The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Home Office Design

February 23rd, 2016 | Posted in Custom Home, Home Office Design

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 24 of George Davis’ book, Room By Room. Each chapter covers one room or feature of a home and provides inside information about what things to consider.  The book highlights areas to concentrate on if you have a limited budget as well as skies-the-limit options, and everything in between.


A well-designed home office can add tremendous value to you and your family.  Determine what is important to you and plan accordingly.
Modern technology allows people to network with the world from their homes. Whether it’s a home-based business, keeping up with household finances or homework, families increasingly appreciate the convenience and value of having a dedicated office space. When you plan this room, first consider who will use it. If it’s going to be two (or more) people, are they good at sharing space and materials? Next, consider the equipment and storage you’ll need. With all this in mind, your builder will make sure you have a helpful home office.


If more than one person in your family will use a home office, a larger room can be designed with space and equipment for each person. This works especially well if most family members have occasional need for the room, while one person requires a dedicated desk and materials to keep organized and focused. Maybe an “C or “U” shaped work surface is sufficient, but some people just need privacy. They don’t do well, or can’t, share a desk, file cabinets, or shelves, and you might need completely separate offices. Take all this into account when you talk to your builder about your home office needs.


Is the office going to support a business? If so, do you need space for special equipment like a drafting table? Is it for studying, paying bills, or just electronically connecting with family and friends via the Internet? Think carefully about how your family will use a home office. Will you need file cabinets, or are the drawers in a desk sufficient? What about wall shelving—a lot, a little, or none? Would a closet be helpful? If you plan carefully and determine your cable and electronic needs, wiring can be done out of sight behind the walls. Don’t forget flooring; keep in mind you’ll probably have a chair or file cabinets on rollers. It’s frustrating to find your home office isn’t adequately designed; think about your present and future needs, and work with your builder to plan a highly functional home office—a room that maximizes concentration, productivity, and, ideally, some fun.


If your work requires quiet and focus, don’t overlook the need for sound insulation and privacy, especially if you have young children. French doors are a popular choice for offices and you may want to add blinds. If they’re closed, it sends a “do not disturb” signal to your family that you’re on a business call or just need quiet time. Your builder can also plan on wall insulation upgrades to block out noise.


As you know, there are a multitude of choices for desks and chairs. The industry has eagerly accommodated the home office market, which is great for consumers. Do some research and find out what meets your needs for both comfort and decor. A classic oak desk might suit you or maybe a modern computer armoire that can be closed is what you’re after. Ergonomic experts recommend a firmly cushioned chair on rollers that has adjustable everything: seat height and tilt, back angle, and arm rests. Many homeowners want to read in a comfortable chair or couch in an office. Deciding what furniture works for you will help determine how much space you need.


You can spend a little money or you can spend a lot. Decide what you value. You can go with floor-to-ceiling panels, detailed wood ceilings, elaborate built-ins, or stay with a good basic design. If you want to do this room on a budget, you can put all of your storage in closet space and bypass the need for elaborate cabinets. Your grandfather’s desk can go in the middle of the room; add a comfortable loveseat or chair for a nice sitting area. Add a credenza, hang some art and family pictures, put in some nice wainscoting to put a wood flavor in the room, and you have a wonderful home office. Place some electrical outlets on the floor so you can avoid tripping over stretched out cords.


If you are doing your office on a minimal budget, allocate your floor space to include a nice walk-in-closet that can function like a pantry. Put your basic file cabinets here, as well as your printer, photocopier, fax machine, paper storage, binders, and reference materials. Be sure you plan for electrical outlets accordingly.


Recessed cans can be used here, along with some decorative lighting. Choose a good lamp for the desk and one for the sitting area. No track lighting here. Keep in mind that if you are going to have overhead lighting, you cannot have a high ceiling. You will need to keep it to 10 or 12 feet high.


If your work entails visitors coming and going, you should definitely design your floor plan with a private entrance for the office. Your guests do not want to wander through the living area, past the kitchen where dinner is cooking, step over Johnny’s toy wheelbarrow to get to your office! Think ahead. A private access door will be perfect.
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