November 5, 2012

Home Office Makeover: What is Wrong With This Picture?

Like many of you, I work from home.  My home is a tiny 800 square foot cottage in Venice, California.  My office is the larger of two bedrooms – about 120 square feet – in the front of the house.

The room evolved from a guest room into a home office when I left my executive corporate job and started working from home.  At first I worked in sales for a technology company in northern California.  The technology company paid for a high quality filing cabinet and desk chair.  The rest I bought or repurposed.

Now that I work for myself and specialize in home offices as a professional organizer, it was time to take a hard look at my set up.

My current set up had my back to the room, an inadequate bookshelf blocked by a phone table, difficult to access equipment in the corner, and an overall cramped feeling.

What Worked

  • Light: The room has a southeast exposure with good natural light from two large windows
  • Furniture: the computer desk, writing table, and file cabinet worked well and didn’t need replacing
  • Equipment: I had a new computer, printer and scanner
  • Files: my files were easily accessible from my primary work station

What Didn’t Work

  • Space:  The bed was placed in front of the door, creating a barrier to entrance.  My computer desk faced the far wall which exposed my back to the room.  When working, I could not see the door. Both placements were bad feng shui.
  • Storage:  The Ikea bookshelf had outgrown its usefulness.  Even with regular purges it was overflowing.  I had odd-shaped equipment – a light box, two paper cutters, a tripod – that didn’t fit on the shelves and were stored in a hard to access corner. The vertical space was under-utilized.

Goals

  • Make the office seem more spacious and inviting
  • Increase storage space without increasing square footage
  • Create a visually pleasing, calm work environment

Constraints

  • The room had to continue to function as an occasional guest room
  • The closet could not be used for office items
  • Entrance door, closet doors and two windows limited where furniture could be placed

 

Next: Making a Plan

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