Think there’s no way you could ever have a productive home office in your tiny apartment? Look around your apartment with a creative eye and consider all aspects of your space. It may lead to a few surprises.
Great, you have a space for a desk or a small table to call your own, but what about all the other miscellaneous office stuff? If you need to keep the actual worktop fairly clutter-free (which often leads to more productivity for many people), look up. Can bookshelves be added behind your desk? A free-standing shelving unit with adjustable shelves can give you the flexibility to place the shelves at levels useful for you. Leave some bigger spaces between shelves to hold the printer and other office equipment, boxes for files or other bulky items. Books and other slimmer, shorter items can be placed on shelves with less space in between them. This method ensures you can accommodate all sizes of items, and also can lend a little variety to the unit.
Why not make it look nice in the process? Add a picture frame, a candle or other memento, too. Don’t reject this idea if you don’t have space for a unit; you can attach shelves directly to the wall above your desk. This method is best if your desk is set against the wall. All your needed items will be in plain view and a simple stretch up puts them in your hands. No wall space, or you still need more? This idea works especially well if you have repurposed a table for your desk: If it’s long or wide enough, there should be some extra space down there by your feet. Don’t make the area uncomfortably squished, but you can likely stack and store file boxes and boxes of extra office supplies under your dual-purpose work space.
Think it’s a less-than-chic look? Grab a cheery piece of material and create a desk curtain. This only needs to hang on the side that faces out, and has the added bonus of reducing the “office” look of your space.
Both of these ideas may require a small investment in attractive storage items, especially if your home office is in your main room or other high-traffic location. Luckily, inexpensive, colorful storage boxes will go a long way to keeping you systematic, productive and looking good while not breaking the bank.
If space is really tight, look for a corner. If your couch or another piece of large furniture is flush against a wall, can it be pulled out and set at an angle? Corner desks come in a variety of sizes and if you don’t need a lot of space, they can be a way to get a bit of “me-space” in cramped areas. Don’t feel obligated to keep a chair there – grab one from another room that is comfortable enough to work in. Of course, make sure the desk and chair are at the appropriate, compatible height to ensure pain-free working.
If you don’t require a dedicated workspace and really just need a space to plop down the laptop, a kitchen table can double as a work desk. But what if you have office supplies or other work-related items that either need to be stored or kept close at hand while working? Look for a kitchen cart. These can be as big or small, as cheap or expensive, as you’d like – you might even be able to find one secondhand and fix it up to your liking. One to look for should have wheels and at least two shelves or drawers, plus a flat top.
Wheels will make it easy for you to bring along everything you need to work, and all your essentials will be contained in one space – which means no wasting precious work time wandering around looking for an important document. The shelves can be fitted with storage boxes to keep everything neat, and the top can hold your laptop, printer or other larger items by serving as additional counter space. The beauty is, a kitchen cart can be rolled back into its resting place when the workday is done. Think again about repurposing a corner, entryway, or other under-utilized space.
Take a critical look around your apartment and think honestly about your work-at-home needs. Decide what you can and cannot live without and then implement your strategy. Carving out your space and being disciplined about keeping it in order will make your office a barely noticeable feature of your apartment.
By Jacy Meyer, ApartmentRatings.com