Beautiful Work Places In a Small Space

teacakecottage71October 2, 2011

One of the biggest challenges that I have had with my small space is finding a place for homework, hobbies, and work. My family of five lives in a 3 bedroom home with a Great Room. While the size of the Great Room is great for entertaining, I personally have found it to be a challenge to decorate it beautifully for day to day living. I often think that it would be so much easier to have several teeny tiny rooms that can be decorated and used exclusively for one purpose - but that is not the house that I live in and I have no plans to move or modify my home right now. Have you successfully integrated a hobby, homework, or office space into your "great room" that is not only functional but also beautiful? Please share!

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I've seen some very pretty armoires that can provide wonderful storage. Some even have pull out shelves for a computer and keyboard. Maybe something like that would work?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 11:26PM
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One house we had had living room dining room kitchen all in one big space. I needed an office and as you can see in the first picture #65, I really used this office. I was mapping the cemeteries we were sextons at and it was a 6 year project.

The beauty of this space is I could easily turn around and use the dinning room table for lay out of the big maps or it could have been used for sewing if that is what you do. I am not so sure this was a beautiful space but it incorporated function and comfort and it really did not look all that bad. Later I bought a better for me at the time desk. Now we use laptops and I use the desk I had as a sewing table.

Click through pictures 65 66 and 67 to get an idea of the whole room space. We do not live in this house any longer. Totally down sized and got rid of about 50 percent if what was in this house. Freaks me out to see all the stuff in these pictures.

Here is a link that might be useful: Working desk

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 11:48PM
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Shades, I know you've shown the green wall paint before, but I never appreciated how soft it was until I saw the photo in the Multiply album, pic #17 out of 67 I think.

And I loved all the pothos climbing everywhere. I think both of us love VINES.

An old entertainment center is simply an armoire, and it might serve a good purpose if you reconstruct the interior.

Or, if you have the space, Build shelves with cab doors and drop down work surfaces on either side of a window, then put a reading seat beneath the window. If it is too low, then just put your lamp (floor or table) there with a great wingback chair or your favorite reading chair of any kind. But I'd think putting in a window seat the best option if at all possible. Depends on your windows though.
It would take some floor space away from the great room, if you put it there.

However, a long time before anyone ever dreamed of the Internet, so no pictures of this, I had a set of base cabs built across one end of a long skinny living/dining room. It had a mural above the chair rail there, so I left that intact. I had the doors below made of fixed louver shutters, and it was a great storage space, like a buffet, with our dining table moved out a little more. We seldom ate there anyway, usually ate in the kitchen.

Another idea if you have the right room configuration, is to pull the TV or entertainment setup away from the wall, and create a sort of hidden space behind it, which would be a room w/o adding new walls. If you have anything "ugly" that messes up your space, but you wish to be private when you do leaving out your scrapbooking stuff...then something like this can give you some dedicated room

You are not talking about creating storage as much as you are dedicated ACTIVITY space, which is a much more changeable thing than storage. You have to have easy access and get a pleasurable feeling from using it. I suggest you draw out your house living space, and cut out little squares of your furniture as it exists now, and start moving it around. When you think something looks nice, then get some big cardboard box pieces to lay out and get a full size feel for what you've just drawn. Saves the floors and also your back. Entertainment centers and sleeper sofas are NOT easy things to move, if you have those.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2011 at 10:58AM
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Well, DUHHHHH, I posted that and then I realized that the best place to go for help with ATTRACTIVE function-oriented small spaces is to the guru of small spaces, Sarah Susanka.
She wrote all the NOT SO BIG HOUSE books. And that is an excellent source of the very answers you seek.

ANY of her books. Most libraries have several if not all of her titles.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2011 at 11:02AM
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Thank you all for the great ideas and pics.

Lavendar, I do love the look of amoires but my budget and space will not allow for me to add one to my room right now.

Shades, thanks for the pics - I think that your home was lovely. You seem to be very good about re-purposing your furniture peices and multi-tasking the pieces in your space. I think that I need to do more of this in my space.

Moccasinlanding, so many great ideas. I have looked at the "Not So Big" books, but I will need to look at them again.

I am currently working on the homeoffice/homework corner. I hope to post pics soon.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 9:34PM
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Teacake- Check with Goodwill and other thrift stores. You can't always find exactly what you're looking for, but I've had some good luck, lately :)

If you can't find an amoire, would a desk work...maybe even with a hutch above? If you don't mind painting and seeing past the 'used finishes' on some of the older furniture, you might have some great finds!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 11:11PM
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I think many folks will like this link from Fine Homebuilding online publishers. The designer has a fantastic looking studio on the Russian River for his writing and the photographer who works with him to use. It is like a shed roof free standing. The high side is to the north, and the low side is to the south and it seems that the whole slope of the roof will let it work for solar panels....or else let the snow slide right off and down that hillside which seems to drop into an abyss. Anyway, it has plenty of designer ideas inside the studio, and some might work for one or more of us.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lessons from a small studio

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 9:43AM
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"Have you successfully integrated a hobby, homework, or office space into your "great room" that is not only functional but also beautiful?"

I don't know if this qualifies as beautiful, but it's very functional and is part of our so-called great room (which isn't very "great" in this tiny house LOL). It's my office space tucked into the corner of the room. The large table can be used by me during my work hours, and it can be cleared off to be used for eating after work.

To the left, out of the picture, is the wood stove, couch and armchair in the main room of the house. From that side of the room, the desk/computer is barely visible behind the wooden cabinet that holds my CDs. From there, all you see is the bookcase and table.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 6:40PM
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Due to the advent of flat panel TVs, folks are ditching their TV and entertainment centers in droves. You could consider getting one at a resale or thrift shop and make a fold-out desk surface inside the TV part. Open the doors that then recess inside and fold out the desk surface, use the other cabinet parts for supplies and books or backpacks. If any of the shelves are covered by glass doors, it is an opportunity for using those nice vinyl cling window films, stained glass stick-ons, or glass paints. Here is a page of armoires from a local used furniture store, below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Armoires at Fred's

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 2:04AM
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oldgardener, I love your space. I love working with a nice view out the window. It looks like your table functions as both dining table and workspace too, or is that just an illusion?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 11:33PM
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Thanks, marti8a. Yes, the table functions as both dining table and workspace. During the day when I'm working, I use it to hold my coffee cup, Pepsi and snacks, and my cat uses it to get to my keyboard and sit in front of my monitor to get my attention. LOL.

Then I clear the table off at the end of the day. We never actually eat at the table, but I clear it off anyway. From the other side of the room, you can't tell there's a desk/computer there.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 3:32PM
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I have trouble calling mine an office because it's more of a space... It's on my porch - where I also start seeds for the garden and overwinter plants. It's small, but it has everything I need to work from home.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 6:25PM
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