Do You Need Privacy for Client Visits?
There are many things to consider when planning a home office addition. You will need to figure out what type of storage, furniture and equipment you need, and if you plan to have clients visit, your new home office be located in a quiet area and should have an outside entrance for privacy.
Your home office should also have a bathroom or access to one that is close enough to be convenient for your clients. For the most privacy, have your contractor build your home office in an attachment located above your detached garage or build a divider or breezeway that must be accessed before anyone can reach your office.
Even if you don't plan to have external visitors, a quiet location is important to limit interruptions while you are working. A separate, designated home office can help you keep your home and family life separate from your workspace design. If that degree of privacy is not needed, you can have your office built closer to the rest of the house.
Will Your New Office Need to Serve Multiple Functions?
If you have limited available space, maximize the use of your home office space by having it designed so that it can be used for other purposes, in addition to a home office. For instance, your new home office can be configured so that it can also be used as an extra bedroom, a den, a study room, and more. Work with your designer or contractor to create a space with hidden compartments that can make it easier to hide components when they are not in use. So, if your home office will also be a bedroom, have the space for the bed designed so that it can be hidden when not needed. If you plan to sell your home in the near future, having a multipurpose home office can be an attractive feature to potential buyers.
Questions to Ask to Determine Your Seating, Wiring, Lighting and Storage Needs
To help you decide how you want your office configured, ask yourself some basic questions. Do you want a seating area for your clients? How much space will you need for your desk and office equipment? What type of amenities, such as a refrigerator or microwave, do you want to have available? What are your storage needs? Do you need shelving that can be used for displaying your personal photos, degrees, awards, or collectibles? Do you want your home office located near the rest of the house, or in a location that is as separate as possible?
Once you have nailed down the basics, you will need to consider wiring for your home office addition. Be prepared to need more wiring for this addition than in the other areas of your house. This is because you will likely have more electronic equipment in your home office. This equipment will probably include at least one computer, telephone, fax machine, and copy machine with scanning features. If you plan to have items such as a refrigerator, microwave, or coffee and tea maker, they need enough power to operate properly, so you will need at least one 20-amp circuit.
Lighting is also an important feature for your home office. If you want to use energy as efficiently as possible, your contractor may suggest ambient lighting for the entire office with built-in task lights installed in your work areas. This assures that the room is lit with low energy lights while allowing you to use the more intense lighting for smaller work areas. You may also want to supplement the built-in task lights with freestanding lighting that can be moved as needed.
Built-ins can be useful for storage space for your files, office supplies, books and more. They can also be used to display photos and to hold your plants, awards and other items you want to showcase. No matter what type of extra features you include, your home office should be comfortable enough for the primary users to be able to get their work done.