Working from home has become the norm for many of us during this past year, and home offices have progressed from being a passing trend to a necessary part of one’s everyday life.
When the first stay-at-home order was announced, I remember seeing countless social media posts of newly set-up home offices — everything from a beautifully furnished office room or bar stool at the kitchen island to a hole-in-the-wall basement or the dining room table!
A couple of months and many backaches later, we continue to see many homeowners sell their properties due to lack of space for a proper workstation.
Having a designated room for a home office has moved to the top of their wants-and-needs list.
Hopefully this new way of working is the only lasting effect from the COVID-19 pandemic. For now, it looks like it’s here to stay.
Here are some things to consider if you are thinking of buying a new home, or perhaps looking for a way to make your current space work better for you.
Den? Study? Flex Space?
Different developers seem to use different terms to often describe the same thing. Or sometimes the same word to describe very different things. For example, I’ve seen all types of dens — some that are as large as a regular bedroom with a closet and sliding doors, some that are a part of the living space and provide just enough room for a desk, and others that are just an indent in the wall (I’m not even kidding!).
Depending on your personal needs, either of those options could work just fine of course. Determine exactly what kind of office furniture you will be using and how much of the total square footage. Do you really need to sacrifice for an office?
Developers have quickly caught on to this new trend and we are seeing new projects include a lot of layouts that integrate a work area. When you are looking at a floorplan, there are a few things you should be considering: size, natural light, privacy. Will your den also double as a guest room? If so, make sure it’s around 7 x 8 feet at the very minimum.
A lot of builders tend to tuck their dens away, resulting in a real lack of natural light. If that’s the case in a layout that you’re looking at, perhaps the builder would agree to install pot lights in the den, or a cleverly located transom window.
If you are like me, your office is full of papers and sticky notes that no one needs or wants to see — having a door or a privacy screen that can easily hide that eye sore from your guests or partners is a huge convenience.
There has been a lot of innovation in the furniture industry in order to keep up with this new era — convertible furniture is all the rage these days. There are coffee tables, Murphy beds, bookshelves that turn into desks with just a couple of movements. These creative solutions can really come in handy when space is a luxury. One thing I have yet to figure out though is a way to make those super clunky but oh-so-comfortable office chairs work well in small spaces. If you have any ideas, let me know!
If you are currently shopping for a new home and don’t need to have a home office yourself, I do still suggest keeping the above in mind — this will likely help with your resale value!