Finding room in your house for one home office is challenging enough but carving out two workspaces is even more difficult. If you and your partner both work remotely, and space is at a premium, sharing a home office is a great solution.
1. Find the Right Space
The first step is to locate a space for your home office. Is there a spare room, extra closet, or even an attic you can transform into an office? If you don’t have a separate space, start looking for unused areas in your home that you can share. Ensure the spot has enough room for two occupants and it meets both of your needs.
2. Take the Corner
If a separate room is out of the question, start looking at unused spaces in other areas of your home, such as your living room, basement, or kitchen. Look for nooks or additional pockets of space like a hallway you can turn into your office. Corners are often overlooked but shouldn’t be. Decoist recommends corners as an ideal spot for a shared home office because it is easy to divide with each person getting a wall.
3. Make Use of the Dining Room
If space is minimal, think about converting your dining room into a home office. Sitting on opposite ends of a long dining room table enables each of you to have your workspace. You can place a printer in the middle of the table to act as a dividing line.
If your dining room chairs are comfortable, you may not need to purchase new office chairs. Use rolling carts and filing cabinets to store supplies and important papers. When you need to use the dining room, you can easily hide your belongings in another room.
4. Arrange the Desks
If dividing the space isn’t an option, placing your desks back-to-back is another way to create a sense of privacy and avoid distractions. Arranging your desks side-by-side not only saves space but also allows the ability to bring in a small couch or extra table for breaks. Before purchasing desks, measure the space so you know if you can fit two desks or if one long desk would work better. Here are some layouts to consider when arranging desks:
- Face-to-Face – If you both need to interact or collaborate, having your desks facing each other is optimal. On the other hand, with both desks facing inward, you’ll likely be staring at each other all day.
- Back-to-Back – Facing the desks away from each other allows you to have the feel of having your own space.
- Side-by-Side – Having the desks next to each other means you aren’t facing each other or facing away from each other. You both get the same view (hopefully a window).
- One Long Desk – If your space is narrow or tiny, one long desk with each of you on opposite ends is optional. You can use desk dividers for privacy.
5. Match the Desks
Having matching desks creates a sense of unity. Different chairs and lamps for each person allow for some individuality.
6. Divide the Room
If you both crave privacy when working, a room divider can convert one room into two. Curtains, bookcases, file cabinets, and couches can all help create separate workspaces. If a simple boundary is all you want to designate separate work areas, different colored rugs are an easy solution.
7. Avoid Clutter
Clutter creates chaos, especially when space is tight. Declutter your office regularly and clear your desks at the end of the day. Be picky about what you decide to bring in. Share items such as printers, shredders, and file cabinets to save space and cut down on clutter. Use organizers and trays to keep your desks neat and organized. If you need more storage, install cabinets on the walls.
8. Let Light In
Adequate lighting is essential for any home office. Light affects your productivity and your mood. Take advantage of natural light if you can find a suitable location. Position your desks to face the windows.
Enhance the natural light by painting your walls a light, neutral color and placing a mirror in the room. If natural light isn’t a possibility, use desk lamps, floor lamps, or task lights. Each of you should have your own lamp so you can adjust the light to your preference.
9. Stay Neutral
Sticking to a neutral color scheme works well in a shared office and helps avoid any color conflicts. Each person can add a little color with chairs, rugs, or desk items.
10. Stick to Bulletin Boards
Hang bulletin boards on the walls of your shared space, giving both of you a way to personalize your space and give the area a cohesive look. Using bulleting boards makes it easy to add new things.
11. Create a Gallery Wall
Small Business Trends offers another idea for personalizing your shared space — a gallery wall. Both of you can select art or photos to place on the wall to give your office a unique look.
12. Add Plants to Your Space
Plants help to brighten up a room and your mood so place a few live plants around your shared space. Plants add to the decor but also purify the air and absorb noise. If you need a room divider, a few tall plants will do the trick.
Sharing a home office is a great way to save space. Use the creative design and layout ideas in this article to create a comfortable, enjoyable, and productive work environment for two.