The Home Office Series Part 1: elements of a functional home office

The Home Office Series

A bureau like this is great for small spaces. After a work session, I can fold it up to hide the mess, and I know that my papers won’t be disturbed.

You can create a home office even in a small space. I would love to have a separate room for an office, but even if I did, I might still end up with paperwork in my kitchen or on my dining table. In fact, a small desk helps set limits on paper clutter.

Having an inspiring and organised office space is a good thing even in the smallest of homes, especially when you think about all the tasks we now do at home. For many of us, these tasks include:

  • processing mail
  • attending to email
  • internet banking
  • internet shopping
  • filing and paperwork
  • social media
  • supervising children’s homework
  • personal projects: e.g study, blogging, maintaining a scrapbook

So what makes an office area function well? My workspace is small, but I still manage to run my household, study part-time, publish this blog and do an unhealthy amount of internet shopping from here!

  • Location. The best place for an office somewhere between the kitchen and dining area. Think of the high traffic zones of your home. That’s where you’re likely to be when you realise you need to send an email, pay a bill, or write yourself a note. It should be slightly out of the way, but not too far from the action or you’ll end up setting up satellite work stations on your dining or coffee table and risk misplacing important papers. If I were building a home, I would design the kitchen with a built-in office nook with plenty of space to store our files and cookbooks.
  • File storage within arm’s reach. If you have to get up and walk across the room to file something, you know you won’t do it. I have a bookcase to the side of my desk, but I’m thinking about installing some floating shelves above my desk so everything is in one place.
  • Enough horizontal space for your purpose. This desk is small, but it’s enough for me now. When I need more work space, I just bring in a little table to store papers on temporarily.
  • Tools that stay in the area. You need a set of tools (stapler, hole punch, tape, scissors) that aren’t to be taken from your desk. It’s so frustrating to sit down to work only to have to get up and hunt for a pair of scissors. That might mean buying duplicate tools for other parts of the house, but it’s a small investment that will save you time.
Storage for tools in home office

I keep all my tools in a box. This way I can take them to another part of the house if I need to, and they stay together.

  • Your own personal style. It should match the decor of the rest of your house. So much office furniture is unappealing, but it is possible to repurpose something like a drinks cabinet or dressing table into a small desk. Make it inviting to use.
  • A ‘dashboard’. As soon as I sit at my desk, I instantly feel that little bit more organised, because I leave my planner open and my daily To Do list is always on display. I also keep my blogging notebook here so I can jot down any good ideas that come to me during the day.

Creating a home office 'dashboard'

If you need more inspiration to create the ‘Command Centre’ of your home, click here to follow my Pinterest Home Office pinboard. There’s lots of great ideas, resources and inspiring images there.

Join me next week for Part 2, where I’ll be showing you my system for paying household bills on time.


3 thoughts on “The Home Office Series Part 1: elements of a functional home office

  1. Lovely, simple and practical – this is what mine ought to look like! Well, it’s not too far off but I am just in the middle of rearranging my workspace to suit changing demands, so flexibility is important, too 🙂

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