Anatomy of Today's Home Office

No longer are the days of the cramped quarters, make shift desks or working at the kitchen table acceptable for home offices. Home offices are now well planned integral parts of the design and remodeling process.

With busy lifestyles & telecommuting becoming more prevalent, home offices have almost blossomed into a necessity. They have become as adaptable as kitchens to a families lifestyle.

Privacy, functionality and versatility play a large role in the location. The space must also afford the user design freedom to create the best working atmosphere.

This is such a personal choice as everyone works and organizes differently. Much time should be spent on the personal side of this space.

Moms; The Exception

One exception to the separation of the home office is for that of the working stay at home mom. In many instances, newborns and small children not quite ready for school have to be watched as mom works.

This type of office can also be introduced into a remodeling project. It takes a little more creativity, but it can be done.

A few popular areas are within the kitchen, bedroom or family room. This type of home office does present problems though. The obvious being that it is very difficult to separate work and home activities.

That said, the alternative to working outside the home and having children go off to day care is just not that appealing a choice for many moms.

Technology and Lighting

Lighting and technology will also play a significant role in the final design. The lighting package should consist of several different types including natural light if at all possible.

Nothing can hurt the appeal to use a home office more than improper lighting creating a dungeon affect.

The space should have general lighting as well as task specific and accent lighting. The accent lighting can be used to show off favorite works of art, educational achievements and family photos.

With continued advances in technology, every effort should be made to accommodate present day structured wiring. This will allow for the most flexibility and expansion possible in the future.

Faxes, printers, PDAs and Blackberries have all become a necessity to today's home offices. The ability to integrate and synchronize multi-devices has become a great organizing tool for many without a support staff.

Combining Maximum Organization with Beauty

Organization of the space itself should not be limited to some generic metal file drawers and boring bookcases. Custom layouts including wood front multi-functional file drawers as well as cabinetry designed to hide equipment and maybe even a refrigerator should be considered.

Faxes and copiers are easily stored on roll out shelves within the cabinets for an uncluttered look. Multiple workstations setup for computers and adequate writing surfaces are a necessity.

Design Style & You

It is easy to introduce ones personal touch and design preferences into a home office. Independent from the rest of the home, the users' personality should sing out giving more desire to use the space.

A preference to design style and colors of the user should not be driven by the overall house decor and style.

Questions to Get you Started

Consider the answers to the following questions before designing your space.

1. Who will be the main user?

2. Is the user(s)left or right handed?

Note: If this space is a multi-user office and space is limited this could dramatically affect the layout.

3. How much space does each user require?

4. What are each users privacy requirements?

5. What equipment will be required for each user?

These guidelines will help you build not only a functional office but an aesthetically pleasing one as well.

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