One of the more sought-after spaces in a home is an office. It could be for the purpose of running a home based business or a designated place to do household business and bookkeeping. However, with the average home in America being around 2,400 square feet, many homeowners lack the space in their home design for this specific room. Those greedy rooms called the bedroom, the family room, the kitchen, and dining areas demand a generous amount of square footage in order to be useful. So from a design perspective, we have to be creative. Instead of thinking about a room, try thinking about a nook…an office nook! Since your home based business isn’t a fortune 500 company at the moment, a small alcove of sorts would serve you well until your IPO (Initial public offering)…Maybe?!
Office nooks can also be considered workstations. Like workstations, office nook designs are often in an a straight line or L-shape with enough desk space and cabinet storage to operate many task. By condensing such a limited amount of work space, not much room or square footage is needed for your nook. It is a good use of space from a design standpoint, giving more value to your home on a dollar per square foot ratio.
Sizing your office nook
When working with a limited amount of design space in your home, think of all the equipment and furniture you will need to make the work space right for you. You will likely need room for your computer (desktop and/or laptop), a printer/copier combo, a desk, chair, cabinet storage, bookshelves, and other less typical items that may be specific to your needs. Use the size of these pieces to establish guidelines in your design layout and nook size.
Another way to control the size of your office nook is to design the space with built-in furniture. A straight or L-shape desk with base cabinets that include a filing cabinet is a good example. Above the desk you can add wall cabinets with shelving for books and other items that need storing. Because the desk, cabinets, and shelves use a wall as an anchor, not much space is needed to add a chair and a walk path to move around. A practical size for this type of arrangement can be as small as 5′x6′, a mere 30 square feet. In fact, if the entire floor plan design is constructed with any forethought, the nook can even have a door to provide the ultimate level of privacy.
Office nook ideas
Examples of office nook ideas include using the space underneath a staircase or an unused small storage space. In both cases, the space can be open or you can hide the workspace behind a closed door until you need to use it.
The kitchen is another area where a nook for an office can be implemented, especially if you have a large kitchen design. I would be remiss if I didn’t mentioned the breakfast room. Depending on the size of the space, built-ins can be designed within the room to provide a comfortable workstation without looking out of place.
Though the space of an office nook is limited in ordered to be considered a nook, the possibilities of squeezing one into your home design is not. With a little forward thinking and ingenuity, who knows what can happen with 30 square feet.
On a side note, one of my stock plans the Symone I (click here) has a “workstation”, otherwise known as an office nook that was incorporated into the design. At only 1,790 sq ft, this design exhibits a good example of how to include a place for business in a small home. Before going to the page to see the plan, take another look at the picture of the office nook at the top of this article. It is virtually the concept I had envisioned during the design of the Symone I floor plan and its 30 plus sq ft office nook.
Professional Building Designer and owner Design Evolutions Inc., GA, specializing in residential design. Visit online at http://www.designevolutions.com
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