One of the significant side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic was a wave of people who were suddenly working from home. I recently read somewhere that a significant number of the nation’s workers who were abruptly forced to work from home because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, may find themselves permanently working from home. This gave me a topic to write about this week.
Those who work at home know the importance of keeping the living space separate from the office. But many of us do not have an entire room to devote to a home office. If you have a walk-in closet or pantry, you already have a home office. Walk-in closets or pantries can be the perfect place for a home office if you don’t need the closet/pantry space. Let me show you a way of tucking a desk into a closet that makes the space work very hard for you. If you have just a guest closet, a kitchen pantry or nook off the living room, you can make the space work as an office space. And the best thing about turning a closet into an office is that when you don’t feel like thinking about work, you can just shut your door and hide it from view.
First thing’s first: when my husband and I first bought our home, we were willing to sacrifice a walk-in pantry and turn it into a home office retreat for me. Because it was just the two of us, we didn’t think we would need a pantry of this size.
I purchased two inexpensive standard height base cabinets and a laminate countertop right off the shelves from the local big box store. I wanted to jazz the space up as I did in all the other rooms in our home. So, I picked a fun color for my talented late son to paint the walls.
The first thing Andy did was take the room back to barebones when he removed all the white plastic coated metal shelving. Then he patched all the holes and painted the walls with Behr Fresh Peaches 260C.
Next Andy used the 10-foot-high vertical space nicely when he installed built-in shelves. “Watch me,” my son proudly said as he leaped up to one of the shelves, grabbed it and swung himself as if he were a contestant on American Ninja Warrior. Because my son knew I was a real bookworm (and still am), he wanted to prove that I had plentiful shelf support. So, he added a few more shelves so I could turn the space into a mini library to store extra volumes while still keeping them on display. Andy knew that while aesthetics were important, function was more important.
Next, I hired an electrician to get proper outlets to plug in my laptop, desktop printer, and other electronic equipment that I may need. Then Andy installed the cabinets and countertop. As I mentioned earlier, the cabinets were standard base cabinets…not desk height. The countertop measurement is very important when purchasing the chair or stool that will be used at it. I found a perfect “counter height” seat at a bar stool warehouse. I placed casters on the stool, so the bar stool could easily be rolled.
Incidentally, I have many, many favorite items in my home office. Unfortunately there’s too many to discuss in this blog. But there’s one item that sticks out among the others (pardon the pun). It is a treasured homemade gift from my dear friend Nancy Powers. She repurposed slants of wood from her beloved furbaby’s dog house to create this vintage sign. Nancy then collected seashells, driftwood and debris from Lake Erie. She used a deer antler (which belonged to my late son) along with the booty from the very lake Andy drowned in to arrange this beautiful angel wing. I love the impact that this sign adds to the room! It hangs just above my shoulders to “watch over me.”
Think about what an office job tends to be: You get in a car. You drive for nearly an hour (at least you do in Southwest Florida) to get to where your employer is. You may have to fight traffic. If so, then you may get road rage. Not to mention the cost of mileage and fuel. You finally get to your office. You pound on a computer for eight hours. And maybe you have a few meetings. Then you face the return drive back home, fighting traffic along the way. About a third of Americans are still working from home because of the coronavirus. The technology that enables this has been around for many years, but it took a pandemic to force the move for many to work remotely. That said, some types of work and workers benefit greatly from working at home. But, you don’t have to hunch over a laptop on sofas or beds, perch on hard dining room chairs, or subject your arms and wrists to ill-placed keyboards. You could actually get a lot of work done at home, in your pajamas, poised in a home office the size of a walk-in pantry. My cozy little closet proves it can be done…and well!
Wishing you and yours well from my little office.