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How to home-office
Euro Desk System

We hereby declare that all high achievers should have some type of home office. It's not simply that you may need a space for office work or for home work, but that you need a place for dream work. As Goethe advised: "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin."

Give yourself the space to do the reading, writing, drawing, painting or planning you've always wanted to do and have been meaning to do. Sure, there are other ways to pursue those dreams—Andre Dubus III wrote his award-winning House of Sand and Fog in the front seat of his Toyota Tercel wagon. Yet with so many products now designed for a nontraditional office, there's no place like home.

How frequently you work at home and how much solitude you need will help determine the kind of space you require. You may want to have more than one work area, depending on the task.

A room of one's own
If you're lucky enough to have an extra room in your home, stake your claim to it. And it need not be a traditional room. With about six feet of wall space and room enough for an armchair, you should be able to outfit a comfortable office. That might be the size of a large closet that could be converted, or the space in an alcove off a bedroom that could be closed off. A retrofitted garden shed serves the writer Les Standiford well.

Stackable vertical file cabinet Furnishings
A desk, task chair, filing cabinet and bookshelf are the essentials, plus one more: a comfortable reading chair that forms the nucleus of a reading island. We'll all but guarantee that having this island retreat of contemplative space will help you be more productive.

Modularity
If you buy modular furniture, you'll be able to work around corners and windows and be ready for the extra storage space you'll likely need later on. File cabinets that stack, bookshelves that come apart and join together, and desk systems that multiply are all smart choices.

Lighting
As with any other room, have a variety of ambient light supplemented with task light. You'll need a strategically placed desk lamp and reading chair lamp adding to overall room lighting. Avoid overhead lights if you can and opt for torcheres instead—they're kinder on the eyes, and their indirect approach can lift your spirits.

The bedroom as boardroom
Often a guest bedroom doubles as an office. Other times the master bedroom is the home office. Designate one-and-one-half walls for your workspace and that should give you the room you need for a desk, a task chair, files and reference books.

The bedroom as boardroom
Often a guest bedroom doubles as an office. Other times the master bedroom is the home office. Designate one-and-one-half walls for your workspace and that should give you the room you need for a desk, a task chair, files and reference books.

No-Room-for-a-Table Table with Baskets Un-office office furniture
The challenge here is to have a functional work area that blends with the room's decor. Happily, high-quality office furniture these days can look more furniture than office. Many bookshelves have doors that emulate credenzas or hutch cabinets. File cabinets can pass for wood credenzas or wicker hampers. Task chairs can be richly upholstered, and an armoire can hide the computer clutter plus serve up a writing surface.


Double-duty furniture
Annex more space in creative, decorative ways. Choose a bench for the end of the bed that hides file drawers or other storage space. Put a reading chair in the room rather than a straight-back chair, then pair it with a table that also has hidden storage. Commandeer a drawer of the nightstands for extra supplies or a shelf for reference books.

A fast and organized retreat
If you're working in a guest bedroom, be ready to vacate with minimal disruption to your routine when guests arrive. Have a lap desk on call plus attractive baskets that can shuttle files and supplies to your temporary work area.

Kitchen corner office
For paying bills and reconciling checkbooks, a mobile workstation that you can park in a corner when not in use may be the ideal solution. The best ones will come equipped to handle a laptop and printer, a small task light, some files—and your cup of java.

A tip from our merchandising director, when buying furniture on casters: keep in mind the surfaces it will be traversing. Large, wide casters work best on carpets. For wood or tile floors, use casters with rubber padding. They'll not only protect your floors but act as shock absorbers during transport.

The room you didn't know you had
Here are two ways to create more room from a small space:

1. Help on wheels
When your furnishings can roll, you can get double or even triple duty from the same space.

Reader's Oasis Table 2. Handwriting sanctuary
A small table and chair, a stationery box and a lamp are all you need. Use this mini oasis, which could be in a bedroom, living room or hall, just for handwritten notes. Place a screen in front of it for added privacy. Then recharge your spirit as you compose joyful missives the old-fashioned way.

Find the right physical space for your work at home, and it can help you be in the best thinking space for accomplishing what you need to do—and dream of doing.