Where at home do you compute? (use laptop, surf net, etc)

jenswrensOctober 2, 2012

What spot in your house do you spend most of your time when you are on the computer? (Ipads don't count because they are so small and mobile and don't come with attached paraphernalia like cords and mice.)

Do you have a dedicated computer-room/study? And if so, are you there right now? Or do you primarily use a laptop, and does it migrate around the house or do you use it in the same place all the time (counter, desk, table, couch, bedroom, etc)?

We spend a lot of time on our laptops when we are home. The problem is that while a laptop suggests portability, our laptops end up parked permanently on the kitchen table, complete with chargers, cords, wireless mice, stacks of bills, piles of papers, and DH's briefcase/bag, which gets dumped under the table as soon as he hits the door in the evening. Clearing the stuff off the table for meals is a huge pain, and we usually end up just pushing it all to the end and eating around it. Ugh! Even though we have a desktop computer in a pseudo-office, we never use it and that room is unpleasant to be in.

We are trying to design a new house to build, and a sticking point is finding a dedicated spot for our "computing." I absolutely do not want it to end up being the kitchen table again. But I feel it needs to be close to the kitchen. I don't want a kitchen "desk" that is cluttered and stares at a wall, because I know we'd never sit there anyway, and it'd just become a secondary dumping ground. I hate visible wires and cords and want to be able to hide the clutter, yet not expect DH to unplug and put things away when he's done, because haha - that'll never happen!

So, where do you do most of your "computing" when you are at home?

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I do have a study with a desktop computer, but for many uses I want portability. So we have an Android tablet, a Kindle, and a 10" notebook that all get carried to wherever....kitchen, greenhouse, bedroom, living room. They don't take up much room, and can be slipped under a piece of furniture when not being used. In fact, I have a charging cord for the netbook under the sofa so I can charge it, but keep it out of the way when I want.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 3:07PM
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I have a dedicated office that does not get much use these days. It has two desks, each with a desktop computer and big flat screen monitor. It also has book shelves filled with our books and a sleeper sofa to house extra guests. I use it for work sometimes, when I need a particular operating system or need a dedicated office space for peace and quiet.

We also keep a lap top on our coffee table in our family room, which is adjacent to our kitchen. I've considered having some sort of tablet available in the kitchen for recipes in the future.

If you're doing some kind of island or peninsula, could you create open cubby/shelving or a drawer on an end that provides a place to "dump" the computer and associated accessories? That way the laptop could be pulled up onto the counter for use and easily settled under the counter when you want to use the counter for something else (eating, prep, etc).

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 3:19PM
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We have an office in the house (a converted bedroom) that has two desks and a desktop PC for each of us and the printers.

DH has a laptop for work, but only has to use it maybe once a week. He will either just use it in the office, or occasionally bring it into the living room if he wants to watch TV, too. I've never enjoyed a laptop that much. The portability aspect is nice, but how often did I actually take it anywhere? So the utility is (for me) a problem. I had a company-issued laptop and only used it as a CPU, attaching two full-size monitors, a keyboard and a wireless mouse. I never got comfortable with the laptop's keyboard or track-pad/stick thingie and dreaded having to take it to home office meetings where I had to use it without all my peripherals.

Last year DH and I got iPads. So now I can do email and surf the web from the living room while the TV is on. (In the past we would watch TV, then wander into the office to surf, staying up way too late in the process). I can now multi-task my time wasting ; ) And I'll do a little bit with the iPad in bed -- usually playing Words with Friends a little bit before going to sleep.

When I have to do something complicated, I still go to the desktop. That includes paying bills and blogging -- things that require (for me) the utility of a mouse and a proper keyboard for dealing with photos, cutting and pasting, and multiple open browser windows. My desktop PC is starting to get a bit old and glitchy, and I told DH that I wouldn't mind if we didn't replace it when it finally gives up the ghost. I think that with the iPads available for surfing, we can function just fine with one PC for the "heavy lifting."

All that being said, with the advent of wireless networks and wireless printers, there is no longer a need for the computer to be near the data port or the printers. So the latter can be tucked away somewhere in a closet or cabinet. But you may need to do a more in-depth analysis of who is using their computers when and for what, and why the dining room table is the chosen place. Is it because he likes company when working? Is it because it's near the TV? Is it because it's where the light is best? Is it because of a need to confer with one another on things, and this is a central location that doesn't require hunting someone down to review something on the screen? Is it because he likes the ability to spread out things on the large workspace? Once you know the answers to those questions, you may be on the way to figuring out how to make a workroom that will be more appealing in the new house.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 3:33PM
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We have a room that we call Engineering. It has a sofa with a pc on each end, the left side for me, the right for DH (I am left-handed, he is right handed). We do not have a tv anywhere. We watch all videos on our PCs as well as surf the web, and I work there as well (database work).

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 3:38PM
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My laptop resides mostly on a TV table in front of the couch, which is where I am now. The desktop is on a small-ish desk in what used to be our daughter's room.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 3:41PM
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We have two spots, an office off our master bedroom where we (esp. DH) works when we work from home, or when we need quiet (i.e. away from the kids).

