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Creating a workspace at home is a great idea, whether you’re running a business or searching for a way to corral all your children’s bits and pieces and toys. One of the biggest barriers to any creative or productive endeavour is having to spend time clearing away other stuff before you can start.
Decide what kind of space you need
Your first job is to define the activity so you can decide on its best location. If you’re creating a craft space, for instance, you may need to consider adequate ventilation. Alternatively, perhaps you need a large flat area for cutting if you’re making a sewing space, or an area that will give you some quiet privacy if you’re writing or journalling.
Consider safety too for both adults and children. Do you need electricity? Make sure there’s a handy power outlet somewhere so you’re not trailing cables across the carpet. Does your activity involve lots of supplies or tools? Installing a few shelves would provide somewhere to keep everything together, especially if your activity involves sharps.
Think about lighting. If you do close work you need good light, so maybe somewhere close to a window. On the other hand, bright sunlight beating through glass gets uncomfortable so some shading might be important.
Spare room workspaces
If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room this is the ideal place for a workspace. But maybe you’d miss its occasional use as a guestroom. The good news is you can have the best of both worlds.
First, decide how often you have guests who use the room. If it’s not very often, maybe once or twice a year, you could consider putting bedroom furniture into self storage where it stays safe and clean and is easily retrieved when you know guests are arriving. If you have to switch the room’s purpose around every weekend, it might be more convenient to have some dual purpose furniture.
You could swap a standard bed for a daybed or sofa bed. The room looks less like a bedroom and has more floor space to work in, but also offers comfy sleeping when it’s needed. Instead of a dressing table, install a small desk. This could also work as a bedside table depending on where you position it relative to the sofa bed.
Shelves provide somewhere to keep hobby or work equipment and remember, they don’t have to stand on the floor. A shelf running around the wall at picture rail height not only frees up floor space but also offers storage or a display area for creative work or collectables. Use pretty boxes, clearly labelled, for hobby bits and bobs so you know where everything is but they still look attractive when guests arrive.
If you don’t have the floor space to install a workbench, consider a hinged tabletop that folds flat against the wall when it’s not in use.
It’s a good idea to make sketches on paper when you’re designing space in dual purpose rooms so you can see how it will look before you make any big changes.
Make the most of existing spaces
If you’re carving some workspace out of a small corner of a room, it helps to find some hidden storage spaces. For kitchen table workspaces, see if you can dedicate one kitchen cabinet for work supplies instead of food or crockery. You could also install rails, hooks, or narrow shelves on the ends of kitchen cabinets to hold craft supplies or pots of pens.
Create a quiet computer workspace in the living room by turning a tall bookcase perpendicular to the wall. Alternate books so they face in both directions (this way it looks good from both sides) and you create the sense of privacy in a communal room. This is great for kids who need the computer for homework but don’t want to feel isolated from family.
In dining rooms, you could swap your big dining table for a smaller one with drop leaves to create more floor space. In bedrooms, better organisation in the wardrobe can create extra storage. Make room by putting out of season clothes into a self storage unit, then install a plastic tower unit to create more drawer space. If you don’t need a large chest of drawers in the bedroom, you could probably make room for a small desk.
Having a dedicated workspace at home unleashes creativity. It doesn’t have to be a big or elaborate area, it just needs to be somewhere with storage for everything you need so you’re free to get cracking at a moments notice.