Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Office Space

I'm not referring to the laugh-out-loud movie here--you know, the one that has a bit of a cult following among the younger generation.  (The one that I've only seen in the cleaned-up version on TV, and might not have enjoyed quite as much in all its R-rated naughtiness had I seen it at the theater when it first came out.)
Well, that was fun (or possibly confusing, if you haven't seen "Office Space"--although most of the bloggers/blog readers I know of are members of the "younger generation" of which I spoke above).  But it wasn't my intention to do a movie review or anything remotely like that today.  I really just wanted to show you how I turned some wasted space behind the couch in our family room into a mini-office for my husband.

For many years, he toiled away at the massive piles of bills and paperwork he must constantly deal with in our finished basement, where we have an office area equipped with filing cabinets, two desks arranged in an L-shape, a desktop computer, a printer, and just about anything a person might need to stay on task.  We also had a classroom set up down there on one side of the basement for the five years that we homeschooled our youngest son, and a TV that our boys used mostly for playing video games.   But as the years went on, and we converted the attached two-car garage just a few steps away from our kitchen into a comfy man cave/sports room with a giant flat-screen TV, my husband started doing less and less of his paperwork down there.  Instead, he worked at a laptop either on the coffee table in front of the couch in the family room or on the oversized ottoman in front of the couch in the man cave (since he could multi-task from either of these stations, and watch TV while slogging through those piles of paper).  I was okay with this set-up for quite a while, but then I just got sick and tired of always having to move the piles whenever the surface of his makeshift "desk" was needed for some other activity.  Plus, he acquired a new, relatively portable Apple desktop computer that he was carting to and fro, which wasn't ideal.

What we needed, I thought, was a small office on the main floor of the house.  That way my husband could be where the action was while he worked, instead of holed up in the "dungeon" for hours on end.  But where in the world could we put one?

It suddenly occurred to me that although I love our cozy family room, there has always been a large empty space behind the couch, because we've always kept it pulled up closer to the TV-watching area of the room.  This space has come in handy for displaying our oversized Nativity set (on a folding eight-foot-long table) at Christmastime, but otherwise serves no real purpose.  Perhaps I could turn that wasted space into an office space?  (I'm not on Pinterest; but for those of you who are, things are about to get very Pinteresting.  Maybe.)

The first thing I did was angle the couch, so that there would be a little more room behind it (and this turned out to be a win-win, because not only did it create more office space, but it gave anyone sitting on the couch a better view of the TV.   (The couch has always been the least favorite place to park oneself in this room, when we're watching a game or a movie, although it has proven to be quite useful for napping.)
The next thing I did was take a trip over to Home Goods to see if I could find a narrow table that would be the right height to use as a desk back there, and I did--for less than $80.  It's got a bottom tier, too, which is a handy place to keep the printer.
Isn't this the cutest little office you ever did see?

We ended up making a second trip to Home Goods to find another little table to give my husband more storage/filing space, and we found the perfect piece, again for less than $80 (boy, if you need something for your home--be it furniture, rugs, dishes, knickknacks, or what-have-you--this place always seems to have the goods).  See it on the left?  Is it not adorable?  And it's got a slot on one side for an "in box" and a slot on the other for an "out box," to hold all the paperwork that's been dealt with and is ready to take down to the basement and file.
I love that this secret little office is out of the way, and that from this angle you can hardly tell what's happening behind that red leather sofa.  And now the coffee table is free to hold plates, cups, books, and whatnot.

The best part about the new office space, though, is that here's the view of the TV from the work area.

Okay, perhaps I'm a little too proud of our new miniature office.  I'm sure Pinterest has about a million better ideas to offer, but I just love what we've done here.

Is there anything more satisfying than figuring out how to turn a chunk of wasted square footage in your home into a useful space, and spending less than $200 to get to get it done?   It only took us about 22 years to figure out how to do that in this room!  But necessity is the mother of invention.  Or so I've heard.


  1. What a nice little office nook you made for your husband! Also, I totally love your red sofa. It's so vibrant and fun!

    1. I love my red couch! In fact, I seem to be drawn to red when it comes to home décor. My dining room walls are red, too!

  2. That is so cool, Mom! What a good idea. Where did Dad get the Mac?

    1. We did a massive computer update recently: Dad and I both got smaller laptops (11"screens, and they're PC's, but can be worked using a touch screen, too), and then Dad got the new desktop iMac (I think that's what it's called?). Then of course Dad's got his iPad, and the airline is about to issue him a free android something or other. He's quite the techno nerd these days. :)

  3. It's interesting how you can break down familiar structures into something lucrative. Such as an office, for example. Setting up the printer is among the most daunting, since it is fragile equipment that has major use - about 80% of office work, for example, is papers, especially when it is of a managerial vein. Don't take too much trouble figuring the set-up though. There are services that provide the best means of doing that.

    Dannie @ 1st Office

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