aybe you dash off work e-mails while making dinner, or you squeeze in a halfhour of work on a spreadsheet before bedtime. The line between “at work” and “at home” has become a blurry one for many people, and for others it has disappeared entirely. That makes a home workspace more necessary than ever.
Not every home includes a spare room available for use as an office, but design experts say that’s not a problem: Today’s streamlined technology means that just about any space can be transformed into an appealing and organized area for working.
“Walk into any creative corporation and you’ll find the CEO sitting right smack in the middle of a large, open space along with almost every other key player,” says designer Brian Patrick Flynn of Flynnside Out Productions. “This relaxed, informal atmosphere has become the norm, not just in corporate settings but also in the home.”
Here, Flynn and two other interior designers New York City-based Young Huh and Danielle Colding - offer advice on creating a home work area that’s both practical and inspiring.
Part of a room is perfect
With today’s smaller computers and wireless connections, there’s less need for a boxy desktop and connecting cables. A desk built into a wall of shelving and cabinets can often serve as a fully functioning home office. So unless your work requires total concentration and silence, don’t give up an entire room even if you have one available. And built-in pieces don’t have to be expensive.
“I turned dead space into a mini-home office by configuring Ikea kitchen cabinets and a laminate countertop as a tall workstation,” Flynn says. “You can assemble it all yourself and have the counter cut to size at a local home improvement store.” Once the pieces are installed, “it looks architectural, almost like it’s always been part of the home.”
Or installing these items in a bedroom closet creates a mini-office that can easily be closed off for privacy. In a New York City apartment, Colding opened up the wall between the living room and a small bedroom that had been used as an office. She filled one wall with built-in shelving, cabinetry and a desktop, so the nowlarger living room still offered a complete workspace. And she added a Murphy bed along that wall so the room could still accommodate an overnight visitor.
Another option: Buy a “secretary,” a large piece of furniture with doors that conceal shelves and drawers. “I love using secretaries because they have a drop-down tabletop that