If an overloaded kitchen table constitutes your home office, it's probably time to start thinking about designating a formal area in your home for your business. But because determining the prime location can be tough, we asked home office designer Dan Ridings, co-founder with Wendi Smith of Home Systems in Lafayette, California, for some suggestions.
"I think it's a very personal choice," Ridings says. "You're talking about a person's home. It's a home office, but first it's their home, and they want it to feel right and look right."
With that in mind, consider your most probable options: a spare bedroom, a converted garage, the attic or perhaps even a portion of a larger room. But before you narrow that list down further, consider the following, says Ridings:
- Do you see clients at home? If so, think about spaces with separate entrances, such as the garage.
- How much money can you spend? For many, converting the attic or garage into an office seems the ideal option, yet these spaces also require larger budgets. If you consider these areas,"You're going to spend some money on the remodeling, as well as the office equipment and lighting," Ridings says. Moving everything into a spare bedroom is a cheaper alternative yet still affords a door for privacy.
- How much time do you spend in the office? If you're only there part-time, working in a far corner of the master bedroom or other area of the house will probably work for you. "If people are there from early morning until late at night," says Ridings, "they have to have a dedicated space that has some privacy from the rest of the house."
- Are you easily distracted? Depending on your answer, either choose a quiet spot in your home or a more open space. If you have the house to yourself all day and like to work in privacy, consider a self-contained workstation in the living room that folds up neatly when you're done.