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Building a Home Office: 5 Key Considerations

If you’re like many folks, chances are you’re working from home a lot more these days. And with companies transitioning to remote work models more permanently, having a dedicated home office space can be critical. Here are 5 key considerations to keep in mind if you’re thinking about building a home office.

For many, working from home may mean using a spare bedroom or part of the family room as a sort of home office stand-in. But with remote working becoming more the norm than the exception, a separate workspace is becoming more of a necessity.

Whether you’re looking to remodel a current space in your home or considering an addition for your home office, here are some key things to keep in mind before you get started.

1. Building Out

If you don’t currently have suitable space for a home office, an addition may make the most sense. But should you build out, up, or down?

If you’re considering building out from your existing home, the first things you’ll want to think about are the lot lines and the setbacks. Do you have enough space on your lot minus the setback to fit the office?

You also want to think about how the roofline will connect to your existing home, as well as the actual entry connection. In other words, does the space you’ve picked out for your office flow well with the rest of your home’s layout?

2. Building Up

building a home office: addition

If you have an attic already, doing a dormer addition could be the perfect solution, giving you just enough space for a home office. If you go this route, you’ll want to keep the floor loads in mind. Your existing home likely wasn’t built with this added space in mind, so you want to make sure that is addressed in the planning process.

You also want to consider the exterior aesthetic. What will the end result look like depending on where you place your dormer? Ideally, when it’s done you want it to look like the addition was part of the original design of the house, not something tacked on at a later date.

3. Building Down

If you have an unfinished basement, that may be the ideal space for your home office. If so, there are a few things to take note of. The first is ceiling height.

In Portland, where Lamont Bros. is located, the ceiling height needs to be at least 6′ 8″. Outside the city, the minimum height is generally 7′. If your basement doesn’t have enough head room, you may need to consider digging down and excavating part of the space in order to reach the required height.

building a home office: basement

Next you want to consider the access to your basement home office. You don’t want to feel like you’re descending into a dungeon every time you need to go to work, so think about the staircase leading down. Is it in a good spot for where you want your office? Is it broad enough and well-lit? Essentially, will it feel like a natural transition from the rest of your home?

Along with a well-lit staircase, you want the rest of your basement to have plenty of light as well. This is especially true when working. Plan for lots of natural light by considering wider than usual window wells. Rather than a standard 39″ egress window well, going with something like a 5-foot window well with a pair of large windows can really help draw light in and brighten up the space.

building a home office: basement windows

4. Interior space

Another option for your home is converting existing interior space. Do you have an underutilized room or area in your home that could be remodeled and turned into your dedicated working space? One that’s often overlooked is the formal dining room.

In a lot of homes, the formal dining room is already sectioned off, and it’s likely near the front of house. If that’s the case in yours, converting it into a home office can make sense, as chances are it will already provide some privacy, plenty of natural light, and as a bonus, you’ll be closer to the front door if any work-related packages are delivered.

Another common room that’s often repurposed as an office is a spare bedroom. This can be a relatively easy conversion. Maybe it just involves erecting a wall with a glass door or french doors, adding some office furniture and lighting, and doing some electrical work. Just those updates could result in the ideal home office for you.

5. Focus on the design

Now that you’ve thought about the location of your home office, you’ll want to spend some time going over how you want it to function and what you want it to look like.

Size

One area that’s important is size. How big of an office will you need? Do you require a lot of work surface areas and multiple monitors? Is it just for you or will you be sharing it with a spouse or partner? Do you need a sit-stand desk? You’ll want to plan all of this out beforehand.

Noise reduction

building a home office: noise reduction

Another item to consider is sound isolation. Especially if you’ve got young kids at home and will be on a lot of conference calls, you’l likely want to keep external noise to a minimum while you’re working. There are several options — from double-stud walls with an air gap to additional layers of drywall and others in between — depending on your budget. This really comes down to how much privacy you’ll need.

Are you thinking about adding a home office? We’re happy to discuss your project. Simply schedule a conversation with us!

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