If you’re an avid House Hunters watcher, you know the three “musts” for any prospective homeowner (according to HGTV, at least) are granite countertops, a double vanity and a home office. If you think about it, we’ve essentially built an entire room in newer houses around a large piece of technology. Home offices started out with big desks to hold big computers and bigger monitors. But as technology has been streamlined, I wonder if the home office will be as well.
lighting // cowhide rug // jute rug // table // shades
vase (similar) // chairs & china cabinet (vintage)
In our last home, we converted the formal dining room into a home office devoted to my design business (that I ended soon after. . . ). In this house, we got rid of the dining room all together when we renovated the kitchen and gave up the formal living room for an office space. But it turns out, I rarely use this room to work. I end up taking my laptop and sitting in the kitchen or on the couch. Instead, this space has become overflow dining when we have guests, a homework and project room, a music room, a baby doll nursery, a hiding place. . . You name it. Pretty much anything besides an office for me.
So I wonder, do you think the home office is becoming extinct? If you work from home full-time, do you sit in a designated room all day? (I’m too antsy, and I like the TV on while I work. . . No wonder I can’t stay focused.)
jennifer Reil says
We’re building a new home that has a den at the front of the house. We opted to have them build in a T-shaped desk that can be our home office/homework center. I’ve felt a little nervous about it, as in the future if we want to change it to a music room or painting room or anything else, it will be a pain to remove the built-ins. I comfort myself with the fact that my desktop computer will now be on the main floor instead of the basement when I need to use it, and with 7 kids (the youngest being 1) we’ll be doing homework for many years to come :).
We have a desk area that designed when we built our house 13 years ago. Now I work from home not there but in my walk in closet. Sometime this year we will be removing the desk and making it a drop off for coats and backpacks
Hannah Skinner says
Yes! I like the TV on as well when I’m working. I sit in our guest bed because it’s a pretty room that doesn’t get messed up much! :)
MARA SMITH says
I telecommute and have to have an office. A big computer tower and two flat screen monitors. Everyone’s needs are different. I wish I could lug around a laptop, however I’d probably be frustrated because I’m really dependent on my two monitors.
You bring up a great point! I work from home occasionally but never in the office. It’s sort of become a large drop zone for important papers, the art supplies I don’t want my kids getting into, boxes of photos, basically anything without a home. But it has rarely served its original purpose. I think we will wind up converting it into a bedroom for my oldest son one day (he’s 5 and in bunk beds with my 2 year old).
CHERYL JOHNSON says
for us, both retired, we absolutely need our private spaces, even when it is just the two of us now. I have my art studio and I definitely use it for doing art and writing. My husband has his study and writes/reads in there about 3 hours/day. I tried it here without a study/private space and computed at the kitchen counter, on the couch, at the dining table. And I put up with countless interruptions. Then I set up a corner in a small guestroom for my art table and tried that out. I could not fit into a postage stamp and had to move out when guests arrived. SO . . . . we added on an art studio room. oh so lovely and now I can create with lots more ease and peace. Just depends . . . what one needs to feel creative and focused. I saw a quote this morning that pretty much nails it for me: when you say yes to something, what are you saying no to? saying yes to no room of my own meant I was saying no to create-time, not paying enough attention to who I am and compromising something quite vital.
I work from home full time. I have to be able to concentrate and I really need my two monitors to do my work efficiently. When my kids are home from school on breaks and during the summer having a dedicated office is a life saver for me. I do have a laptop and not a desktop though. I put it on a docking station in the office. If things are slow I can take it off and work in other places like the couch or kitchen table. I just find that I’m more effective in my office so I don’t do that often. If I had a different type of job it would be fun to be able to watch TV and work!
My house was built so long ago, before laptops. So our smallest spare bedroom was designated as our home office. Even though neither of us worked from home. I used it to have a quiet place to surf the web & pay bills.
Now that we’re both retired it’s not used as much. I have tablet that I use all the time. But our files & important papers are stored there.
And my excess home decor items are stored there now. That space needs a little Marie Kondo action.
Emily Clark says
I can’t help you with anything Marie Kondo… I think I may be her polar opposite :)
I am a part-time attorney and work from home the majority of the time. My home office is essential. I find that having a dedicated workspace helps to keep me focused and organized. I have a desk for my laptop and a cabinet to hold the printer, office supplies and work and personal/home files. It’s a beautiful and functional space, and my family knows that they are allowed in on an as-needed basis only! ;)
We converted our formal living room to a home office. Even when I was working from home full time, I didn’t work there. My husband uses it, but I prefer my laptop in a comfy chair in the family room or bedroom.
I love my office! It’s decorated just how I like it and is one of my favorite rooms in the house. It’s right off the kitchen so I am still involved with what’s going on around the house but it’s away from the TV so it’s quieter. We have 2 desktops in there (I don’t have a laptop!) and kids do their homework there as well as me working. It has the printer and file cabinets and small bookshelves, I don’t know where I’d put all that without it!
I agree With you completely. We are retired and don’t use our home study/office at all. We are either in our bedroom, living room, or the kitchen table with our laptops and iPads doing our work.
