Every week I answer several questions about work spaces and organization. With more and more people working from home all or part of the time, home office design has become a significant part of my world. This week I enjoyed all of the design dilemmas and questions sent in but decided it was time to get organized before the new year!
Q. I have worked out of my home for almost seven years and recently found out I was going to have to share my home office with my husband. His company is relocating and gave him the option to work from home. He is thrilled, I am not. How can I set up two work areas having designated spaces and still make it look nice? Leah
A. You are not alone, I have several clients that both work from home and need to share the same space. The good news is there are some simple design ideas that can make your work space effective for both of you. Dividing the spaces with a desk return works well providing an extra work surface to spread out projects and helping to define the two separate work stations. If floor space is not available utilize the height of the walls installing shelving similar to what is shown here to provide both occupants with ample space to organize their tasks and free up some valuable work-surface space.
If you have enough space to line the walls with work-surfaces back to back is a nice option. If your co-worker is quiet you might not even know they are there hehehe. All kidding aside, this option lends itself to ample work-surface space to spread out, separate bookshelves for each of you and covered storage below. I like the idea of white for the cabinets when two people are sharing a home office keeping the atmosphere light, a dark work-surface can add a nice element of style.
For the smaller scale home offices and L-configuration works well. This gives each person their designated space with storage in a separate area behind the work-surfaces. When designing your office talk to each other about the type of tasks you will be working on. For example, the person who requires more space to spread out projects would take the longer side of the work-surface. Review a typical day and what it encompasses for each occupant. If conference calls are part of someones day then leaving the home office relocating to the dining room for the call might be the answer. If clients come for meetings maybe the living room doubles as the meeting space. Thinking out of the box, flexibility, patience and tolerance will help make this new adventure a positive one.