So you've decided to telecommute, or to take a shot at that home-based business you've been dreaming about. Where are you going to find the work space you need? Take a tip on carving out a home office from other iVillagers:
"I squeeze my home office into the corner of a bedroom, although this bedroom is home to my 14-year-old daughter (talk about an odd couple). Because I run a home party business, I schedule most of my demonstrations at night. When I'm not here, she has free use of my computer for her homework, Internet research and so on in exchange for keeping the room clean, and especially not disturbing anything on my desk. It's been a year since we 'moved in together,' and it's worked out even better than I'd hoped."
"I have a tiny one-bedroom apartment and telecommute part time. The trade-off for a small space with thin walls is small rent. However, after trying several layouts with and without a laptop (I have a large PC with an all-in-one printer/fax/scanner), I have made it work. When I feel too stir crazy, I take the laptop with its wireless modem and my cell phone to a coffee shop or beach for a change of scenery."
"I struggled for months with my laptop while sitting on the couch, straining my eyes with poor lighting and getting a crick in my back from bending over the keys for hours on end. I finally bit the bullet and started looking into putting together a home-based office, and it has really improved my work ethic and my sanity. I bought one of those 'architect' desks from Ikea with the numerous shelves and cubbyholes, which set me back about $200, and two adjustable lamps that attach to the desk. I also bought a good-sized filing cabinet (secondhand) for about $45 and a cheap used bookcase as well. I have a corner just outside my bedroom that is just enough space for a compact office and decided to make it as comfortable as possible. I got some nice pictures to hang on the walls, put framed photos of my son and husband on the desk and got a couple of plants for atmosphere. I moved a small portable stereo in there so I could listen to music or the radio while working. I've noticed the quality of my writing has greatly improved by having my own little office oasis."
"My home office was formerly known as the sunroom. The room is 9 by 12 and is graced with beautiful French double doors. Used to be the room with all the temperature extremes -- too hot in summer, too cold in winter -- but I've overcome all obstacles to make it my own."
"In my old home, I had the extra bedroom as my office. It was cozy but got kind of lonely. Since I am usually on my computer most of the day and a few hours at night, there was never anyone to talk to and no TV, only radio.
"Now I have a nice sunroom off the living room. Lots of good natural light. I have five windows on two walls that bring in a lot of light and help me stay awake. In my sunroom, I have my L-shaped desk (which I could not live without now), my filing cabinet and a bookcase. I have a small desk lamp for nighttime. I also just invested in a leather executive chair, which I absolutely love. Even when I'm not working I like to just sit here and relax since it's so comfortable."
"I am 23 with a husband and three children under 5. I recently started my own photography business, which, shockingly to me, has blown up. With that came a new corner desk (which my husband complained was too large), then a computer, scanner, burner, two printers, and tons of photo and Adobe programs for my imaging needs.
"Now where to put it all? All of our four bedrooms are full of toys and clothes. So the only place is in the living room where everything is close. So we sectioned off a corner of our enormous living space. There we have two filing cabinets, two large desks, one for business and one for my other interests, and a shelf and large organizer for all my scrapbooking materials. Although I can't say that there are no toys on my desk -- and bandages and kids' crafts and maybe a pair of socks -- it works for me for now."
" My home office space is a corner of the dining room. It isn't any big deal, but it is functional for many reasons -- my corner is right next to the powder room, for one. I have full view of our deck and most of the yard for summertime when my children are out there. They are almost four and seven now, and I still worry about leaving them outside alone, so most times they are confined to the deck when I have something to do. I have the heating vent right next to me. And I have a desk light on top of the computer cart for excellent lighting. I am using a small magazine rack for now, but I am getting a small two-drawer filing cabinet soon, which will fit along the wall. Our dining room table is a multipurpose table, so when the kids are coloring, doing homework or just playing, 9 times out of 10 they are in the dining room, with me.
"I also give them extra invoices, round-ups and Peddler order forms and old catalogs to play 'country peddler' when I have work to do. It makes things go smoother for me because they are occupied and feeling like they are doing something important."