Help us lay out our home office

We are having a home office built in our back garden, as a stand-alone unit. It’ll have a double sofa bed in there and will need to function as:

  1. An office for Person 1 to work from home 5 days a week. Self-employed. Windows laptop, no need for a larger display, but may want one in the future. Basically needs power and internet, a desk and a chair.

  2. A space for Person 1 to run an Etsy crafting business.

  3. A spare bedroom for guests (sofa bed).

  4. An office for Person 2 (yep, that’s me) to work from home 2 days a week (employed) - at the same time as Person 1 - and many evenings/weekends doing freelance work, general productivity stuff, blogging, video editing, photo organisation, writing… that sort of stuff. I’m a MacBook Pro user currently but looking at the Mac Studio. I have a large wall mounted display which I’m not looking to change. I also use a Windows 10 laptop for the day job. I connect both my machines to my display via USB-C.

The designer has just shoved a double desk in the middle and the sofa at the end on the mock-ups. I personally think the sofa should turn 90 degrees and be against that left wall, so it opens out into the room.

My display will need to be wall-mounted so I’m thinking that should go on the far right wall and I’d be facing towards the right of the drawing.

I’m just not sure where my wife’s desk would go, nor her crafting area.

I hate visible cables.

What does everyone think?



Have you considered getting/purchasing layout software and designing the basic footprint on your own?

In the meantime, consider also an approach to make the design more “physically real” to you. Pick an appropriately-sized flat region somewhere, for example in a nearby field. Take a bunch of marker flags and reasonably sized empty moving boxes. Layout the physical design in the field. Mark the boundaries with the flags. Place the boxes at locations where furniture should sit. Practice doing a “walk-thru” on the variations.


JJW

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+1 @DrJJWMac’s recommendation to lay this out in your yard, preferably where the studio will go. You can also use software like Keynote or Omnigraffle to play around with layout.

As someone who’s shared a 300 sq ft. home w/another virtual worker (my wife) for the last two and a half years, Zoom calls are the hardest problem to solve. Mutual ones are the worst and we’ve basically found we have to juggle our schedules and/or find other places to be. When only one of us is on a call, it’s still tough being distracted by that and/or limited by what you can do while one of you is on a call and the other is not.

I’m also wondering where Person 1’s crafting supplies are going to go.

It may be nice to have a divider and separate entrance for the guest bedroom if you imagine having houseguests while you also need to work.

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I like the idea of two separate rooms, one a bedroom with maybe a Murphy bed, and the other the Etsy business. That gives separate spaces when needed for privacy or isolation.

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I agree. But if the “bed” will always be a “couch” during work hours, the privacy concern could vanish.

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It will be better if dimensions are provided.

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I’d vote person 2 in the small panhandle, couch in the center, and person 1 using most of the right hand side with a couple of big tables and a standing desk

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Great idea, thanks! I’m awaiting accurate dimensions from the construction company, and then I think this would be a grand plan. We have some flat grassed land behind our house that we could use for this. At the moment we can’t mark it out in the exact space, as there’s a large outbuilding in its place.

I’ll also look at software for this sort of thing. What do you recommend, if anything?

Yeah, it’ll always be a couch. We don’t have house guests very often and there wouldn’t be people sleeping in there if we were working.

I’ve heard of Omnigraffle and wanted an excuse to try it out… now may be the time! Great idea, thank you.

We don’t plan to have house guests during working hours. However if do, we will use the studio space to sleep and give our guests our room.

I share an office at my day job with 4 other people and we’ve sometimes all been on a different Teams call at the same time so I’m used to that! Sharing with just my wife would be blissful!

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LOVE this idea, thank you. I really appreciate you sketching this out for me. Not got accurate measurements back yet - we won’t get full technical drawings until we’ve laid down a deposit - however, it’s around 7 metres across, and the little nook at the end is 2 metres front to back. The rest of the space is 3 metres front to back.

It might be worth taking a look at this book, there are some neat space use ideas in it.
Or even youtube channels like Never too small.

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Everything else everybody has said is excellent advice, and I’d take it. However, I just wanted to add my own two cents:

I think the spot where the sofa is now is a great crafting area. You could wall-mount the storage and put the desk in front of it.

You should also consider getting a couple Home Depot sit/stand workbenches with hand cranks. They aren’t too big, which is nice, and they come with casters, which would be really helpful for moving things around in the office as you need to re-orient the move.

The reason I mention it is because you might want the desk in the nook while somebody is crafting. But when the other is on a Zoom call, or when the crafty person is working, you may want the desk in a different orientation without anybody else in the background.

Having desks on wheels prevents you from being too married to a layout.

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Thanks so much everyone for the amazing advice! We’ve actually gone with the layout @gtoe drew out for us, pretty much! The guy who is installing the office asked who drew it and I said “someone I don’t know on the internet, who is part of this really amazing community I love” and I think he was lost. :laughing:

Since then I’ve got the accurate dimensions and downloaded an iOS app called MagicPlan, which is amazing and very easy to use. It gives you two free layouts - and since I only need one, that’s perfect. It’s allowed me to fairly accurately draw out the room, including our existing furniture (sofa bed) that is moving into the room, and the sit-stand desks we’ve chosen from IKEA.

I’ve wanted a sit-stand desk for a long time, and my wife was never convinced. We tried them out in IKEA and she fell in love! So we’re getting matching desks, which pleases me from an aesthetic point of view. :grin:

She’s decided on a trolley/cart on wheels for her crafting area, along with a work bench in the garage for messy projects like painting and varnishing (the work bench will be “new” as it’ll be my old desk!) and her main desk for things like cutting vinyl. She doesn’t have a big computer setup - just a laptop and no external display - so her desk will be quite empty. We’ve gone for the largest sit-stand desks as we have the space.

My desk will have an external display and I’ve decided to go for a shelf rather than wall-mounting, to keep the layout flexible. I’ll also have two laptops (big heavy Alienware for the day job, and MacBook Pro for freelance and personal use) as well as a StreamDeck, external keyboard and mouse, all that jazz. So I’ll appreciate the extra desk space. I’m looking to upgrade to a Mac Studio when finances allow.

I’m excited. Thanks so much everyone. I’ll be sure to update this with progress once the build starts!

The doors actually fold right back to open up the entire front area (not the pan handle bit, I mean the bottom of the pan, for want of a better analogy) but the app didn’t have that option. :laughing: there are also 3 more windows to be added but I haven’t added those into the plan yet as not sure of dimensions.

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