I’ve spent a lot of time lately brainstorming new ways to squeeze an extra desk or two into a home that doesn’t really have space for a full home office. After all, I’m far from the only person navigating remote work for the first time. Whether it’s just you plugging in your laptop or a good chunk of your family working from home, not having a private work space can be hard on both your work output and your family life. The good news is, I’ve stumbled on a solution that works surprisingly well. Instead of setting up a desk in one of the many common spots, consider turning your entryway into your own personal home office.
Really, A Home Office In The Entryway?
I realize that, at first glance, this suggestion probably sounds absolutely bonkers, but hear me out. Most front entrances, big or small, have enough space for a small table. It’s easy enough to swap an entry table out for a desk and pull a chair up to it. You’ll have as much surface space as you’d get anywhere else in your home, and with the right chair, you won’t be blocking movement in and out of your house, through halls, or up and down stairs. More importantly, unless your front entrance is an unusually hot spot for your family, you’re actually less likely to get disturbed while you’re working than if you have a desk in your living room, dining room, or bedroom.
A…Low Traffic Entrance?
Now, I’ll admit, “the front door” probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of “low traffic areas” in your home. And for some, it won’t be. But a combination of factors can make this a really great option for some. For one, if everyone in your household is stuck in the house all day, you won’t need to worry about even average once-or-twice-a-day in-and-out traffic. That goes double for entryways that are for guests rather than family. If your household mostly exits through a side door, garage entrance, or mudroom, your front door probably isn’t seeing much action right now at all. That means you can go on the clock without the fear of being interrupted by someone else needing to use the same space.
Entrances Are A Gateway, But Not A Hub
Something else you might not have considered is that while a front entrance of any size is, by definition, a gateway to the rest of your home, it’s not exactly a place that people linger. That means even if someone is coming TO your entryway, it’s probably only to get THROUGH it. Any interruptions should be minimal – unless your housemates are particularly chatty! More than that, even though entryways are connected to many parts of the house, they tend to be at least a little insulated from them. So if other people in your household are on opposing schedules, you’re at least a wall or hall away from ambient noise in your kitchen, living room, or dining room.
A Stopgap Home Office You Can Actually Live With
One big thing I’ve been trying to keep in mind while brainstorming temporary home office solutions is that we don’t really know how “temporary” it’s going to be. As of this writing, timelines for returning to offices and schools is still a big question mark, and are a possibility that could be reversed again at any time. For me, that means that while many of these options may fall short of a full-fledged home office, they shouldn’t be just a cheap and easy solution. A good “temporary” home office also needs to be both comfortable and functional long-term if necessary, and an investment that won’t be wasted if we all go back to work tomorrow.
Combine Functionality And Style
For me, swapping out your entry table with a nice desk might be the option that meets all these qualifications the best. Getting one nice-looking desk and a matching chair isn’t a massive investment. If you splurge a little, you can easily get a setup that’s comfortable to use regularly, but also has the style you’d expect for a front entrance. Don’t need it for work anymore? Now you have an entry table and a nice seat where guests can take their shoes off. Back at home for a day or a week? Clear off the mail, plug in your laptop, and you’re up and ready to go again.
A Final Touch Of Camouflage
Don’t love the idea of placing a desk in a prominent spot in your home? There are a few ways to prevent this setup from feeling like a haphazardly placed home office. Many decorative desks aren’t as far off from entry tables as you might think. You can encourage this impression by hanging a mirror above the desk and adding some kind of decoration, like a vase of flowers or a lamp. A desk with one or more large drawers will also make it easy to stow your laptop and any extra office supplies when they aren’t in use. Still not feeling the look? Consider an antique alternative: a desk with a built-in mail sorter (like a vintage secretary desk or phone desk) will feel right at home next to your front door, and works just as well with a laptop as a pad of paper!
With whole families stuck at home, coordinating office work and school work can feel a little like navigating a minefield. But just because you’re short on space doesn’t mean you can’t find a relatively quiet, private spot to work…even if that spot seems a little odd!