Do you love your home office? If you don't, do you know why your home office design isn't working for you? There's a story behind these questions which prompted my research on this topic. I know how important it is to love the space where you spend most of your time (love my space below).
My goal is to help you create the best home office possible in your home … one that fits your home and personality.
This story started when I moved my 87 year old mother from New York City to a one bedroom apartment in Portland, Maine. We finally convinced her that living 15 minutes from my sister would make life easier for everyone. My sister was close by so she could visit weekly, take my mother grocery shopping and doctor visits plus she'd now be able to participate in all family holiday celebrations.
My mother lived in her New York City apartment for more than 20 years. We realized if we didn't move all her furniture, we could handle the move ourselves. This also meant she'd start her new life in Maine with some bright new bookcases, table and chairs, lamps and a new white bedroom set. She was thrilled and decided she wanted everything new to be white.
At the same time we knew it was important to bring a few favorite pieces of furniture. My mother spends a lot of time sitting in her red lounger. She also thought her desk was in good condition and worth moving. Unfortunately the desk was removed by a neighbor when they picked up some other furniture.
Home Office Design Should Start with Your Desk
Wondering where to put the desk got me thinking about this topic. My mother's old desk faced a wall. It's no wonder that when I packed up her apartment, the only thing on her desk was her laptop which she seldom uses. All of her paperwork was on a table and nearby window sill looking out a large picture window … her view! It was pretty clear that a view was important to my mother.
You might think we're more productive facing a wall with fewer distractions. It appears that we will avoid (procrastinate?) sitting down to a desk that reduces our view to something like a prison cell. Now that I have to decide where to put a desk in my mother's new apartment, I realized I'd never considered the choices.
Once I discovered this article Feng Shui Home Office, I knew I'd found the magic formula plus a few modifications. You'll want to read the full article for home office do's and don'ts. My focus here is on the best location for your home office desk. Feng shui says “… the ideal feng shui desk placement is in the command position, also known as the power position. This means that while seated at your desk you can see the door and the incoming stream of people and energy.”
This makes a lot of sense as you're going to hear noises and rather than turning around, you only have to look up. Of course I tweaked this recommendation to say your desk should face the door AND a window whenever possible. And sometimes you'll have to make trade-offs like this tiny 8 by 8 ft home office I found in a new home yesterday. It felt like this home office was hidden for privacy as the house was more than 5,000 sq ft.
- Desk placed diagonally, so it faces two windows with great views.
- Oversized (comfortable) chair shares space used when opening/closing the door into the office.
A Home Office Desk Shouldn't Face a Wall
While I haven't studied Feng Shui extensively, the advice shared was so logical that it was easy to accept their recommendations. As I thought back through my last few home offices, I also realized that instinctively I have been positioning my home office desk correctly.
Just like the tiny home office challenge above, there are exceptions for things like a dual home office. This home office design seems perfect for sharing extra work space between two people, even if it requires the desks to face the wall.
This research also makes me appreciate so much more how home offices tucked into nooks like a closet or under the stairs are incredibly effective even when the desk faces a wall. So yes, there are great designs which work well when you've got the space. And there are more creative home office solutions when you don't have the space.
What's Your Biggest Home Office Design Challenge?
Once you've decided where and how to position your home office desk, you should confirm that your chair has enough room to let you sit up and get up comfortably … with extra floor space for a rolling chair. The other big challenges include:
- How big a desk top do you want? and how much storage you need in your desk.
- How many computer monitors you need? and how you'll support them on your desk. Monitors can sit on top of your desk, attach to your desk (mine is so I can raise my desk and work standing up) or … attach to the wall.
- How much storage you need to reach from your desk? plus extra storage in the room.
- What kind of lighting you want when there isn't enough natural light.
PS We've got some other important articles on home offices:
- How to Calculate Your Home Office Deduction
- Home Office Organization Sheds Pounds
- What's in Your Home Office?
- Home Office Remodel or Home Office Furniture?
I always appreciate for good ideas like you, these ideas are great and helpful.
My home office design is very modern but I am rethinking it to make it more cozy. I spend a lot of time there so I want it comfortable.
Sorry if this is a dup as I had to restore my website this morning …
Functional & comfortable are equally important as you want to be at your best when working at home. Good luck & love to see photos of your office …
I agree you should love your home office. I have my desk by the window. I love all the light that comes into the office. It motivates me and the views inspire me. Also, I love the color that I picked for the walls.
I love having a desk by a window. I think it’s very relaxing to be able to look outside and see nature and what not. I do agree that the positioning of the desk really pulls the whole office space together!
My issue is less about where in the room my desk is but more where under the piles is my desk. Gorgeous desk – never get to use it though.
You made me laugh … thanks!
I love idea of home office! I get work done very efficient and less distracted. I dreamed about having good home office before I quit job and now here I have with great view and mobile home office. I do agree with you where you locate desk is Very important to me. For me, I like placing desk diagonally.
Soon Joo, Now that I’ve read your about page … I’m curious about how where you put a home office inside a mobile home?
When I used to sit in my office my desk usually faced the open area of the room. So this would be the door to our kitchen or one of the windows. I now sit in my living room as it is normally more comfortable for my back oddly. I love the ideas you gave in this post and will be rethinking our one area that has 2 computer desks.
I need to create an actual office space for myself.. I feel like I would be so much more productive than just pulling my laptop out wherever. I will definitely keep the Feng Shui tip in mind!
Absolutely as I hate having to pull out & put away my laptop … and I love having a 2nd monitor in my home office.
I am one of those people who are constantly rearranging their living spaces. I get bored with the same ole same ole easily and feel like I obsess over changing it up until I do… But a quick mix up of furniture and space always makes me feel accomplished and ready to work again!
Kelli, I get that as my husband used to rearrange the living room every year when we set up the Christmas tree. Now we have a wooden cactus tree which doesn’t take up much room, so he’s not changed anything the last 2 years.
My home office is not even really an office! It is a desk in the corner LOL! I need to make myself some space just for my office! These are some great ideas!
Yes Jeanette, If you’re spending much time in your home office … find some extra space quickly. You deserve it.
My home office is a mess. I just work in the living room as comfier.
Tara, Sometimes I think we allow the mess to happen, to avoid things we really don’t want to do. My approach when there’s too little time is to pick “my space” and make sure I keep it under control so I’ve got a safe haven at home.
Ha! my husband and I legit just redid his office… TOTALLY NOT Feng shui APPROVED lol!!! Whoops! I guess we are going to have to go back to the drawing board.
I am getting a new desk for my home office. The one I have right now is to big for the space. I will have to think about the best spot to put it in the room.
Claudia, You’re heading in the right direction as the smaller desk will give you a lot more flexibility in picking your floor plan. Good luck