There are a million and one tips out there on designing a functional and fun home office, but for some folks all those articles spark more envy than inspiration. Have a spare attic or loft? asks one such piece. Ha, these people respond. In my tiny apartment, I barely have space for another pair of shoes.
Are those living in cramped quarters eternally doomed to trudge from coffee shop to coffee shop (or shell out for a co-working space) if they want to work remotely? Not at all. Just because you're currently living in tight quarters doesn't mean you should be barred from working at home in comfort.
A recent SmallBizDaily article by Lea Schneider on tiny home offices sent me searching the web for possible solutions for cool work spaces in cramped quarters. Here are some of the best I turned up.
1. Redefining the corner office
The basic principle behind squeezing a home office into your tiny home is simple -- find a disused space and stick in a desk. Most often this takes the form of an unloved or out-of-the-way corner, but it could be that awkward niche between two closets, the nook under the stairs, or even a truly multipurpose bedside table. Here's a whole Apartment Therapy post dedicated to this idea and another gallery of ideas from Everygirl.
2. Who said it's just a hallway?
This is a variation on the first principle of tiny-home office design above, but instead of looking at your disused corners with new eyes, why not reinvent a hallway instead? Here's a sleek example from HGTV.
3. Just move the sofa
Could you rearrange your living room to fit a narrow console table at the back of your couch? Then you're in business, says Schneider, who notes that "rearranging the living room furniture to create a cubbyhole area for work is an easy and free solution." Just tuck a chair under the table, hide any work mess discreetly underneath, and you've got yourself an instant workspace.
4. The partition solution
Another solution for slightly larger living rooms (or other bigger spaces) is to carve up the space to create an office nook using a book case of other visual divider. If you want more privacy, get one with a walled back. You can "glam up the back of the bookcase with a great accent color, paint, or a roll of wallpaper. You can even hang a piece of art on the back," Schneider suggests.
Or opt for an open bookcase for two-sided storage and a more open feel. Another option is to use a folding screen.
5. Wardrobe out, workspace in
This won't be the solution for every small space dweller, but if you're among the happy few who can do without one of your closets, salvation is at hand. Remove the door and shelving and stick in a desk and some fun accents and you're good to go. Here's one example from MyHomeIdeas.
6. Paint yourself into a corner
Generally it's a bad idea to paint yourself into a corner, but not if you mean it literally, jokes SmallBiz. "Visual division is important in feeling like you have your own space for work. A great idea is to choose a terrific accent color that compliments the rest of your den or living room. Use that color for the office area so there is a clear separation," writes Schneider.
7. Office in a box
Finally, the answer to your work space needs might not be a creative rethink of some nook or cranny of your home, but the right piece of furniture, notes blog Centsational Girl.
"A tall computer hutch is a great way to use vertical space to pack all things office into one piece of furniture," claims a post on home offices in small spaces. "Stylish secretary cabinets are also useful for a quick pull down desktop," it adds. Plus, all you need to do to hide your messy desk at the end of the day is to close the thing up. Here's the post for inspiring visuals.