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Perfecting Home Office Space on Any Budget

Solutions that are both practical and stylish.

Creating a comfortable and functional home office.

Many of us, now finding ourselves working remotely, have come to recognize the need for a dedicated space inside the home, where productivity and concentration isn’t interrupted by other family members.

A kitchen breakfast bar or the dining room table is NOT a home office.

Likely you have seen humorous advertisements about this very subject portraying virtual meeting mishaps and embarrassments. Although meant to be lighthearted and amusing; it is in fact, today’s reality. Even without a pandemic as the driving force – doesn’t a home office make sense?  A place where the kids can do school work or study without distraction. A place where you can organize and keep your household accounts.

Whether you live in a spacious single detached, or in a studio condo, a home office setup is equally achievable.

Maybe the opportunity exists to convert an under-utilized bedroom, or portion of a finished basement, into a workday environment.

Let’s start with the guest bedroom. Even in the best of times, ask yourself, “How often do I host overnight guests?” Would a pull-out sofa be a more practical alternative? What about a Murphy bed? Either option frees up the room for an office and with a little careful space planning, it can still accommodate visitors.

Fashioning a home office in an out-of-the-way corner in the rec room is a little easier to accomplish. The space can be separated with the artful use of furniture or screens, and when you need a break from work… just head over to your on-site gym.

In smaller homes and condominium units, finding a dedicated location can be more challenging. This is where furniture really needs to serve a dual purpose.  An alcove or closet can become a cozy office with features and conveniences suited to both work and home.

Essential items for your home office.

Ergonomic home office desk.

An office framework requires three essential components.

  1. A desk or allocated worktop.
  2. A comfortable office chair of good quality.
  3. Proper lighting to reduce eye strain.

Ultra modern glass and steel, traditional wood, or something in between, the desk is the workhorse of the office. Look beyond the simple aesthetics to the more practical considerations of comfort and storage.  The desk and keyboard should be at a height to lessen fatigue while at the computer. It’s important to keep the surface as clutter free as possible – especially if it’s used by more than one family member.

A good office chair is paramount. Eight or so hours of your day could be spent seated at your desk. In order to accommodate everyone in the household, adjustable is the most sensible. Beyond that, there are plenty of chairs on the market with functions and adaptations to suit individual preferences.

The need for proper lighting should never be underestimated. It’s lovely to have windows, but natural light shifts position throughout the day. Sometimes it’s perfect. Sometimes the sun glares in your eyes or onto the computer screen.  An overhead fixture or pot lights may illuminate the general area but they’re not terribly helpful as task lighting.  A desk lamp is an essential accessory. It’s moveable, generally adjustable, and can be stylish on the most lavish or modest of budgets.

These extras can enhance your personal workspace.

  • Bookcase
  • Filing Cabinet
  • Shelving
  • Office Equipment & Supplies

A bookcase isn’t just for books. Offered in everything from the very simple to ornate, a bookcase provides storage without excessive intrusion into the room. Functional by design, some have pull-down work surfaces ideal for a small space, or when the office is shared. Add warmth to the unit by displaying family photos, the kid’s trophies, and maybe a board game or two.

Similarly, to capitalize on the configuration of the traditional bunk bed, manufactures have included ingenious built-in multi-function components to the structure where youngsters can do homework, projects and activities in the comfort of their bedroom.

A filing cabinet doesn’t need to “only” be utilitarian. With so many choices in materials and finishes, a two-drawer lateral unit transforms into an attractive piece of furniture with its practical purpose in disguise. Decorate with a lamp, hang artwork on the wall and group together a few small objects, but make an effort to keep this space from becoming too cluttered.

Shelving is quite simply – versatile. Available in different compositions, finishes, and dimensions, a computer nook in the hallway or a small closet can effectively function as a home office by the addition and flexibility of shelves. There are those who prefer to remove the somewhat cumbersome door(s) of a converted closet. Others favour closing off the work space at the end of the day to concentrate on well deserved down time.

Every office runs on equipment. Obviously the computer will be on your desk. What about a printer and other tech you may need? Wireless connections allow you to move these items away from precious desktop workspace onto a bookcase or filing cabinet.

Basic office paraphernalia and supplies can be kept in a drawer or put on display. Inexpensive pen holders, or high end office sets; they both serve the same useful purpose.

Be creative and use your imagination.

Cozy home office with a view.

If the budget allows, entire office suites are available from local retailers. The style, components and functionality have already been planned out and developed. You need only decide which furnishings will best fit into the room and your home’s decor.

A smaller budget doesn’t mean less functional – or less attractive for that matter. Give some thought to repurposing furniture you may already have in the home. A rectangular wooden table can be fitted with a pull-out keyboard tray.  Colourful plastic filing bins can be stacked alongside or beneath this cleverly devised office desk. Include the ever important good chair and desk lamp, and ask the kids to put their crafting skills to work on boxes, trays and jars.  I can’t imagine there could ever be more prized or fashionable pen and file holders.

Inject a little ambiance into the business environment. Soft music in the background makes for a much more pleasant day. Remember to take breaks. It’s easy, when working from the home, to spend more hours at the job.

“Zoom Meeting” has become the phrase of the day.  Few of us knew much about it only a few short months ago. Secretly critiquing the background decor of others in the group has become the newest popular hobby. You can opt to display virtual backgrounds… but, why would you? Yours is the perfect home office.

Top Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash
Cheryl Tym, Sales Representative, REMAX Aboutowne Realty Corp., Brokerage
Cheryl Tym
REALTOR®, RE/MAX Aboutowne Realty Corp., Brokerage

A full time REALTOR® dedicated to providing the best possible service and outcome for clients and their families. International sales, marketing and negotiating skills were part of the daily routine while living and working overseas as Director of Operations for an international hospitality marketing firm. A graduate of Sheridan’s Interior Design Program, and recipient of the Professionalism Award, my artistry and knowledge will highlight the very best features of your property, inside and out.

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CHERYL TYM, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Aboutowne Realty Corp., Brokerage
Independently Owned and Operated
A-309 Lakeshore Road East
Oakville, Ontario, L6J 1J3
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