Do you need to set up a space to write and work from home? Here are the steps I took to create mine.
I’ve worked from home, at least part time, since 2003, so I am used to setting up a space where I can get my work done. When I moved in with my husband six years ago, I initially worked in the small room he had designated as an office. The size of the room was great. The lack of a door and a window was not, but I used it for over 4 years.
In 2019, I transitioned to working at the dining room table. I had much more room to spread out my papers, and large windows to look outside. I love that space. However, it is in the middle of the house, so there wasn’t the privacy I sometimes needed. We have a guest room and we don’t have many guests, so I thought of shifting my writing and working space there. The challenge was to make it work for me while still keeping it available for guests.
Finding the Right Space
When the coronavirus lockdown began, even my infrequent trips to write and work in the coffee shop and library were gone. I really needed to find a place I could retreat to, a place with plenty of natural light, room to spread out, and a door I could close when needed. I gave the guest room another look.
I considered several ways to arrange the room, but most involved moving heavy furniture. That meant if the space didn’t work out, we’d need to move the furniture again.
I got out my tape measure and realized if I moved the bed closer to the window, I could set up a desk on the other side next to the door. The bed would serve as a place to lay out my books and papers. It would be tight, but it looked like it would work. When guests come, it is easy to move the desk over and slide the bed further away from the window.
The First Attempt at a New Writing and Working Space
To give it a try without spending any money, I used furniture we had. And by furniture I mean TV trays and the office chair I had previously used. Here’s the video of my first setup in the new space.
I used this arrangement for several weeks. Overall the space worked great. I LOVED having a door! However, there were a couple of issues.
First, the arms on the chair wouldn’t let me roll in close enough, so I ended up hunching over to work. Not good! In fact, I began to develop a pain in my left leg that I think was from being positioned improperly for several hours each day.
The second issue was I couldn’t get close enough to the bed. The TV tray next to it was turned long ways to fit the space, and that pushed me further from the bed. So I was having to lean over to access my papers.
Second Attempt at a New Writing and Working Space
Changes needed to be made, and in this video I show what I did.
I replaced the rolling desk chair with a non-rolling one from our dining room table. Without the arms, it let me get much closer to the computer, so I could sit up better. However, it did not swivel, so to reach the things on the bed, I was still twisting and learning over.
I also found that I needed the laptop to be higher. I took a couple of plastic shoebox size containers and put the laptop on them. That position was much better.
More Changes to Make The Space Work
After working with this setup for a couple of weeks I realized the space worked for me. I had a better idea of what furniture I needed. I knew I wanted a chair that rolled and swiveled, and that did not have arms on it. I knew I wanted a desk that was adjustable, preferably one that would allow me to work standing up some of the time. Time to begin shopping.
The Final Setup of My New Writing and Working Space at Home
It took a lot of online searching, but I finally found the pieces I needed. Here’s the video of the final setup.
I have used this space with the new furniture for nearly a month and I am very pleased with it. If you want to set up a writing and working space in your home, these tips will help.
Tips for Setting Up Your Own Writing and Working Space at Home
- Find a space that you think will work. Imagine in your head what needs to be moved, and where. Take careful measurements and consider putting your plan(s) on paper to get a better idea of the space. Don’t stop with your first idea, though. Try to come up with several so you have a back-up in case one doesn’t work.
- Use what you already have to try out the space. A TV tray, an old computer desk, maybe an odd table you have around will fit in the space and let your see if it will work. It is better to take your time and make do with what you already have than spend money on furniture only to learn the space itself it not right. Maybe it is too cold or hot. Maybe it is noisier than you thought. This also give you time to clarify what furniture you need to work most effectively. A rolling chair or a stationary one? A standing desk or one with a tilting top?
- Once you know the space works for you, begin looking for furniture. MEASURE, MEASURE, MEASURE! Know how much space you have available and be sure anything you buy will fit in it. I struggled to find measurements when shopping online, but keep looking. You may need to do an internet search for the item to see if another retailer or the manufacturer has the specs listed. If you are shopping in person, take your tape measure and your notes on the size of the space you have available.
- Don’t rush if you can help it. Take your time to find the right space for you and then the right furniture to make it a space you look forward to going to each day.
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