For quick day to day email checks, GW, homework, etc., we use an iMac just off the kitchen, sort of between our family room and kitchen. As the kids get older they will do their homework here and use the computer. I like that the computer is positioned in such a way that adults can easily see what is on the screen while in the kitchen or just walking by. Here is a picture of that area - we do have some storage, an ikea cabinet, underneath the cherry slab, to the right of the computer. This is where I'm sitting now.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 3:46PM
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I have an iMac in my office, a MacBook on my kitchen/dining room table, an iPad and an iPhone. And I live alone...no wonder, huh? :)

Right now I'm at my iMac because I needed to check some Mail settings (dang IMAP) and decided to check GW while I was at it. I use this computer when I want quiet or if I'm working on a large file or Photoshop, i.e., whenever I need a larger monitor and full keyboard.

My laptop is my real buddy. It basically lives on my table and it's my go-to machine. Occasionally I will move it into another room if I'm in the middle of streaming something.

My iPhone is usually not far from where I am, but I tend to not use it for computing unless I'm out of my house.

I just got an iPad recently and am still figuring out how it fits in. It's great for consumption of data, but when I need to write something, I want a real keyboard. I'm giving it time.

If there were more than a couple of people in my house who sat down to a meal together, then my laptop in residence on the table might have to change. As it is, I like it there and I don't care if it looks like I don't care. I do, and it's fine right where it is.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 3:50PM
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I have a desk (furniture, not built-in) in the laundry room. It's tucked away nicely under some stairs. It's just for me, so I don't mind the location. I use a desktop PC there and do all our heavy duty family business there. I use my iPad all around the house for movies, games, fb, etc.

My H has a 700 sq ft office above the garage. He's up there most of the time, or in the evenings, he brings his laptop downstairs.

Our college-aged kids keep their laptops all over the place. That mess is probably the only thing I don't miss, now that they're away at school.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 3:58PM
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For work I have a macbook pro with an external monitor in my office. Although it's a laptop it hardly ever moves from there, because it's just so much simpler to use the ipad for everything else.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 4:11PM
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We have a dedicated office, and I wouldn't have it any other way. It's one of the most frequently used rooms in the house.

It's a very bright room, with loads of windows and lots of workspace - we have 15 feet of desk in here. It's a work room for crafts, a work room for work (we both do a lot of at-home work) and we have a TV and fold up treadmill on one wall for when the weather's crummy.

I would hate to have laptops spread around the kitchen, that would make me crazy.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 4:15PM
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I have a desk/office area in the all-purpose room right off the kitchen. Not a fancy place...laundry, freezer, my desk, etc. It's just "my" place. In the old house, I had a desk in the kitchen. Bad idea, I'm way too messy!!

DH has his own office. He works at home, so it's definitely a "working" space. He has 3 systems, 3 printers, a laptop, etc in there. We also have a laptop in the built-ins in the family room. We run on-line educational classes from there so we can sit in a comfy chair. We also have an iPad, a mini-computer, and 3 kindles.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 4:15PM
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We converted my grandparent's secretary desk into a computer hutch. We simply removed the back so that the cords could be drawn through, and drilled some holes behind the cubby door so the rest of the cords could be tucked away. The router lives here, too. The desk sits between the windows in our dining room so it's easy to keep an eye on whoever is using the computer. The front of the desk folds down when we want to use it as a desk or to use the laptop on it. Then the laptop slides into it when not in use. I like that the desk front closes up to hide the paraphernalia when we aren't computing. We also have a cabinet nearby that houses the printer. While I love the convenience of the computer, there are times I like not having it visible, so this works well for us.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 4:24PM
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we have a dedicated office where the iMac, printer file cabinets for paperwork & billing and a bookcase. DH works from home 2x a week, so he needs a dedicated office space, and rest of time for rest of family we have iPad, Macbook in the family room or kitchen, whenever i am.

Im in the process of designing my kitchen for renovations where it'll have a pennisula and will have a dedicated space to hide the iPads and the like. Far prerable than leaving it exposed and open on the kitchen table.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 4:24PM
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Well we've come full circle. Old house had the old laundry room 5x6 converted to a desk computer area just off the kitchen. That worked fine til kids got older and had laptops of their own. So the cramp office moved to an extra bedroom office.
Finally decided to try a laptop for convenience and it just isnt that convenient. plus all the paperwork that goes with it did end up on the dining table. (arent computers supposed to eliminate paper?!?)
Anyway this house; smaller where we live while building, I have a 10x10 study off the living room. I have my desk computer on a table there with the added convenience of being in direct line with the tv in the living room.
New house I will have a larger 12x16, mudroom with a computer area with wired printer ( hate wireless so far). A laptop area in the kitchen and a dedicated study upstairs off the MBR.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 4:37PM
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I work from home office so I am using my laptop and cell phone at a sofa or a arm chair. I don't have space for a desk while we are in a small cottage waiting for the remodel to end. For most part, I do not mind it.. We have sofas with a wide square arms and they are covenient to perch laptops or ipads.

