How to create a mini home office

Whether you work from home, manage a home, commute to your workspace, or combine all three, its difficult these days to get away without some sort of administration corner at home for keeping track of bills, records, accounts and storing all the associated paraphernalia.

Home Office with desk and shelving unit
ARTICLE Chris Martin

The notion of sacrificing living space or bedrooms to create a full-size dedicated office is still considered a luxury for many and we shunt it to the bottom of our wish list along with other costly extravagances. 
Enter the mini office, one of the fastest growing trends in home office design. With the right know-how, a mini home office can easily be accommodated in a hall cupboard, a spare wardrobe, or even in the corner of a lounge or dining room. 
What's required is a dedicated place to keep your laptop and printer with a desk and chair where you can perch comfortably to file the invoices, receipts and other household documents or information. The challenge is finding a readily accessible space close to all the action without having the living spaces invaded by computer screens, paper clutter and cables - ideally behind closed doors. Putting an office inside a wardrobe is the perfect solution; it's functional, cost-effective and space-efficient. 
To get started you will need a space that is at least 600mm deep as measured from the back wall to the outside of the finished cupboard. The width will vary depending on what you want to store in that space and how much room you have available.The example shown here is a space which is approximately 1.8 metres wide and 2.4 metres high (standard ceiling height).
To close off the mini office, a set of three sliding doors runs on a triple track so the doors can be stacked open to allow for wide access. For as much storage as possible, extend your doors to ceiling height. The doors can be made from a variety of different coloured finishes to suit your decor - melamine, lacquered glass, woodgrain, and painted finishes are popular options. 
The interior of this space has been designed with an area for a computer (either a desktop or laptop), a printer, and adjustable shelving to accommodate different sizes of box files and books. The desk only needs to be 400mm deep as there is an additional shelf directly under the desktop that rolls out on ball bearing slides to accommodate either a laptop or the keyboard and mouse for a desktop computer (the screen can sit up on the desk, and the computer CPU box can be accommodated underneath).
An illustration by Gareth Poley showing the plans for a home office
This mini office can be retrofitted against a wall or in the wardrobe of an existing room, or if you are doing a total renovation a proper alcove can be built to your ideal specifications. The example here is assembled in the corner of an existing room. Measure your ceiling height, then create the space by fitting a ceiling height by 600mm deep, 18mm thick, melamine panel at either end of the proposed cupboard. If one end is the corner of the room then only one panel is required. The panel (or panels) will form the end of the cupboard for the sliding doors to close against.
The diagram shows one ceiling height panel at the right hand end supported by a tower of 600mm wide shelves, and a jamb fixed to the wall at the left hand end with three sliding doors. A 1200mm long desktop has a slideout keyboard shelf beneath and two storage shelves above. 
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This article by Chris Martin featured in Issue 001 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page.


You might be interested in reading: Create a space to work at home.

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