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No home office? No problem. We’ve got solutions of all sizes

Architect, JP Ward and designer, Keira St. Claire, of Anthony Wilder, weigh in on four ways you can create a home office—from basement to attic and everywhere in between.

Many of us have spent years working from home occasionally, but what happens when we have to work from home all the time? First things first, you need a good, dedicated home office. You can renovate existing space, or look to quick fixes. If you need an office solution now, we’ve got you covered.

JP: We recently renovated our kitchen and dining room to make a kitchen/dining room/home office, and that’s where my wife (interior designer, Kelly Ward, ASID, also of Anthony Wilder) is working now. We put a desk behind built-ins with sliding barn doors on either side. It’s a wonderful, adaptable space. Then my three kids and I are all sequestered in different parts of the house.

KEIRA: I have a three-year-old so I set up in our guest bedroom to have a little privacy. I learned fast that I need to have the things I need nearby, so I moved the coffee machine in there. I’m a single mom—my mother is helping with my daughter—and I’ve found that being in a separate room helps me maintain a schedule.

Stay a while: Convert a guestroom into a home office, for good

If, like Keira, a guest bedroom is your best bet for an office, there are ways to give the room staying power.

“We have a daybed in ours, and there are now really high-quality sofa beds—American Leather makes a great one—which add to the home office feel,” says Keira. Another option is a murphy bed. “You can have storage around the pullout section, or even a desk when the bed is closed. Flexible furniture creates flexible spaces.”

Going underground: Turn a basement into a bright home office

In the basement, lighting is key. An indirect ambient light with a dimmer will give a warm glow. Especially for overhead lights, stay away from anything higher than 3000 Kelvins or you’ll have that “office lighting” feel. Somewhere between 2700 and 3000 Kelvins is ideal.

Another lighting solution: If you need to partition off a space in your basement, try a backlit shoji screen. It will add warm light, delineate spaces and block visual distractions.

Moving on up: Attics help you get away from it all

Finished attics make fantastic convertible spaces. If you add a skylight, it will add both natural light and value to the house. Set up a desk and make it permanent, or reconvert the space to a kids’ hangout. Attics or carved out spaces have a clubhouse feel that kids love.

A working lunch: Set up an office in your kitchen

A central hub of the house, like the kitchen, is an ideal place to either install a desk or hide one away like JP did. “Behind the doors we have a desk, shelves for storage and pinboards on the wall. Usually the desk is exposed, but for holiday dinners, the doors close and show off  decorative shelving. No one knows that it’s a home office,” says JP.

Architect, JP Ward, AIA, and his wife, interior designer, Kelly Ward, ASID renovated their kitchen and included built-ins that convert from dining room to home office.

Quick tips from JP and Keira

  1. All senses are important in design. Think texture and lighting to make a big impact.
  2. Turn to flexible furniture, like coffee tables where a portion pops up to desk height.
  3. Hide clutter like cords by installing outlets in cabinets.
  4. Crowded house? Soft materials absorb noise. Hang a decorative rug on the wall to really quiet things down.