Designing a Brilliant Home Office in Awkward Spaces

For a no-fuss home office from which you can pay household bills, catch up on paperwork over the weekend, or supervise children’s homework, a seemingly awkward space can fulfill your needs. An unused space can turn out to be a surprisingly functional work area and with a little ingenuity.

Under the stairs

If you open up your under-stair space, which is often boxed in and not used at all, you can create a practical workstation. You will need to take the slope of the stairs into account, planning storage where the pitch is low and positioning the desk where you can sit comfortably without crouching. Make sure that the lights in the room do not shine onto your computer screen causing reflections that are tiring to the eyes.

Basement Rooms

Rooms below ground level are more prone to damp and poor lighting, so it is important that space is properly ventilated and well-lit before you use it as a home office. Also, check that steps down into the basement area are in good repair.

Other spaces

Loft spaces can be awkward but, if well-planned, they make a good out-of-the-way workplace. In most lofts, you will have to take into account a pitched roof. Use the A-frame shape of the roof to build a row of shelves along the end wall, reducing the shelf lengths toward the apex.
A little-used household cupboard can also hold a workstation. You might find it more convenient to remove the door to create an alcove in the room and to make the work area less claustrophobic.

Key Design Points to Consider for Awkward Spaces

• Planning: awkward spaces are often forgotten because they are drafty, cold, and badly lit. The moment you make them dry, warm, and welcoming, they will become desirable spaces.

• Lighting: this is one of the most important aspects of an awkward space. Improve general lighting, if necessary, and make sure that the desk lighting is not only efficient but also attractive. Angled lighting is probably the most effective, but a table light on a rigid base is satisfactory.

• Furniture: choose chairs without arm rests that will tuck under the desk in a small awkward space, and whose style will suit the area you have chosen to work in. Well-designed office chairs in a variety of shapes and sizes are available to suit most room styles.