I understand what you are saying about changing technology (with portability and a reduction in size to what things were), but I’m DYING to have some sort of work space on the first floor just to be able to store and work at laptop, pay bills, plan the week, keep permission slips/school items that need my attention, file items, etc. and have that be on the same floor as the kitchen, laundry room, etc. If there was room in this work space area for kids to do homework, that would be a bonus! It is such a pain to have to continually pack and unpack things to work on the kitchen table!! We have a pretty open living area (kitchen, living room, breakfast table) plus a small dining room that I want to keep and a master bedroom on the first floor. The second floor is 2 bedrooms and a loft where we have a desk. While I could work up there, it still is a lot of packing and unpacking since there would still be a drop zone for papers, mail, etc. on the 1st floor. I don’t really see how I can fit in a work space on the first floor. The only solutions I see are to put a desk in our bedroom (but I really don’t want an office in my bedroom room either) or do a small addition to include a den/office off of the master bedroom.
We converted our small front formal living room to my office when we moved in 14 years ago and it was the best decision ever! I work full time from home, and I can keep an eye and ear out for the house (and teenagers, when they’re home from school) and not clutter up the house with work papers. In my business (I’m a landscape architect) I do need a desktop computer with a large monitor so a roving laptop wouldn’t work for me anyway. But I appreciate having my supplies, my files, my planner, etc. always at my fingertips and I like that (very slight) separation between home life and work life.
My office sits empty now. We prefer to sit with our laptops in the family room, where we can watch tv if we choose, and chat while working. There is still a desk in there that holds necessities and a filling cabinet. Do we need an office? Absolutely not!
I just purchased my first this year at 28 years old. I’m forgoing the home office and using one of the spare bedrooms as a “dressing room” and the formal living room as a comfy library. :)
cindy hattersley says
I guess it all depends on if your home office is really an office. I work out of my home as a designer and my space (which is ample) is stuffed with samples, plans etc. I guess if your office is all on your computer why do you need a designated space?
Karen T. says
Both my husband and I work from home and we actually have three designated “office spaces.” He primarily works out of the true office (behind closed french doors) but we’ve also converted our dining room into an office space with a designated work space for him (it overlooks the backyard/prairie preserve and offers a nice change of scenery) and the kids for homework. We turned an upstairs bedroom into my office which is where I spend 95% of my work day behind a closed door. As a full-time (teleworking) corporate recruiter, I have to have a big screen monitor and a quiet space to conduct interviews. We were just discussing that no matter where we live, we will always have at least two true designated office spaces.
I guess it depends on your job because as an attorney who works from home 95% of the time, a home office is a must for me. We have young children and I often have sitters here watching them so it is necessary I have a private office space to work uninterrupted. I do work some from the kitchen with my laptop but that is usually just monitoring emails and calls in the afternoons once the kids get home from school. I am much more efficient from my office as it has two monitors, my printer, etc so I do a majority of my work from there. I also spend a good deal of time on the phone and drafting documents so again, having a quiet space is necessary!
Emily Clark says
That’s so true. When I have to get on calls, I usually end up in my closet :)
My husband and I both have our own offices in our house – I recently just redid mine because my company is migrating to one of those open office set-ups where we will essentially no longer have cubes (just open, unassigned workstations on long tables). To compound space/privacy/noise issues, these tables will only have seats for about 70% of our team at any given point in time, so my office is shortly going to become all the more important to be able to take conference calls and give presentations in relative peace and quiet.
When we moved into this home, we had the dining room converted into a library with shelves to the ceiling. My desk is in there with an iMac and much of our banking, homework and email happens there. The room happens to be open to the rest of the house, but we use the space daily and we have other options for table space when we have guests for dinner.
Our first two homes, one bought, one built, each had a spacious home office — and it was needed in both scenarios. Our home office now is used by me working from home, (with a large monitor, instead of 2 smaller monitors) and a dedicated desk for my son to do his homework. It’s nice that we can both work in the same room at the same time. The room is small enough that he can turn to ask for help, but it’s big enough that we have each have our own working space. The layout of the room has been difficult to work with, but I finally think we’re close. It’s the decorating that is stressing me out right now — wall color, rug, chairs (why do ergonomic chairs have to be so ugly?), new desks, etc.
My husband works from home full time. We use our formal living room as his office. I stay at home with our two kids. I try my best to keep the kids out of there during the day so that he can work. He does actually work in there. I think if it was me with a side gig I’d move around the house more than he does.
But the office is still a flex space. It was a seating area we use for over flow or when I host my bible study or book club.
We actually have TWO home offices! My husband works from home and has a formal office on the main floor. It also houses his guitar collection and that’s where we practice music. I have a separate home office/sewing room in the finished basement. That’s also where the gift wrap station is and where I hang/display things I love that really don’t belong in public spaces . . . like cross-stitch samplers I made years ago, my daughter’s art projects, my fair ribbons, etc. We love our little his/her spaces!
Our office has evolved into a music room. I teach violin, so I use it as my studio, but it makes for a great space when I have multiple kids practicing in the mornings as well.
Leslie Granese says
My question is regarding those great bamboo shades. It looks like you have done an inside mount but started them at the top of the window frame. Is that correct? My windows are a touch over 27′ wide so there might be some room at the edges on an inside mount. The 31″s would cover the window frame. What did you do?