My home office is in the exact same room as our mudroom. Because our house was built in the 1950’s. And it is a split-level, meaning we have a lot of half-levels in our home. And because of that, my office was supposed to be our family room. But let’s just say that I wasn’t accepting that at all! We decided to put in cubbies in what was considered the family room because it is right off the garage. But just having cubbies would have been a waste of space. So we ended up creating an office in a small space of the room formerly known as the family room.
I shared a post a few years ago about small office design, but wanted to do a check-in to show you how it has held up. Because it is always fun to see if the spaces have stayed the same or changed over the years. What actually looks good in pictures may not always be what the actual space is today.
How Is The Room Used Now?
This past year has been crazy. So we have found that this room is one of the most used rooms of the house.
For starters, it is acting as our homeschool set up. Each kiddo can do their work next to me while I do my work on the computer. I love being able to have all of us work together in the same location. That way I have easier access to them without feeling like I am getting up and running to help them while they are working.
The mudroom is still on the other side of the desk set up. Since we just did a long desk on one side, the other still has the cubbies and the door. The cubbies are still working as intended. They hold all the bags, jackets, shoes, masks, and everything in between.
But one thing that did change. And that was the swapping of some desks and craft supplies. Ben moved his office from the basement to what is now called “the office”. All of my craft supplies are now in the basement where Ben’s office use to be. All the craft supplies are still stored in two of the Elfa drawers while the other drawer is holding board games in the basement. I also have shelving in the basement that is holding craft items as well. Which has helped because I realized I have a lot of craft supplies.
What Is Working?
Honestly I have to say that I am so glad I went with the long desk for our office in small space. The design helped me really get the space perfect since it is small but long. Having the giant desk has been the best thing to keeping everyone on track this school year.
And the drawers in the filing cabinets have been helpful as well. Each child can have their own drawers and I get the two middle drawers. This way everyone feels like the desk is theirs. We don’t have desks in the kids’ bedrooms because we didn’t have space. But I have to say that I am glad they have a desk area that is near me after this year. I really enjoyed them being around me while I worked most days.
In each of the drawers I have drawer organizers along with drawer liners. The drawer liners are in the bottom of the drawers so the dividers don’t move around in the drawer. You can use other tricks like adding 3M adhesive to the bottom of the organizers or using glue dots to hold things in place. But when you have a bunch of drawer organizers in a drawer, I have found using drawer liners is the easiest trick in the book. This has been a huge help! Mostly because when one of the kids’ opens a drawer, things don’t bang around. Everything stays put.
What Didn’t Work?
When I first did my small office design, I wanted to use the space for my business like have one of the desks be used for my vinyl cutting machine. Another desk would be for my paperwork and scanning documents. Then I had my computer station.
Since the kids have been home and we have had to rearrange this plan, the idea of keeping everything separate and spread out didn’t work at all. Instead what I found was that I wasted a lot of space on the desks. I kept things that I didn’t need to hold onto because I had the space.
Once I had to “downsize” my stuff so that the kids could have space in the desk, I realized that I didn’t need as much as I thought I did. Which was actually a really nice thing to find out. Because I tell my in-home clients and followers on social media, and here on the blog why you should declutter your stuff, so why didn’t I follow my own advice?
I think it was because I had the space so I decided to fill the space. But that isn’t a good reason just to keep things.
How Can You Recreate An Office In Small Spaces?
To recreate my adorable small but long office, you will need filing cabinets and melamine desk tops. I got them all from The Container Store. Each desk top goes on half of the filing cabinet. I used 3M stickies to adhere the desk top to the filing cabinet. The middle workstation is the largest. You can also get posts to hold up the desk top as it is just sitting on top of the filing cabinets. Since ours is against the wall, it is secure but you may want to ensure it doesn’t topple over if using with kids.
The acrylic boards were custom made by us! It wasn’t that difficult. I have a full tutorial along with printable labels to use for the boards that you can get here.
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