After years of paying off debt and saving money we were finally able to move into a larger home. We did not go completely over-the-top and buy the biggest place we could find, but we were very excited about having more space than our previous home.
My husband and I both require a home office for our jobs. Even though our new home is bigger, there is still only one room available for a home office. Our budget did not allow for us to buy all new furniture for this room, so we needed to figure out how to plan and arrange our shared home office space while keeping purchases to a minimum.
By following 6 simple steps we were able to create an office space we both love while only purchasing 2 additional bookshelves.
6 Steps To Plan and Arrange a Shared Home Office Space:
- Empty the room. Seeing your room empty will help you visualize new possibilities for furniture arrangement. It also allows you to clean out items that don’t really belong in the home office anyway.
- Decide where each work space will be first. In a shared office space, the first furniture you need to place are the desks. Here are some things to consider as you choose desk placement.
How much work space does each person need? We determined that we both needed about the same amount of work space and storage for books and files, so it was important that our new plan accommodate equal storage for both of us.
What time of day will each of you be working in the office? In our original furniture placement, my back was to the window which caused a lot of glare on my computer screen. I work from home during the day, so it made more sense for my desk to be facing the window. This gave me a nice view and eliminated the glare problem. My husband uses the office mostly in the evenings, so there was no glare issue for him. He also enjoyed the bonus that he can see our living room television in the next room from his new desk placement.
What items can you share? You may be able to share some items like a printer, trash can, paper shredder, or music player in the room. We put the paper shredder on my husband’s side of the office because he uses it more than I do. We also opted to have only one garbage can in the office. Yes, I have to get up from my desk to throw something away, but I need to move around more during my work day so it’s a healthy bonus. If either of us are throwing away a lot of things at once, we just move the garbage can over to our work area temporarily.
- Decide which furniture items are essential and measure each of them. Start with items you already have before going out and purchasing new furniture. You’ll need shelves, files, and a place to put the printer. By evaluating and creatively using the furniture you have first, you may find that you have to buy less or nothing at all.
- Arrange the furniture you have. This is my favorite part! I love playing around with furniture placement, but my husband…not so much. He simply wants me to tell him where something goes (once!) and let him put it there. Measure your room and each piece of furniture. Using these precise measurements, create a to-scale model of your room. For the sake of my marriage and my husband’s back I purchased an app for $9.99 to help me with furniture arrangement. You don’t have to use an app. You can create a to-scale drawing of your room and furniture using graph paper (this is the method I have been using for years). It is much easier to move pretend furniture around on paper or a screen than the real thing. Trust me. It’s worth it!
- Evaluate storage needs. Once your furniture arrangement is decided, you need to see if you have all the storage you need. You may want to live and work in your shared office space for a few weeks before purchasing additional storage. Clear off bookshelves and purge existing files to see if you can gain storage space that way. After working in our newly arranged office for just a week, we both started accumulating piles of books and papers. It was evident at this time that we really did need additional storage. There was also room in our floor-plan to easily accommodate a bookshelf for each of us.
- Purchase additional furniture. When purchasing new furniture it is important to keep in mind the type and style of furniture that’s already in the room, the space available, and your budget. Our existing office furniture was all medium to dark toned woods. We wanted the new furniture to blend in, so we chose some sturdy, inexpensive bookshelves from Ikea that finished off our storage needs perfectly.
And here is the result of all that planning and arranging!
We love our new work spaces. Plus, now that we both have enough storage our office stays much cleaner with less effort.
You can easily achieve a shared home office space both of you will love by emptying the room, deciding where the work spaces will be first, measuring your room and furniture, planning your furniture arrangement on paper or use an app, evaluating your storage needs, and only purchasing furniture if you really need it. With just a little planning, you can create your perfect shared home office!