Building & Renovating

7 Questions To Ask When Planning A Home Office

You deserve a proper space where you can be creative and productive

Photography: Vincent Coscolluela and (Main Photo)

Home offices come in many shapes, sizes and most importantly, styles. Just like any part of the house, it should reflect your personality and lifestyle as it's a place you'd stay in for long periods of time. To help you plan and design it with ease, here are some guide questions you can follow: 

1. How much space do you have?

If you have limited space, consider “leftover” spaces like the area under the stairs. Try converting part of a closet into a built-in table. Or maybe there’s a corner in your house that could accommodate a desk when cleared of clutter.

2. What kind of work do you do?

If you read books, have an adjustable lamp nearby. If you only do computer work, work in a dim environment with a diffused light to see the monitor clearly. Drafting or drawing requires stronger lighting; use an adjustable, clamp-on drafting lamp for these tasks. 

3. What equipment do you need?

This will determine how much space you should have. Your desk should be at least a meter long to accommodate a computer monitor and paperwork. If you have more equipment such as a scanner, a printer or a fax machine, combine a multi-level computer table with a side table for an L-shaped workspace.

4. What are your work habits?

If you like listening to music, store your CDs in an accessible area. If you like sipping coffee or munching on crackers, have a side table or tray nearby where you can put coffee cups, saucers or drinking glasses.

5. What kind of atmosphere do you work best in?

Locate it near a window if you’d like a view of the outdoors. Do you need a really quiet environment? Consider a tall divider or a separate room altogether. Would you prefer an area where you can still see the kids play? Find a nook in the den or kitchen.

6. What do you need to store?

Take note of things you want within reach—bond paper, pens, staplers, or scissors. Got a lot of paper and folders? Create a filing system. If you do crafts, use clear plastic containers with labels.

7. Will other people use your workspace?

The computer might be a communal household property. You might have a daughter who wants to the surf the Net from time to time, or a toddler who wants to play games. Consider their needs as well. Give other family members filing space. Put breakables or important documents out of reach. 


Read the original article ("Working Order") in the September 2004 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details. 

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