I think the main problem where is the dumping spot for all the computer paraphernalia like laptop bags, power cords, chargers, printers, wifi etc. When we do move to the new house, I do want a place with a large monitor and a chair. I don't expect I will always sit here and work but this will be a corraling spot for home office set up. I am planning this in the master bedroom as we eliminated a separate home office in the plans instead choosing to keep the family room bigger.


    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 5:19PM
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I ditched the desktop several years ago; best thing I ever did. I have a built-in desk in the kitchen were the laptop stays plugged in most of the time. Previously I would take it around the house with me, but now have an Ipad so that goes wherever I go (along with my Iphone). My laptop is a 14" which for me is a perfect size- screen is plenty big yet the computer is very portable if I do want to use it elsewhere instead of the Ipad. I do everything on it that I ever did on the desktop, so who needs a big machine anymore. I notice Best Buy now only carries a few desktops on display and row upon row of laptops.

Who says seniors aren't part of the new world of technology? I'm 72 and as modern as my 7 grandchildren. Love it.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 5:45PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

DH who is not computer saavy, has an office where we park the printer and the modem. My mac book resides on the credenza under the TV in the family room. I keep it there as I often use the itunes radio with the tuner to broadcast music in the house. Otherwise I'm using the imac (as I am right now) off my lap on the sofa while watching tv. The family room is open to the kitchen. There is a desk area in the kitchen and when it comes time to pay bills and such, I spread out with the paper work on the island in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 5:52PM
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I have a dedicated office that houses the desktop PC and large printer. I use that PC and room about 5% of my computing time.

I am currently on TWO laptops at the island.. one is personal and one is for work. I gravitate here because it's convenient to spread out, I can see the TV and I can eat/drink/etc. without worrying about spilling.

My personal laptop often follows me to my bedroom at night.

DH's laptop and plugs live under our sectional. He uses his laptop when he is watching TV, and I tuck it away when I don't want to see it.

In a perfect world, I would eliminate the desktop PC entirely. I do like my desk area as it houses bills and other paperwork.... it keeps that mess out of the rest of the house.... but I don't think I need a whole room for that purpose.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 6:34PM
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I got a laptop, and since then I have no dedicated space. I'm either at the kitchen table or, on my lap- in the sunroom, on the couch,etc.
DH is our family "bookkeeper" so for bills, etc. he uses his desktop in a dedicated office as it's near files,etc.

When we first bought this house I was sad that we didn't have a downstairs office (DH's is a spare bedroom upstairs), but honestly I don't miss it a bit.

One thing we did do in our remodel is to add a charging drawer (thank you GW!) and it got rid of my pet peeve from our old kitchen (having the counter look like an electronics graveyard from all the charging up we do to our various devices). I recall one GW having a very attractive area for a laptop etc. that shut all up when not in use- I can't remember the user name, but if we would have had the space I would've done something similar for the laptop.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 6:50PM
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My favorite spot is outside in here:

On this:

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 7:43PM
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We have a laptop riser and keyboard (Rain Stand) for our Mac - currently on a card table in the great room but getting a small desk. We like to be able to see the TV when computing.
I also crawl into my Nook with a different Rain Laptop stand and enjoy the windows
On nice days - the deck trumps!
Our old computer died - so no longer have a desktop but have to take to recycling after I pull the hard drive

PS - I have no affiliation to the Rain computer stands - but they are great!!!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 8:05PM
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Have laptop, will travel.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 8:39PM
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Home office during the day but at night we like to sit at the island with laptops, as we have a good view of the boob tube from here.

Our cabinet maker did notches in our island legs where we can store our laptop cords. So easy to tuck away when not in use. Love this feature!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 8:49PM
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But I like remodelfla's laptop station the best!!!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 8:51PM
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We generally lounge in the living room with the laptop and iPad while watching tv. I take the iPad with me wherever, be it the kitchen for a recipe, up to the library (I know, sounds grand, but it's just a 9x13 bedroom I converted), or outside. They slide under the couch when not in use.

We also have a desktop in the office (another converted bedroom, we only need 1 and have 3). DH mostly uses that for things like paying the bills, photo editing since he is really into that and it needs tons of processing capacity, and I use it when I need to print things. Someday I will updat my iPad software so I can print, but I've got other stuff to do.

We also have assorted cords for things on every window sill downstairs. I am trying to find a place for a charging station thanks to GW. I would LOVE to get all that stuff organized and tucked away.

I think the above suggestion to think about why you gravitate to the current location will help a lot with where to put a computer area in the new space. For me, since I do not currently have a job that requires me to tote a laptop around, it's not a big issue. Plus between residency and traveling to assorted professional meetings I have become pretty good at balancing a computer at just about any angle. Being tied to a set spot with an actual chair to sit upright in feels a bit boring now. I also like to multitasking my time wasting/procrastinating.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 9:02PM
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Here is our nook - note the power under the benches - I love to sit sideways on the banquette and plop a pillow under my knees.

When I need to me more formal - I can sit and work - the lift top table should arrive soon!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 9:04PM
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