Making Your Home Office Work For You

on September 5, 2016

Finding enough home storage can be challenging, and it’s even tougher to find adequate, easily accessible storage for a small home office. Storage solutions for your home office don’t typically include renting a mini-storage unit that you would have to interrupt your work to drive to. On that note, the garage — if you have one — seems to be where stuff goes to get lost or damaged.

Choosing the right bookcase or shelf unit can help you maximize storage space while enhancing functionality. Choose wisely and maintain the style of your home office while efficiently using the limited floor space. You could hire an interior decorator to custom-design the perfect match of aesthetics and function, but that can be expensive. Great storage solutions can be configured from inexpensive shelf units and bookcases in sizes that allow you to effectively utilize limited space.

Size Matters

Like many people with a home office, your office space is likely limited because you don’t want to convert your entire home into a corporate suite. A tall bookcase or shelving unit is a great way to utilize vertical space efficiently. Like a skyscraper in a big city where land costs a zillion dollars per square foot, the idea is to build upwards. Some shelving units have adjustable shelves, further aiding the quest for vertical space.

Got windows? Natural light can greatly enhance the look and feel of a home office, while improving productivity and well-being.1 You probably don’t want to hide a window behind a tall shelf unit so switch to short shelf units to maximize the space underneath the window.

Shelf unit widths vary greatly as well. Choose a width that best matches an available spot, or consider an expandable unit that allows you to vary its size or slide it neatly into a corner. Deeper shelves allow you to store larger items without unsightly protrusions to snag your elbows on, while you can easily move wheeled units out of the way when needed. This works so well you might want to spread out for an afternoon nap.
How You Use It Matters

Bookcases are either open or closed. Closed bookcases have a back and sides, while open bookcases typically lack these, making them great for larger items and for electronic gizmos with cables that dangle from the back. Some open bookcases include cable-hiding features. Do you have other items that you don’t want in open sight, but need easy access to? Consider a unit with cabinets or drawers.

Many people use open bookcases to display or show off items such as mementos, family pictures and glassware collections, but they also provide versatility in the office, allowing you to eliminate printer stands, for example. Closed bookcases are often used for more practical items, such as books. If you need to store a large number of books or other heavy items, keep in mind that not all shelves are created equal. Some shelves support about 25 pounds, while others can support 200 pounds or more.

Looks Matter

Think outside the box shelf. Bookcases are available in tons of styles, including ladder shelves and shelf units with stylishly curved frames.

Already have some office furniture? Make sure to match your bookcases and shelf units to the existing metal or wood office furniture that you have in the home. Most retail stores have a variety of finishes and colors to match your current home office decor. Wood adds elegance to a room, while metal has a more contemporary feel. Some products include glass, which can add a modern or industrial flair. Be conscious of whether or not you want a dark finish to pop in a bright, white room or lighter furniture to lighten the darker tones of your room.

Balancing limited space with the need to store all the things you need easy access to can be challenging. Why end up with a hodge-podge home office that runs out of storage space quickly? Design your home office storage to match the style and function of your office furniture.