Creating a Home Office That Really Works

There is a new and wonderful wave of young entrepreneurs in the D.C. area. I love being able to consider myself a  part of it, and I feel like D.C. is finally ready to embrace this generation of innovative, creative people who may stir up traditions in varying fields. Isn’t it exciting!?

No better way to grow as a community than to try new things, fail a couple of times and explore options other than the mainstream.

A lot of this has to do with the Internet, of course. Starting a business is more accessible than ever before. Resources, funding, accounting, marketing — all at our fingertips. While traditionally new businesses were mainly brick and mortar, we can now work at all different times of the day with different rules, different locations, and be more productive with a little technology and a little space to dedicate as a home office.

[ Related: Creating a Contemporary, Mid-Century Modern Look at Home ]

Apartment living — like most of us are doing in the D.C. area — is not always the most spacious. If you plan for it, you can find an apartment that has a dedicated office space. Not all of us can say that we’ve planned for that though.

Tight living is common, and utilization of your space is important! There are lots of ways to bend the rules with your home office design. Heck, when you are working from home, you have no rules at all! So let’s go nuts.

I have an office space/dining room situation in my current apartment. When my table is turned perpendicular to the wall and all set for food, we have food. In the afternoon, when I have clients over, or I just need to sprawl my things out, my Clark Kent dining table just turns 90 degrees and morphs into Superman: home-office style! I bring my computer, fabric books and printer from my closet; my files are in a basket under the hidden end table; and it all comes out to play!



The use of a closet is key. While mine is for storage, some people even go a step further by removing the closet door and adding a counter and chair for a built-in effect. This works best with a double-door style closet that is wide enough for a person to sit comfortably. You can then add a cute vintage clothing rack to display all of your clothes or store your extra things in your dresser.

closet office


closet office2


If the space is large enough and it’s just a matter of dividing a common area into a dual-purpose room, then an inexpensive IKEA KALLAX shelving unit can break up your room and still be visually pleasing from both sides. On one side, add a desk and a task light and — boom! — there’s your office.

[ Related: Finding the Right Color Combination for Your Apartment ]

Another IKEA fix is to add a couple of their narrow tables — or even install a counter with brackets or a drawer shelf — and line them along your wall, coffee-house style, with counter-height stools for multiple people to work. Or double purpose it as a breakfast nook!

If you don’t want to face the wall, throw a bookcase along the wall for storage and float your desk in front so your back is to the bookcase while you work.

We entrepreneurs can be pretty crafty. This is good not only for business but also for tight living and working quarters. Just a few spatial tricks up our sleeves and business will be booming from the comfort of our own, cozy apartments. 🙂

If you would like to work on your own home office with me, drop me a line here. Thanks!

Find your next apartment in the area with Apartment Showcase.

Teri Clar

Teri Clar

Teri is a interior designer, entrepreneur, and a writer in Washington DC area.

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