In Your Living Room
When you're integrating an office into this multifunctional room, the first rule is not to let the work space stick out—aesthetically or physically. Keep to the room's color and decoration schemes, and make sure the furniture doesn't impede traffic flow. Make use of what's already there (shelving, cupboards), and introduce elements (lamps, chairs) that can serve other purposes when the work is done.
What You'll Need:
- Shelving: File and CD boxes holding records, papers, and computer discs can be stacked (along with reference books) within reach on bookshelves, rather than cluttering the desktop. A shelf that's deep and high enough is a good place to set up the printer and the fax.
- Lighting: A decorative table lamp in lieu of a more industrial-looking model helps tie the office in to the rest of the room's decor. It also contributes gracious accent lighting to family evenings and parties.
- Furniture: Positioning a desk flush against built-in bookshelves leaves space for people to pass. Think about purchasing an unfinished desk and painting it to blend in with the room's wood trim. A high-back leather armchair provides comfort and support during hours spent logged on to the computer, yet it's attractive enough to be pressed into service at cocktail hour. Under the desk, a child's footstool (painted to match the desk) keeps the computer tower off the floor and within easy reach.
- File storage: A file cabinet on wheels can be trundled over to one side of the desk when added legroom is called for, or pulled out from underneath to provide additional surface area—say, for spreading out documents while you're working.