Rolling out of bed, straight onto a conference call is becoming the norm for a lot of us these days. While working in your PJs might not affect your productivity, not having a dedicated workspace will. In smaller homes, space is such a premium that you may think your desk is destined to be a corner of the kitchen table. However, there is usually a way to create an inspiring workspace in even the most compact of spaces.
If you lack a spare room, it’s safe to assume your desk will need to slot in somewhere else in the house. Doubling up a room’s function is only an issue if you allow one role to intrude on another. So don’t go leaving your laptop on the dining table or paper strewn across the bedroom floor, ok?
If you spend a lot of time working or studying at home, it is essential to have a psychological separation from work and home life. This is a little trickier if you can see your desk out the corner of your eye while watching tv. Having ample storage will enable you to pack everything away at the end of the day and switch off.
Deciding where to put your workstation largely depends on how much room you need, how often you’ll be using it and how many other people share the space. Here are some suggestions:
A bedroom is a good option as there is no overlap in function; you work during the day and then sleep at night. However, to make sure you don’t dream of spreadsheets, make sure you can hide everything ‘worky’ at the end of the day. If your bedroom is on the smaller side, consider a desk that could double up as a dressing table as well. Add some shelves, pictures and a mirror, and it’ll blend into a cohesive room rather than an extension of the office.
If you have a bay window, you could position the desk facing out, creating a semi-enclosed office in what would usually be dead space.
On the landing or hallway. If you work in the week when no one else is around, positioning a desk on the landing, might be a viable alternative if you don’t want work to infringe on your home life. Slot in a corner desk or build a custom workstation that doesn’t get in the way of people passing through.
Under the stairs. If you don’t need that space for extra storage consider making it a den for your desk. Make sure the area is well lit, and the chair tucks away. You’ll barely notice it’s there.
Built-in to a wall of storage. If you have an alcove you could make some multipurpose shelves and create a deeper one for a desk. It would only jolt out an extra few cms, creating a minimal footprint on the room.
Picking the perfect desk
You’ve probably found a spot for your home office that is a little bit awkward: a nook, alcove or slither of space. The standard office desk at 75cm deep is probably not going to cut it. Fortunately, most retailers offer a broad range of space saving desks. Look for ones with slimline worktops, 50cm in depth is sufficient if you only use a laptop. Hairpin or delicate legs will be less visually intrusive or opt for floating or folding desks for the tiniest of areas.
If you can’t find the size or fit you are after, don’t despair, you could go custom. This doesn’t have to be as expensive as it sounds. There is a new wave of furniture makers bringing custom furniture to the masses. Take a look at the likes of Kobble who make made-to-measure furniture to fit your space. Or for a more DIY approach opt for Tiptoe’s modular table legs and brackets that will help create a truly unique and stylish masterpiece.
We’ve pulled together an edit of our favourite desks from the likes of Made, Swoon Editions and Maison du Monde. You will also find affordable bespoke options from Etsy sellers and up and coming brands like Urbansize.
….and chair to match
Your back won’t thank you if you opt solely for fashion over function when picking a desk chair. But that isn’t an excuse to choose one of those ugly, ergonomic ones either. Fortunately, there are some cracking options online. Acrylic furniture is perfect for pint-sized pads. Functional pieces like an office chair, become barely visible, keeping the space open and inviting. If you like the look and feel of upholstered chairs, opt for no arms so the chair can slot away under the desk. For a more vintage aesthetic, old machinist chairs like this are incredibly comfy and offer lots of back support.
Tidy desk, tidy mind
If you want to maximise the space and minimise the distractions, make your desk a clutter-free zone. Adding one or two shelves and opting for a wall mounted light will help keep your workspace clear. Stay tidy by concealing ugly cables with cable sleeves under your desk and try as best as you can to go paperless. Style the space with some art and a little greenery to add a little inspiration and pop of colour to the area.