Why exactly do you need your home office?
Home office organization is about making your life easy, and begins with taking a step back and doing some planning. If you've been looking at other sections of this web site, you'll know by now that one of the principles of home decorating is to start from the beginning.
So answer the questions below in detail, and you'll find much of your home office organization will fall naturally into place.
You'll have a much better idea of how to use the available space.
You'll discover how many items of furniture you already have, and what you'll need to buy, make or adapt.
You'll find out if your home office will need to serve other functions.
Think of the different ways it might be used
Who will use it?
Will you be the only person using it, or will other family members expect to use it too? You'll need to be clear about this. If you like to work in silence and someone else likes music playing, this could result in some friction.
Is your work of a confidential nature?
Is much of your work of a private nature? If it is, then you'll need to have secure storage.
Will clients visit you?
Will clients visit you? If they do, this will influence how you decorate your home office. You may want a comfortable couch and chairs, facilities to offer them refreshments, and maybe a conference table.
Style and quality of furnishings
If clients do visit, what style of office would they expect to find? If you're dealing with financial matters, then your home office will need to be of a certain standard. If your business is plumbing or you're a computer geek, then they may not expect quite the same sophistication in furnishings.
Once you have a clear idea of your home office organization, you can now think about the practical details.
Your home office organization
Take another look at the room you're going to use. Here's what you need to think about.
- Is the space ok as it is? Do you need to put up any partition walls, or remove some? Will you need to remove/replace doors?
- Are you renovating an attic or basement? This may involve major work, such as installing new windows and doors, making sure there is sufficient ventilation, new wiring, heating/air conditioning, new flooring. And do make sure you comply with all local building regulations.
- How about the electrical supply circuits? Are they adequate for the equipment you plan to use? Make a list of everything you're going to use - computer, printer, fax, scanner, shredder, phones, lights.
- How good is the lighting? You'll need a desk lamp, and if your home office is large, then some background lighting as well.
- What's the ventilation like? Do you like lots of fresh air when you're working? Do the windows provide it, or will you need to replace them? Do you live in a cold climate where your home office will often need to be heated? Or in a warm or hot climate and you'll need air conditioning?
- Will the room need decorating, and if so, to what extent? Will a new coat of paint be enough, or will you have to replace carpets, cover unsightly walls, or replace ceiling timbers?
- Do you have any special storage needs, such as space for blueprints, plans, samples of your products, magazines and brochures?
- Will clients visit you in your home office? Will there be formal meetings, so you'll need a conference table and chairs? Or more informal, with just a couch and chairs? Will you be doing any presentations and need projection facilities, or will your computer screen be enough?
For some of these factors you'll need to talk to professionals such as electricians and architects. Once you have a good idea of your needs, you'll be better prepared to specify areas where you need professional help, and get estimates so you can plan your budget.
So take your time. Think carefully about all your requirements. Once your home office organization is complete and functional, you'll reap the benefits.