7 Sure-Fire Ways to Organize a Combination Office
If ever there was a situation that tests the design patience of small homeowners, it is that of the guestroom-office combination. My own combination office serves as a place to hold craft supplies as well an exercise room. It's the place where I write posts like this when I’m working from home, and where I sometimes lounge to watch television. And ironically, since my home is seriously lacking in closet space, my guestroom-office space also houses my small, but efficient closet.
The smaller your guest room though, the more difficult it is to get it function properly, let alone to find additional space for a home office. I’ve tackled the problem of tiny guest rooms, offices and combination spaces before on this blog. But it never hurts to do it again. After all, repetition is the mother of retention right? So let’s get to it. Welcome to week 12 of the Whole House Organization Challenge.
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Why Proper Organization of Your Small Combination Office Matters
According to Forbes magazine, the number of people working from home in the United States is more than 50%. With more millennials wanting to work from home that number is expected to increase. Naturally then, a home office - even a really small one- is at the top of the list of necessary items for young potential homebuyers.
Earlier in the challenge I lightly addressed the idea of using a mobile office basket for people who find it difficult to work in a single room of the home for hours at a time. In this post, we will discover ways to set up even the smallest of guest rooms so that they serve many functions, including a home office.
To help me with that, I reached out to blogger buddy Linda of The Home I Create. Using Linda’s small combination office a backdrop for this post, here are my 7 tips to help you make the most of your own combination office.
7 Tips for Organizing a Combination Guest Room Home Office
1. Divide Your Combination Room Into Zones
Notice the space that Linda started with above. As you can see, this room became a dumping ground for all things random. Although it's quite a spacious room, it needed to serve an unbelievable number of different functions. This combination office needed to be equipped with a dressing table and bed for guests, an office for Linda, a place for the children to do homework, and a studio for Linda to record videos for her YouTube channel. Wow, that’s a lot! But dividing the room into zones helps to conquer those challenges, and actually makes the room more useful.
2. Invest in a Flexible Bed
Unless you’re accommodating overnight guests every weekend, I can’t think of a reason why a small home owner would use a standard mattress set in a multipurpose room. The quality of the retractable beds on the market today have improved tremendously. Without a doubt, a daybed, sleeper sofa, or a Murphy bed are all great investments worth considering when setting up a small office-guest room.
3. Make Good Use of the Wall Space
Like I always say: when space is limited, go up. Carefully placed wall art offers a visual separation between the “office” and “guest room” portions of the room. Tall bookcases and beautiful peg boards do their part to keep a multipurpose room functional without becoming overly utilitarian or sterile. Going up the wall with storage also frees up precious floor space which can now be used for exercising, luggage racks for guests, or ottomans for additional seating.
4. Use the Open Floor Space Wisely
If you paid attention to point #3 then this point will make more sense. Have you ever walked into a room where it looked like all the furniture was under arrest? I have, and it drives me insane. If we’re being honest, sometimes this can’t be avoided. But all too often small space dwellers feel forced to shove everything against the wall. I love the way Linda floated a small table in the center of her guest room office. This entire room has now become additional living space, not only for guests or for work, but for day to day life.
5. Let in the Light
This next tip is more about mood than organization, but it’s still important. I like to think of natural light as a punctuation mark in a room. Bright light makes it easier for a work-at-home employee to focus and keeps him/her connected with the outside world. To give guests a sense of privacy, install blinds behind light-filtering sheers.
6. Use Double Duty Furniture When Possible
One of the best ways to get the most use out of a combination space is to arrange furniture pieces so that they serve more than one function. I love all of the double-duty pieces Linda managed to incorporate into this room. There is a bookcase which stores office supplies. The daybed allows for additional seating for everyday use, while the floating table is the perfect place for recording YouTube videos or for doing homework. Additionally, chests and dressers can double as dressing tables and television consoles.
7. Get Creative with Storage
One major disadvantage to living in a small space is that disorder is visible ALL AT ONCE. Living small has taught me the art of storing things well. I regularly use the back of room doors to hold blankets. Awkward nooks become the perfect places for floating shelves. And baskets are perfect for corralling shoes, toys, books or magazine and even photography gear. And decorative boxes are great for hiding things like office supplies and even wi-fi routers.
Perhaps the best part about this multipurpose space is that Linda used only items that she already owned. Yep. She pulled items from other spaces to complete this makeover. I love that! Chances are you will be able to do the same. So tell me, are the wheels turning now with new ways to tackle your multipurpose home office? I certainly hope so!