Make a Stylish Home Office in a Small Space

For most of us, having a home office has become a necessity, but the big question is where do you put all that stuff? With nearly 70 percent of people today doing some work from home, it's no wonder it's the fastest segment of the home furnishings industry. Location is key no matter how small the space. Here are some of my time saving and budget saving ideas for creating a productive work area that still looks good and reflects your own personality. Think multi-purpose, multi-function, and, in some cases mobile office spaces.

Out of the Closet
If you have a closet, you have an instant office. You just need a closet deep enough to fit a computer and some shelving and you'll be surprised at how much you can fit in there. Most closets measure around 30" deep and 60" wide, and that is plenty to hold a computer hutch and a filing cabinet. Just remove the interior pole and invest in some modular shelving. At StackAndStacks.com, I like their mobile computer cart with mouse tray, steel legs and shelves for $89.00. It would fit easily into a closet and still leave you room to build shelving on top. Organize wire-filing baskets vertically along the side to create an alcove for your computer. I like the look of their stackable mesh file boxes, available on wheels if you like, for $29.95.

To save valuable space, try investing in an all-in-one fax/copier/scanner/printer that can service all your office needs in one package. I found one at Staples.com for only $179.98. It’s a multi-function machine by Brother MFC 970 that is a printer, scanner, fax and copier all rolled up into one compact machine. The great deal is that Staples will delivery any orders over $50 for free. Most orders are delivered next day at no extra charge as well. Office Depot.com has the same great delivery offer, so make sure to comparison shop.

Make sure to personalize you work space with symbols of goodwill. It doesn’t matter if you’re working from a closet — I love keeping my favorite thank you notes and photos of friends on a bulletin board for inspiration. Cover a generic bulletin board with fabric. No sewing is necessary; just stretch your fabric and staple gun away. Hang the bulletin board on the inside of the closet door for easy access. I also like this idea I learned from a friend: Take a plain off-white canvas pocket shoe caddy that hangs over the door and use it to organize all of your little office knick-knacks. Take plastic name tags you can get at any office supply place and use black and white labels to label each pocket: pencils, Post-its, scissors, tape, even emergency chocolate. Try buying one at Target or Ikea, or click onto BedBathAndBeyond.com and get one delivered for $19.99. You can even paint the inside of your door with chalkboard paint and make an instant chalkboard in 10 different colors. Call Back Street Inc. at (678) 206-7373 for a craft store near you.

Home Office To Go
If all the closet space is taken up in your house by, well, clothes, and you can only find part of a room to call your new home office, here’s a good idea that you can tackle as an easy weekend project. Purchase two white melamine bookshelves (the ones with five shelves) from Target or Ikea or order them online at StackAndStacks.comfor $64.95. Just nail and screw them together, back-to-back to create a room divider and moveable office nook. Purchase industrial canister wheels you can get at Home Depot or order them online at OurHouse.com from $2 to $7 a piece, and screw them into the bottom of the book shelves, one at each new corner. You can adjust your shelves on one side to hold your home office supplies and this also creates an alcove to put your computer. Most bookshelves are only about 12” deep so you will need to install a retractable computer shelf. If you have a laptop, the whole process is a cinch. On the other side of the bookshelf you can put your books, CD player, stereo or wet bar… just kidding, now get back to work! You can also put large baskets on wheels for a great storage idea or heavy cardboard file boxes on wheels, which can be easily moved out of sight.

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