In an ideal home, the office would be its own dedicated space of the home.  There would be enough room for a big desk, conference area, and plenty of room for storage and walking.  Now, let’s talk about a real home that many home offices have to share a space with another dedicated function!  It is very common in today’s homes for the living room or dining room to share with the home office.  Bedrooms are another room that continually gets sectioned off for home office space as well.  If you’re contemplating how to share a space with a home office, try these tips.

  • Declutter and organize: Once you have decided which room you want to share with your home office, it’s time to declutter and purge. If you are going to have dual functions in one room you will need to remove any items that take up space or don’t have a purpose. Organize each ‘space’ into its own area of the room, so you can clearly see what will is essential and what needs to find a new home – outside of the space!
  • Determine how much space you NEED: If you’re home office is just for checking your emails and surfing the internet every now and then, your office space may not need to have 50% of the room.  While if you just downsized from a full office setup to now your home, your office will need more dedicated space to make the transition.  Be honest with your needs for space, as you will need to live with this arrangement for a while.
  • Consider the other person you’re sharing the room with: When sharing a space with a home office, there are different considerations to make if you are sharing with another person.  Ask them what needs for storage, entertainment, and comfort they need for their side of the room.  Talk over how much space you also need and consider your computer, printer, supplies, storage and miscellaneous items when discussing. Once you come up with a plan, measure out the entire room, and if it helps, sketch on paper the layout you both want to implement before moving furniture.
  • Unite the adjacent areas with décor and color: Even though your spaces have different functionality, by using the same color palette through the room will keep it unified and purposeful.  If you drastically change the styles, colors and patterns of the two separate functions it will feel haphazard and unplanned.  Use varying tones of the same color to bring uniqueness to the areas of the space and still help each area keep its identity.
  • Unconventional option may be perfect for you: If the space you are sharing is too small, consider using a closet as your office space! This new trend is a great way to add space where you may not have considered.  For maximum vertical space, remove clothing rod and shelving above.  If you need storage, consider leaving shelves and/or installing vertical storage beside your desk.  Remove closet doors for added space, or if you want to hide your desk when not in use, consider a curtain, or bi-folding closing doors.

Sharing a home office space doesn’t have to feel awkward and strange.  Try using these tips to identify what areas of the space can be maximized, and which can be used for dual functions.  Electronics and electrical outlets may be able to be shared with both parties, as opposed to having over cluttering of belongings.  You can make the space livable with organization and your creativity. Freshome reader’s we know you love small places! Tell us how you share a room with your home office.