Nice desk you've got there next to the fireplace
May 21, 2010 11:03 AM   Subscribe

Are there good ways to set up a semi-private office space in unconventional areas in a home?

We'll be moving into a new place that doesn't have a dedicated office. However, I'm interested in trying to set up a spot that, although it wouldn't be as private as a behind-a-door office, I'd like for it to not feel like it's just a desk sitting on the side of the living room.

I don't naturally have a good eye for this kind of thing, and I'd like some good ideas to make it feel like it's its own area that wouldn't be an eye sore and an instant target for toddlers. Are there ways to think about this to utilize limited space? Are there products that are made (like movable walls or something) that would look good and give a sense of being separated from the rest of the living area?

posted by SpacemanStix to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe a folding screen room divider type thing? You could put the desk in a corner of the living room.
posted by a sourceless light at 11:11 AM on May 21, 2010

Perhaps in a walk-in closet?
posted by 3dd at 11:13 AM on May 21, 2010

You of course can use a shoji screen if you want something movable, an IKEA Expedit shelf if you want an airy shelf room divider thing.

My non-traditional office space is a desk in the basement facing a wall and headphones -- so I don't get visual or audio distractions. Also has the bonus of being next to the laundry which is a room people don't use every day.

How much of an office set up do you really need? Could you get yourself a nice lapdesk or foldable laptop stand, wireless keyboard and mouse and throw them all in an under-the-bed/couch basket? While I have another setup downstairs, I find that setting up at the coffee table or couch with big headphones works as well for me with a similar setup and it has the advantage of fast cleanup and semi-portability. I keep all my paperwork in a file cabinet elsewhere in the house. Of course, this only works if your work is very computer input (writing, programming, CAD, etc.).
posted by Gucky at 11:15 AM on May 21, 2010

Any sort of alcove or niche around? You could set it up as an office and use screens or something more permanent or maybe curtains.
posted by 6550 at 11:28 AM on May 21, 2010

Will the new space have stairs with a landing big enough for a desk? A laundry room? (No, seriously, the washing machine will create some nice, concentration-friendly background noise.) What about a hallway or a pantry? Any closets (walk in or not) that you could pop a small table or desk into? (You could keep a folding chair outside.)
posted by ocherdraco at 11:50 AM on May 21, 2010

an ergotron workfit might be useful. packs a lot of (very comfortable) desk into a small space and you could roll it into a closet or behind a screen for storage.
posted by paradroid at 12:07 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Closet Offices
posted by BlooPen at 12:07 PM on May 21, 2010

I had the same issue when I moved into my current apartment. My office ended up in the living room, but to make it feel more like office space, we also made it so the furniture in that entire side of the room was also office-related. All our bookshelves were along the wall beside it, the more traditional living space (couch, tv, etc) was separated into its own sphere. Surround your desk with your work related furniture and things.
Also, make sure you've got a window. Seriously. (I didn't and suffered because of it.)
posted by thebestsophist at 9:36 PM on May 21, 2010

Office in the middle of the living room. You could also dig through apartment therapy's office archives for ideas about how to set up an office in shared living space.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:17 PM on May 21, 2010

Response by poster: Great advice, everyone. Thank you!
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:54 AM on May 22, 2010

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