Remote work is more popular than ever, and many households now have two people squeezed into a home office originally meant for one.
Sharing a small space can be stressful, even if you happen to like (or are married to) your office partner. It can be even more aggravating when you're disorganized and distracted.
The key to bliss in a WFH room for two is to maximize your home office area so you're both able to be fully productive. You both deserve a working environment that’s peaceful and comfortable so you can get things done.
Here are some ideas for transforming your space into a functional workroom for two:
- Select the right place - as they say, location is everything.
- Take measurements and create a plan to use every square inch.
- Choose the right furniture - go for sleek, multipurpose pieces.
- Don’t forget storage - adequate storage boosts organization.
- Showcase your style with bold accessories.
Working from home has its pros and cons. Make the best of it with these tips on how to design a practical and attractive home office you’ll be happy to share.
Find The Perfect Spot
Unfortunately, most homes were not designed with the demands of working from home in mind. This is a great opportunity to create an office uniquely suited to your specific needs.
If you’re lucky enough to have a spare bedroom, that would be ideal. If not, never fear - you can easily transform the dining room, a wide hallway, or even an unused corner of your kitchen or living room into a functional workspace.
Be upfront about your needs and wants. If you thrive in natural light, choose a home office space with a window to the outside world. Some people who work remotely prefer no such distractions.
Do you have frequent Zoom calls? Discuss your meeting schedule with your partner - this could have an impact on your chosen office location, as you don't want to be in a high-traffic area during your weekly one-on-one with the boss.
Get creative. Almost any underused area of your home can be converted into a place where you can both work together in harmony.
Make a Plan of Attack
The next step is to remove anything currently inhabiting your new office space and then give it a good, thorough cleaning. Once everything is spic and span, whip out that tape measure and grab your notebook.
Take measurements and make a floor plan so you know exactly how much square footage you have to work with. Armed with this knowledge, you can make your office pop with eye-catching wallpaper as suggested by The Spruce, or invest in a trendy area rug to help delineate your individual space.
It’s important for each person to have their own zone. No matter how small or large your potential home office might be, you will go nuts if you’re constantly bumping into your mate. Make sure your plan incorporates enough elbow room so you can both do your job in peace.
Next, determine your budget. There are tons of clever design ideas that you can make your own, even if your funds are relatively tight.
Not Your Dad’s Office Furniture
Today’s decor for the modern office is more playful and stylish than ever before. Building your own dual workspace gives you the freedom to pick out whatever fits your style and your budget.
Where you sit is extremely important. A comfortable chair supports you in all the right spots and doesn’t give you the dreaded “office drone butt.” Numbness and stiffness in your lower body are signs that your chair needs to be replaced with something more ergonomic.
A popular fashion in a home office for two is having one long desk against the wall. HGTV features one ingeniously crafted out of three filing cabinets and an extra-long piece of wood from the hardware store. This is a snazzy way to create a side-by-side workstation with oodles of useful storage.
Corner desks are also a smart idea. You can either build one yourself or get professional help. Take advantage of every available inch by having an L- or T-shaped desk.
Some prefer to take care of business on their laptop, and others like a more traditional set-up with multiple large monitors. Whatever your method, be sure to install enough outlets and USB ports, and invest in surge protectors, especially if you live in a stormy area.
Another trick to peaceful co-working is to get and stay organized. The easiest way to accomplish that is by having enough storage for the two of you.
Here is where accurate measurements come in handy - you’ll know how much vertical space you have from the ceiling to the floor. Use this space to make room for books, documents, printer material, and any other office supplies that you need to be successful.
Wall-mounted hooks, magnetic strips, wire baskets, and hanging racks can all be used in a variety of ways to help you keep your belongings safely stowed.
Another option to consider is installing some custom cabinetry. These gorgeous storage solutions can be crafted from a variety of materials to match your personal style. They also make it easier to put away your office supplies so you don’t have to look at them in your free time.
Let Your Light Shine
Your home office is the perfect place to let your creativity go wild. Talk to your office mate so you can agree on a color scheme and layout, but make the area around your desk totally yours.
Upscale light fixtures can really add a flair to an otherwise utilitarian space. Adequate lighting is vital for being productive and reducing eye strain. If you’ve snagged that window seat, you have an infinite variety of options for dressing it to perfection.
Surrounding yourself with your favorite art is also a key component to mindfulness in the office. From small sculptures to statement wall pieces, studies show that art in the workplace increases wellbeing, reduces stress, and enhances performance, according to Work Design Magazine.
While it might seem like a daunting challenge, making a functional home office for two people is actually quite achievable, no matter what size space you’re working with. Choosing your space wisely, making a plan, and investing in a few important details will smooth the way to a shared office space oasis.