August 19, 2020
The Complete Guide to Home Office Remodeling
Whether you work from home permanently or are telecommuting temporarily, having a customized home office is essential for productivity. If the dining room table or kitchen island currently doubles as your desk, creating a custom home office might be something to seriously consider. Everyone can be successful working from home under the right conditions, but coming up with the perfect office design to accommodate your remote work requires careful consideration. From layout to lighting, this is your chance to craft a workspace that is unique to you and how you work. Use these home office remodeling tips as a guide.
Home Office Essentials
To put you in a more positive and productive mood your home office should include these essentials:
- Spacious desk
- Ergonomic office chair
- Modern electronic gadgets (computer, monitor, printer, wireless router, etc.)
- Storage and organization
- Enough soft lighting to prevent eye strain
Where to Locate Your Office
Location is very important! Below we dive into some common options for where to locate your home office and what to consider.
Separating “Work” from “Home” Space
If you can, choose a separate room for your dedicated workspace. Separating your work space from the rest of your home has important mental benefits like helping you to check out at the end of the day and leave your work “at the office” so to speak. You can even fake a commute. You’re looking for a space that is either inherently quiet, like a basement or attic, or has a closeable door. Being able to close the door or keep pets out during important calls or meetings can make a huge difference in your productivity. Areas that are close to the kitchen or living room are rarely ideal, as you’ll be able to hear household noise more easily. The less distractions, the better! If you host clients in your home, be sure the space is either connected to an outside door or very close to it.
Convert a Spare Bedroom into an Office
If there’s an extra bedroom in your home, why not more efficiently use the space by converting it into a stylish and comfortable home office? It usually takes just a few, low-cost modifications to make a bedroom into an office. Since bedroom color schemes tend to be dark and soothing, start by painting the walls in brighter, more wakeful tones. Consider peppering the walls with artwork, framed inspirational sayings, diplomas or awards—things that will motivate you. You may also consider tearing out old carpet and install some low-maintenance wood-look flooring that’ll resist coffee spills and handle a rolling office chair. Otherwise, you’ll want to invest in a floor mat or area rug to define your workspace within the room and make it easier to move about in an office chair.
Backyard Home Office
Outbuildings, also know as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) or backyard cottages, are by far the most trendy and customizable of your home office options. They are also the most private, though they come with a larger price tag. You can convert a shed into an office, build a brand new studio from the ground-up or even design a tiny home with an office. Floorplan options are practically endless and the same goes for the interior design. You can search for examples on Houzz or other design sites like Dezeen to begin exploring the possibilities.
Garage Office Conversion
If you’ve been looking for a better use for your garage, an office might be the solution! Garages are often spacious, already have electricity and have easy access to the home. Though garage conversions can substantial projects, they can be well worth the investment if your home is in need of additional usable space. With little extreme weather to worry car owners and plentiful street parking in much of the city, Seattle is a good place for garage conversions.
Built-in vs Freestanding Workspaces
After deciding on a location, you’ll need to decide between a more permanent built-in office versus a freestanding one. If you’ve been aching for a home work station and plan on working from home often (or full-time), a built-in office may be the best choice. A built-in office can maximize space, optimize storage and promote efficiency.
Most custom built-in home offices have these features:
- Luxurious bookcase cabinets (combination of closed cabinets and open shelves)
- Permanent desk built into the cabinets
- Wall cabinets with pullout drawers and seating
- Décor that matches the rest of the home
- Charging station for electronic gadgets
- Large windows
- Recessed lighting (in addition to task lighting)
On the other hand, you might see these features in a freestanding office:
- A portable desk or adjustable standing desk
- Freestanding, mobile shelving units
- File cabinets
- Smaller windows or no windows at all (like in a basement)
Some people enjoy the flexibility of working from home and being able to mix up various workspaces. If that sounds like you, a freestanding office might be the best fit. To provide a more serene setting you could even create a freestanding home office on your back deck or front patio—after all, this is about what will make you happy!
Home Office Desk Ideas
Because you’ll be spending a lot of time sitting at it, finding the perfect desk for your home office is a priority. Based on your ideal workstation configuration and available space, choose from one of these desk designs:
- L-shaped desk
- U-shaped desk (ideal for sharing an office)
- Rectangular desk (great for under a window or next to the wall)
- Corner desk
There are also variations of these desk types including: standing desks, writing desks, executive desks, and even roll-top desks. The layout and variation will depend on your personal preference and how you work. If you have a lot of paper files, a desk with a larger surface would be best. If you like to multitask, an L-shaped or U-shaped desk will allow you to compartmentalize different projects. If you prefer a minimalist work environment a smaller corner desk or rectangular desk will suffice.
What to Splurge On
Organization and a great office chair are the two things that will help your office stay comfortable and clutter-free.
If you can splurge on only thing in your office, it should be a chair. Don’t think of it as a luxury item. If you spend a lot of time on the computer or telephone, we recommend you invest in an ergonomic chair to help with your posture and lumbar when seating. Your future self with thank you, we promise! A well-designed, quality chair will help you stay comfortable in one place for most of your day, and will typically be adjustable so you can find just the right setting for your body. It will take into account a headrest, arm height, curves for better posture and hopefully come with an option for wheels. Many office chair makers offer trial periods and free return policies so you can find the right fit.
Another area to splurge on is office organizers. Whether that’s a file cabinet, mail sorter, paperclip holder, catchall, paperweight or other organizer is up to you. Take a look at what your current desk lacks and take some time to think about how you can group together your desktop items so they all have a designated place. Find the right combination for your specific needs and tailor it as needed.
Design and Décor
You can create a wonderful office atmosphere by adding personal touches. Don’t be afraid of décor in an office space. Adding personality will make you naturally inclined to spend time in the space. The most basic design elements include: an area rug, desktop task light and shelving. In addition to these items, you’ll want to incorporate more specialized décor such as:
- Photos of family, friends, coworkers or clients
- Flowers or houseplants
- Window coverings that invite in natural light
- Framed pictures and wall art
- Comfortable couch and decorative coffee table
- Accent wall or wallpaper
Add an Office to a Larger Home Remodeling Project
Another way to accomplish several home improvement goals at once—and save time and money in the process—is by including a new office in a larger home remodeling project. A good design-build contractor can seamlessly combine your home office with a:
How to Find the Right Contractor in Seattle
Finding the right contractor for your home office project is important. Whether you want a high-end, luxury office or simple minimalist workspace, find a contractor who specializes in the style you’re looking for. Do your research, ask for references, get written estimates and check online reviews posted on Yelp, Google or Houzz.
At Model Remodel, we’ve been designing and building office spaces for many years. We’ve built a solid reputation in the Seattle area by transforming outdated homes into functional, beautiful living spaces with our conception-to-completion approach. To get started bringing your home office project to life, tell us more about your objectives through our online form.