You need an office in your home, and you have a spare bedroom. It’s a perfect fit, right? Well, it can be if you plan appropriately.
The transition from a spare bedroom to an at-home office requires forethought and planning. Follow these tips to create an at-home workspace every bit as productive as a conventional downtown office.
- Measure the Fit
Is the bedroom physically large enough to accommodate all the things your office will need? You will need a desk and a comfortable office chair, of course, and perhaps bookshelves or a credenza.
Those items are obvious because we see them, sit at them and reach to them every day, but we often forget about many other necessary pieces of office furniture.
Will you need file cabinets in your office? How about a stand for your printer/fax/copier? Will you be shredding discarded documents?
In a corporate office space, many of these resources are shared from centralized locations. Out of sight is out of mind, however, and people often forget to include them when planning a conversion to a home office.
- Allow Extra Space
Nothing kills productivity like a cramped workspace. When you measure the room to make sure that the desk and file cabinets fit, allow plenty of room for movement around the equipment.
A comfortable office space will draw you in, and you won’t have to force yourself to do work.
- Consider the Wiring Layout
Think about wiring when planning your room conversion. Most computers and printers now feature wireless connectivity, and many people routinely use cell phones instead of traditional landlines, but electronics still require access to power.
Once you plug in a computer and your printer, where will the router or modem plug in? What about that paper shredder or even a desk lamp? Multi-outlet surge protectors offer some relief, but always plan your room conversion around the available wall outlets.
- Light It Up!
Lighting is an extremely important consideration when converting a bedroom to a home office. Bedrooms are designed to create a sense of restful seclusion. They usually have subdued lighting.
Offices, on the other hand, are work spaces where bright, efficient lighting is a must. The easiest and most economical method of bringing light into a room is simply to replace bulbs.
Bedrooms often feature low-wattage soft white bulbs. Daylight bulbs with brighter, more natural light are better choices for an office.
The fixtures may not be positioned well for an office. It may be necessary to install new fixtures to provide optimal workspace illumination.
In some cases, you may wish to change the window treatment to allow in more daylight. Some conversions even include the installation of natural daylighting conduits that direct sunlight into a room through highly reflective tubes.
- An Office Should Look Like an Office
Bedroom color schemes are often dark and soothing. When you convert a bedroom into an office, change that paradigm! Create a more energetic setting with brighter colors.
Change the décor to something more vibrant. Put up your framed diploma or continuing education certificates. Create an environment for work, and you will work in that environment.
You don’t need to be a feng shui master to convert a bedroom into a functional and efficient office space. You just need to give some thought to the work that you actually plan to do in the office.
If you will be spending a lot of time on the phone, then the phone will likely be a prominent fixture in your office. Your mechanism for taking notes – whether it be a digital recorder, a computer keyboard, or even a pen and paper – should be readily available and easy to access.
Reference materials that you use frequently should be close at hand and not on the other side of the room.
Consideration of these issues before converting a bedroom to an office will make the transition easier. You will create a good workspace where you can work efficiently and comfortably.
Chris is an “on the floor” sales associate at Home Depot and is a regular contributor to Home Depot’s blog. Among his many interests are solar panels, home automation and home security.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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