How to Use a Den or Kitchen For Your Home Office

The den -- if you are lucky enough to have one -- is the ideal place to fit a home office. A dual-purpose room will save space and you can create a room that retains the elegance of a den and incorporates the functionality of an office.

While it may be tempting to sit your laptop on a table and call that an office, you really need more drawer space to keep things looking neat and tidy. Drawers or slide-out shelving behind neat doors are the answer; you can also use them to fit other office items such as the printer, scanner and whatever else you may need. It's not necessary to stick with office type furniture for your storage solutions. Your den may have a built-in bookshelf that you could utilize.

Be sure you need to keep that paper record before you file it away. Once you've cleared out everything you don't need, you may not need the same amount of storage space. A filing cabinet that is made of wood is preferable to a steel one in a den. Steel is strong and sturdy, but not decorative. Keeping to the rich grain of wood will enhance your decor in a way that steel never could.

Placing your table or desk in front of a window may provide light, but sometimes you may decide you need a good strong blind to keep out the sun's glare. Use desk lamps or free-standing spot lights to ensure that artificial lighting is right for working on the computer or other work you may do. Sometimes it's better to aim lighting at the ceiling so you create a diffused glow, rather than shining them directly on the work surface.

Unify the office furniture to match with your den furniture by spraying it the same color. Use the same soft furnishing fabric -- or at least match the color. To keep your office from looking overcrowded, use light colors for everything, then get visual contrast with bright colors rather than dark. While many dens are traditionally done in dark colors, white with gold trim looks both elegant and stunning. Perhaps it's time to revamp the den to fit in with your choice of office decor rather than the other way around.

If you are not planning on meeting clients in your den, it's better to have one long sofa for comfort, rather than a lot of chair groupings. Comfort should be the preference in your den-cum-office.

Your kitchen may have the right space to squeeze an office in and create the ideal solution. You can combine your office work with cooking the dinner and not be so likely to burn it. The television blare away in the living room, entertaining the children, while you enjoy the comparative peace and quiet of your kitchen office. What could be better?

To save on bench space, think along the lines of hanging your computer monitor from the wall with a single-axis mount. This will enable you to turn it 180% if you need to. You could have a glide-out keyboard inserted under the breakfast bar or countertop; if you have extra space, use a drawer or two.

One place you should avoid installing your computer is near the stove. Don't forget you have to sit there and it will get very hot and steamy when you are cooking. A range hood will take the steam out, but not the heat.

Don't have cables running across your countertop; it will look untidy and pose a safety risk. Things often get spilled on kitchen counters, and you don't want your cables to join the mess. You can find many solutions -- from grommets to specialized covers for electric cords -- in your hardware store.

Be sure you have good lighting to prevent eyestrain. You can install lighting either on the wall or under a high cupboard. Desk lamps are not a preferred option for the same reason that cables should be kept off the counter. Besides, you may not have enough counter space. You only need to push the lamp out of your way in a hurry to knock it over and have smashed bulb glass amongst your cooking. Xenon lighting is a cooler option for a room that may be warmer than the rest of the house. A pedestal or wall fan may be an excellent addition to help you keep your cool.

You may have a large kitchen, in which resides one of those wonderful old farm kitchen tables. If so, you could utilize one end of it for your computer -- or consider using a smaller table so you have room for your computer desk. One good thing about kitchens is they usually have plenty of storage. To squeeze more in, fit a small set of drawers under the table. Or throw away some of your excess junk and make your kitchen more streamlined. Then you'll have plenty of space for your office accessories.

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