can be supported rather well with the right material. Hang your file organizers from the wall, and use a corkboard for reminders. That will save tons of room for your small home office and leave your desk free and clear. Having an emptier desk will destress you and help you to get more work done as well.
Desktop or Laptop?
Choosing a laptop over a desktop for a smaller home office is a no-brainer of course, but if you already have a desktop, it may be difficult to justify the money for the switch. It may be expected that if you are struggling with room for your home office, you do not have finances to throw around at will for the perfect gadgets. A laptop will save you much room though, and it can help you to get more work done on the road. It may even take away the need for anything like a true home office if all you really need is your computer to work done. A dedicated space will help productivity, but if you cannot afford the space, what can you do instead?
If you do have a desktop and cannot switch to a laptop, get the tower far out of the way. There is no need for it to be on top of the desk. All you need it for is the power button and maybe a USB port occasionally. Stow it underneath the desk, and out of sight.
Another space saver for your computer setup is to have a drawer for your keyboard and mouse. This will take away quite a bit of room from the desk itself, which may be essential if you have little room for anything but a monitor. Having a wireless keyboard and mouse may make this easier, but it is not difficult to fish the wires through a makeshift hole into that small drawer. Many such desks will be pre-equipped to handle this anyways.
Consider Renting an Office Space
If the home office truly is not meant to be in your small home, then there may be no choice bu to move business elsewhere. There are many hard decisions to make in that process, so make sure you go in well-informed. For more information on that topic, check out our article Should I have a Home office or Rent an Office Space?