by Lea Emery on 11th October 2018
With the gig economy well underway and many of us taking on side hustles to try to bring in some extra cash, working a strict nine-to-five in an office is no longer a given. Freelancers, creatives, and just those with a side project can end up spending a lot of time working from coffee shops, shared office spaces, or just their living rooms. And while many find the flexibility of remote working a dream, it comes with a cost — there are only so many days you can spend working in your pyjamas on the couch before you feel disconnected from the world around you. At some point, you need to develop a more structured home working space to keep yourself feeling like an adult or just to help you get into your professional groove each day.
But many of us don't have a lot of space to spare — so how do you set up an office space when you don't have anywhere to put it? Well, it's all about planning and making savvy choices. Here's how you can make an office work for you if your home office is tiny — or doesn't exist at all.
It's so easy to get blown away by an amazing *desk you saw on Instagram or the must-have office accessories you saw on Buzzfeed — but take a step back and big breath before you hit “Buy”. When you're dealing with a small space, planning is *everything. *Any furniture — and even decorations — should involve some thought and a quick check to make sure they'll fit into your space. If you want to get really into it, you can work out how to plan your room with graph paper (seriously, it's a journaler's *dream). But at the very least, measure your room and any furniture you're looking at buying and make sure it will fit comfortable — keeping in mind you need to be able to open doors, get in and out from behind the desk, and, well, breathe comfortably.
When you've got limited space, you want to focus on pieces that can do double-duty. A desk that has built-in shelves above it will help you make the most of the often-wasted vertical space and is perfect if you're setting up camp in the corner of the living room. Or you can opt for storage underneath that will help keep the top of your desk organised and keep the room from feeling cluttered. And if your budget is tight, you can even use a cheap table that's the right height, along with a few filing cabinets to DIY your desk with storage — plus it'll give your space a little hipster feel. Have more of a gym chic style? A lot of people swap out their desk chair for an exercise ball, to get a little core action while getting down to business.
If you have a little wiggle room, a storage bench can be a lifesaver for extra space — and pushed against the wall with a couple of pillows it can double as a couch for visitors or just a spot to think — or to *say *you're thinking while you have a quick nap. We won't judge.
Maybe your office space is so small that the idea of a desk or table makes you feel claustrophobic — or perhaps you don't have an office at all, just a nook in the living room or hallway. Don't worry. One of the best ways to save space is to get a folding desk — one that can disappear almost completely when not in use. There are plenty on the market, but the best folding desks also double as storage space, with shelves built into the wall. It's a desk when you need it and, when you don't, that floor space is all yours again.
If you have a space of your own, it's natural to want to fill it with your style — but keep in mind that aesthetic is important in a small space. It's very easy for tiny rooms to look cluttered — or just completely out of control — so a minimalist approach is often the way to go. Minimalism not your style? Then just be sure to think about streamlining and cohesiveness — sticking with one main colour, avoiding too many busy patterns, and using design points like large mirrors to create a sense of space.
Most of us don't have the luxury of a huge home office but, with a little planning and some thoughtful choices, you can make a space that's yours to work in — whether it's an actual office or just your little corner of the world.
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