Whether you’re a freelancer or a student, an aspiring entrepreneur or an overwhelmed mother who needs a bit of silence when sitting down to pay the bills, having an office can be an absolute game changer. Maybe you’ve thought about an office before and how amazing it’d be to work in one, but immediately put the thought to bed due to lack of space. Or maybe the possibility of an at-home office never even crossed your mind because you thought there was nowhere to put it. Think again!
Even the tiniest of apartments has space for a makeshift office that you can use to write short stories, research assignments, address emails, and balance budgets. Here’s how!
The whole point of an office is to give yourself a separate, distraction-free zone where you can work with a strong focus. That means your first step will be to partition off your working area; if you don’t have a separate room to turn into your study, you could always create space by blocking off a section of your living room with a folding wall or installing drywall in the garage.
Pro tip: If possible, try to find an area that has plenty of natural light. Studies show that natural light has a direct, positive impact on our mood, while the glaring, fluorescent lights will leave your eyes feeling tired and dried out. Without much natural light, you should install ambient lights that have mood settings which can help you concentrate.
Working with a small space, you’ll need to be extremely pragmatic in terms of which furniture you install. Go minimal; no more than a shelf, desk, and chair at most—or ditch the chair and score more space with a standing desk!
Pro tip: Your technology should be equally compact. You won’t want a clunky monitor taking up your entire desk space or a whizzing computer turning the temperature up. Instead, opt for a mini PC like the extremely compact HP EliteDesk, which can save you a ton of working room and leg space.
Because your office is so small and you don’t have a lot of areas to fill, decorations will serve more like distraction and make you feel cluttered, chaotic, and disorganized. For that reason, consider leaving that framed photo of you and your girlfriend in the bedroom (even though you’ll miss her while you work!).
Pro tip: If you absolutely must decorate to add some personality to an otherwise bland space, do so with a plant! Studies show that plants lift our spirits, bring happiness, and make us feel more energized. Air plants are itty bitty and super trendy right now.
If you’re dead set on decorating and fulfilling those design urges, do so by building upwards. Your desktop is limited in size but you can add more surface area by installing shelves above your desk or on the surrounding walls.
Pro tip: When you’re choosing which awards, trinkets, books, and additional items to put on display, we don’t recommend adding a clock to your office shelf—especially if you’re facing it. Even though your new office space will help you stay more focused and in the zone, you’re inevitably going to hit a wall every now and again. If you’re staring at the clock, time will seem to move by incredibly slow and the task you’re struggling to complete will feel like it’s dragging on forever.
Invest in a Document Scanner
Apart from your birth certificate and Social Security card, there are few other documents that you actually need to preserve in hard copy. A document scanner can prevent stacks of bills and paperwork from piling up by allowing you to quickly copy receipts, invoices, correspondences, letters, so on and so forth. Clutter will never get in the way of your concentration!
Pro tip: Neatly organize your files on a secure cloud storage system, then come tax season, easily pull your necessary proof of deductions. With careful documentation, you’ll be covered should the IRS ever audit you.
With the right decoration strategy, a properly-fitting desk, good lighting, and a clutter-free countertop, you just might be surprised by how spacious your little office feels!