Photo Credit: Collov Home Design
As more companies increase remote opportunities and kids continue with virtual learning, it may be time to get a more permanent solution for your at-home office and classrooms. With every home and budget being different, families and roommates alike have had to get creative with their solutions — one mom even bought her whole family cubicles! Regardless of how much space you have and how much money you have to invest in it, here are some tips to help make your workspace your own and fill it with everything you need to be productive.
Although the pandemic has caused restrictions on travel and in-person gatherings with friends and family, this leaves room for you to finally utilize that empty guest room in your home. If this room is only functioning as an added space for loved ones to stay, it may be time to re-purpose it into an office or classroom. Working and learning from home can be coupled with countless distractions, so having a designated space helps separate daily life from work and school. The extra space really allows you to customize the room for your specific needs, rather than just finding any surface in the house to write or place a computer on.
What It Needs
Door with a Lock - Zoom and other video platforms have become an essential part of daily workflow and learning. While one of the perks of being at home is being available to your family at a moment's notice, there are some important calls that should not be interrupted. Updating your door knobs to a key-in knob set does not mean you have to lock yourself in your office, but will help in those crucial moments that cannot be wasted.
Hooks/Cubbies - For younger children, having their learning space at home feel the most like their classroom at school is ideal. Having hooks to hang backpacks and cubbies to keep supplies can make the learning environment feel familiar, but also makes sure that their work doesn’t end up strewn across the house.
Murphy Bed - If you’re not ready to completely give up on your handy guest room, a murphy bed or daybed may be a way to make sure your friends and family have a place to sleep. This small addition to your new office is a great way to optimize the space for work, school, and possible visitors.
For a more substantial change, consider adding a kitchen workstation. Whether you’re taking on an entire kitchen remodel or expanding your current kitchen out into an unused space, an upgrade like this adds value to your home. Additionally, building a desk into cabinets, rather than simply adding a stand-alone desk, greatly increases your storage — which can help you stay organized.
What It Needs
Fun Finishes - While the actual desk components are made from a countertop and cabinetry, make the space your own with knobs and handles that inspire you and show your personality. Little touches like this tie the look of the kitchen together. With our tips on selecting and installing cabinet hardware, you can implement this quick change to make a beautiful upgrade that you will see and use every day.
Lighting - Any small or random corner space could be the perfect place for a desk. But sitting in a dark corner staring at a bright computer screen can cause eye strain and fatigue — especially if your design includes upper cabinets. Brighten up the space with under cabinet lights or opt for table lamps that show your design style.
The reality is that many households just do not have the space to accommodate every family member having their own room or desk to work from — which in many cases means sharing the dining table. If the table is large enough, try to designate one end to be the work area where you can leave supplies and materials for the workday. Additionally, try to work at a part of the table that faces away from the main living spaces and the TV. Little investments in organization and even just rearranging some of your existing furniture can make this space more functional.
What It Needs
Dividers/partitions - If the only available space is the dining room table, try to partition off a section that is just for work and set it up like a real desk, whether for office work or school work. This will help you stay more organized and keep your work from spilling over into the rest of the house. It will also help block out the TV.
Shelving/Storage - If you can’t set up a workstation at the table full time, move a bookshelf over by the table so that your work materials have a designated space for when the school or workday is over. Office accessories and storage items can also help you move items quickly and neatly.
Before you fill up your cart or knock down a wall, take the extra time to plan your space. You and your kids deserve a place to work, learn, and create that is designed for you, even if it is just the end of the dining table. Measure out spaces and plan accordingly. Consider investing in furniture that you can see yourself using for a long time, and can handle daily use, rather than just a quick fix solution. While it may not feel like the best time financially for a big home improvement project or furniture investment, research options like a home equity loan, personal loan, or even a credit card with great rewards for financing can help you get the job done. This space will not only provide support to you and your family right now, but will also increase the value of your home, making it worth your while if you ever plan to sell and move as your family grows. Regardless of your space or budget, be intentional and thoughtful about your at-home office and classroom. Finally, make sure you’ve got a great WiFi connection.