If you’re thinking of transforming a part of your house into a home office suite, I suspect you need to think carefully on how you use your space. I have only a certain amount of home “space” to work. Simply throwing a desk into a room served a purpose, but more analysis could serve me and my business much better. Let me share with you my thinking on how I planned to transform my old garage into a useful home office suite.
My Original Space and Its Problems
The space I’m utilizing used to be a garage. I walled it up several years ago, making 1/4 of it into a large laundry room, 1/4 for my current office, and 1/2 for storage and workshop. Here’s the layout (by my son Isaiah using Google SketchUp):
You can see a number of problems with this office space. First, it is used to travel from our basement to the garage (see the two doors on each side of my office). Sure, someone can go all the way around to the exterior door (bottom left), but that isn’t usually the case in a busy family. My desk space should be at the end-of-the-line in the house plan with one single entryway. Secondly, the living area is right outside my door, and the door is a hallow interior door. Third, my printer (a nice Konica Minolta c353) is heavily used by my homeschooled family. Fourth, I had very little wall space for a whiteboard. Fifth, there was virtually no room for another person (my accountant, a coach, a friend, etc.). Sixth, I had virtually no office storage space like a closet or bookshelf.
I know, exhausting. Honestly, my office was just a desk in a room. Sure, I clunked along and got work done, but it was definitely not a “suite.”
Rethinking the Use of Space
My creative juices started with rethinking the use of the entire garage. I replaced the garage items (storage and Micah’s workshop) in our storage bin and our outdoor shed. Then, again using Google SketchUp, I rearranged my office on “paper.” Here’s my new layout:
If you’re thinking about a home office yourself, take a lot of time to think through this. The purpose is to maximize the use of the space as much as possible. Notice the following solutions with this new layout of my office:
- Traffic. My desk is at the END of the flow of traffic.
- Sound. You can’t see it in this layout, but all the walls are insulated to keep household noise to a minimum.
- Storage. Two closets – a large one right inside the front door and on from inside my office – for space.
- Workroom. The space under the printer (it’ll be nice that the printer is outside my office) will be a work room for projects.
- Wall space. Notice the round table in my office. The spaces to the sides are pure open walls, one for a large white board (the other for my elk antlers).
Can you visualize the difference? The use of the space before served little purpose other than providing me a desk to work from. This was hardly an effective use of space. But this new use of space makes a tremendous amount of sense. I can’t wait till it is finished.
My dad, my sons and I worked all day yesterday on framing and electrical, and I’m happy to say we’re finished with the first phase. Transforming an unfinished garage into a functional workspace is extremely rewarding. We’re onto drywalling today. I’ll take a bunch of pictures and post them tomorrow, and I also want to share with you my budget and cool ideas I have for decoration. Subscribe to my blog and I’ll keep you posted.
If this jogs some ideas for you, great! I’d love to hear from you. Comment below.