If you’re like a lot of Americans, you’re probably working from home. And, if you aren’t fortunate enough to already have a home office, you’re probably looking for a space that can pull double-duty. One room that can work especially well as a makeshift office is the dining room. Here’s how you can transform yours.
Get Home Office Furniture
Only 32% of Americans are satisfied with the design of their dining rooms, so now could be the time to switch things up. Invest in dining room or home office furniture that serves more than one purpose. You can find tables that convert from a one-person desk into a six-person table with removable extenders. Look for tables with hidden drawers to stash away office supplies when it’s time to eat. You can even find tables that have storage compartments hidden underneath a sliding or hinged top.
Don’t have much space or concerned about your budget? Look for smaller or discounted furniture. You can get tables that fold up against the wall when you’re done working or a secretary that has a pull-down table top. These discount furniture options are unobtrusive and can be put almost anywhere. Hutches, buffets, and armoires also pull double-duty as both home office furniture and storage. Make sure to get at least one comfy chair—you might want a padded or upholstered one. You could even get a pair of them to use as head chairs after you’re done working.
Build a Room Divider
When working at home, you might find that you need some privacy. If a room with a door isn’t an option, you can build a room divider. Use sturdy bookshelves as a partition (you may need to mount them to a wall or the ceiling for safety). You can also use noise blocking curtains to section off your home office space. Or, you may want to invest in an office partition panel or decorative screen.
Use Wall Space
If you don’t have much storage or space in your home for an office, try unconventional home office furniture that you hang on the walls. You can use open shelving with attractive containers to store work supplies. Use wall mounted baskets, erasable boards, and calendars made from reclaimed wood or bright colors that enhance your room’s design AND keep you organized. You can even use coat hooks, ladders, or curtain rods to hang buckets filled with whatever essentials you need for work. Look for discount office furniture, such as wall cupboards or cabinets with doors to hide your office supplies.
Try New Lighting
New lighting can make the difference between a comfortable home office space and a headache-inducing one. Use tabletop task lighting at your desk or switch your dining room overhead bulbs out to a higher wattage to decrease eye strain. You can position your desk under recessed lighting or bring in some floor lamps to illuminate your new work space. If you don’t already have one, consider installing a dimmer switch so that your office can transition easily into a low-lit dining room after the day’s work is all done.
Don’t Forget Comfort
You probably aren’t glued to your desk the entire work day when you’re away from home, so find some pieces that enable you to move around a little and get comfortable in your home office. Look for a small-scale armchair with an ottoman or pouf so that you can switch positions and get your legs up once in a while. Add a small, moveable side table where you can place your computer or a cup of coffee. While you’re at it, think about bringing in some of your favorite workplace luxuries, such as a Keurig, mini foosball, tabletop zen garden, or aquarium. You may not realize just how important those little comforts are—they give you a break from staring at your computer screen or give you a much needed stress release after phone calls.
Working from home can be a challenge. You might find that there are more distractions, too much noise, or too little space. But, try creating a dedicated home office space that you love, and you might find that you can be just as productive at home as you are in an office.