Remake the closet into a comfy office

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

Now that winter break is over, I find myself reflecting on how much fun I had with family. We got to take the kids to Disney World for the very first time and see my in-laws’ new home.

As we reveled in the clever design throughout the new build, it got me thinking of our own house and how we could stretch our space to make it more comfortable.

I work mostly from home, and have turned a chair in our family room into a makeshift “office.” My mother-in-law showed me some photos of her friend’s house in which they converted a closet space into an office. We talked to her friend who had some specific tips to keep in mind should we decide to take the plunge in our own home:

Start by taking measurements

The width is important, but the depth and height are equally as essential. Your desk should fit comfortably inside the closet, with room so that you can shut the doors when needed. The depth of the closet should be at least 6 inches more than the depth of the desk, especially if you plan to add a chair. (Tip: Armless chairs can push in farther underneath the desk, giving you some extra wiggle room.)

If you want to put shelving above, make sure that the bottom shelf is high enough above the desk surface that it won’t hit a computer monitor or bulletin board. Plan for tall binders or books on the shelves as well. Make sure there is enough room above the shelving so that they can fit nicely.

Add electric

Ideally, this means having an electrician install some outlets. If an electrician is not in your budget, add an extension cord with a power strip.

Consider lighting

If you can, install a skylight for some natural light. If you have an electrician coming, have him or her put in overhead lighting with a switch. You can also add a desktop lamp.

Install a closet system

These systems include things like cabinetry, drawers and lift-gate storage, which you can easily apply to office organization rather than clothing. Use a tilt-out bin for a wastebasket, rather than a clothing hamper.

Replace doors with curtains, screens or nothing at all

Curtains or screens will allow you to hide your office away when not in use. Plus, removing the doors will give you some extra workspace inside. If you decide to leave it open, you can make your desk bigger and use a larger chair as well.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.