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Working from home is the new normal for many people across the nation, but how do you create a home office while still maintaining the freedom that comes with the ever-popular open concept? Here, industry experts offer up tips and tricks for optimizing spaces for both on-the-clock and off-the-clock activities.

Magnolia Developments, LLC Marcus JonesMagnolia Developments, LLC | Marcus Jones

There is an old statement that says “good fences make for good neighbors.” The premise behind that statement is that a little separation and privacy help keep the peace, and that has never been more true than in the post-Covid age where more people are working from home. Typically some of the first rooms to go when people are looking to downsize are the formal living or dining rooms, but those are some prime spaces that could be used for a home office. Another way to add workspace separation without interrupting the open concept or drastically increasing a home’s size is to repurpose primary closets to provide a dual function as a closet and homework location. Clients have raved about how well this dual-purpose space works for their home-life balance.


Waldrep Construction, LLC Larry WaldrepWaldrep Construction, LLC | Larry Waldrep

It is important to have a separate workspace that is efficient and allows privacy but doesn’t take away from living spaces. A pocket office is a great idea and is a smaller space that gives proper room for work but does not have unnecessary wasted space. Natural light in the form of windows always lifts the spirits while working. A glass entry door to dress up the space is a nice touch, but it also motivates you to keep the space decluttered since it is visible from the outside. A clean, decluttered workspace is an efficient workspace. Most importantly, make sure there is clean separation between the space you work in and the spaces you live in. When it’s time to shut work down and take care of yourself and your loved ones, you can put work out of sight and out of mind!

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KP Interiors Kathie PenlandKP Interiors | Kathie Penland

Try not to settle on one specific place to work from. If you have the ability, mix it up! Open concepts are great because typically there are several areas to work that you could turn into a workspace for the day. Enjoy sitting at the kitchen island one day and then your favorite chair or spot on the sofa the next. This will keep you from associating one spot as a designated work area and instead allows you to enjoy your home and stay comfortable while still being productive!


Caughman + Caughman Architects Jay CaughmanCaughman + Caughman Architects | Jay Caughman

Creating flexible spaces is much easier with new construction, and one of the first things I typically do is group spaces by whether they are public or private. The first step in making an office space that works for you is to decide where you want your office to fall on that continuum. Do you want complete privacy and to be able to focus and immerse yourself in your work? Then placing your office deep into the private zone will probably work best. By contrast, if access to family and shared resources is more important, designing a space in an off-shoot or alcove of a public area is best. You can also create a more transitional workspace by placing it on the periphery of either a public or private zone. It all starts with deciding where an office space should be placed based on how it is used.


Dexter W. White Construction | Dexter White

Dexter W. White Construction | Dexter White

When it comes to creating a home office that allows for focus time but is still near to the hustle and bustle of family life, location makes a huge difference. Try placing a small office on the main floor near your home’s entryway. This way you are not far from the main living spaces, but there is often enough separation to provide an extra layer of quiet. This is also great for people who have a home office where clients come in for in-person meetings. Answering the door or running to the kitchen for a glass of water or cup of coffee is easy, but at the same time, your guests are not being asked to traverse through more intimate spaces of your personal home.

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