From the BlogSubscribe Now

Space Planning the Office

Deciding how to turn a simple square room into an office should not be this hard. I’m pretty sure of that. We probably would’ve finished it months ago if we didn’t have to, you know, make decisions first.

Sometimes it’s so hard to be a grown-up!

As a reminder, this is what the room looks like today:

And here’s the floor plan:

And here’s the room in 3D:

WHOOOOOA. Hold on a sec.

YES. I just went 3D all up in here, just threw it out there casually like it’s no big deal. (Then ruined it by making it a big deal. But isn’t that flipping sweet? I played around with and got a little carried away.) Let’s move on.

We started by evaluating what we need from this room:

  • Space for a desktop computer and monitor
  • A new hidden home for our electronics zoo
  • Loads and loads of storage for filing cabinets, art supplies and random pieces of useless paper like expired coupons and old college exams that shouldn’t still be here.
  • Open shelving for storage pretty things.

Our first idea was to add built-in bookshelves on the long wall, with a floating desk facing the door, kinda like this:

We didn’t go with this option because:

  • We didn’t love the idea of having the ugly backside of a computer monitor right in your face when you walk in the room.
  • It would require moving the electronics zoo across the room – which is apparently a big deal, according to my tech support guy husband.
  • The shelves would’ve had to be narrower than we’d like so they don’t protrude past the windows.
  • Andy really wanted to find a way to face the windows while sitting at the computer. Since he uses the desktop computer more than I do – I live and die by the laptop-on-the-sofa method – he definitely gets a majority vote.

Back to the drawing board. We moved the bookshelves to the short wall to avoid running into the window, and moved the desk to the corner so you could almost face the windows while sitting there:

Eh. Getting closer – this was Andy’s favorite plan because of the window thing, but we ruled it out in the end because:

  • It felt like an awkward, unbalanced use of the room, even if we added a sofa or something in front of the windows.
  • The desk would’ve been shorter and smaller than what we really wanted.

Finally we realized that the bookshelves have to go on the short wall to accommodate our giant pile of electronics, and there’s just no way to position the computer so you can face the windows while you’re using it without having to see the back of the monitor when you walk in the room. We moved on to this plan:

Option 3 removes the computer-monitor-and-wires-in-your-face problem, gives us storage on that wall where we need it, and floats a desk in the middle of the room for doing important paperwork like sorting through receipts for things we don’t even own anymore. It’s not ideal – you can’t face the windows while working on the computer, and putting the bookshelves on the short wall limits our storage – but it’s the best idea we’ve found so far.

Here’s a picture of a room that has a similar layout:

via decorpad, credit Carter & Company
Imagine the computer monitor going in the little cove where that pretty piece of art is in this image, and it’ll give you a better idea of how our office would work.

The next step is designing the bookshelf wall… unless you can think of a better layout that we’re just not seeing? People who read this blog are proven to be at least 56 percent more brilliant than the rest of the population, so I know if there’s a better solution, you’ll have it!

Let's connect


  1. Hmmm…. I like the final layout, but I think it still might feel weighted to one side. Are you going to have a hole under the computer to put your legs when you’re working? It’ll almost have to be a mini-desk in the middle of the bookshelves. Is there a way to do an L-shaped desk in front of the windows and down the side of the long wall? You could have a really cool hutch on the non-computer side and a corner spot for the computer. It would also give you TONS of storage if you used one of those modular systems. Just a thought. I’m sure it’ll be great, whatever you come up with!

  2. Your posts make me happy.

    I thought I was the only one who kept expired coupons and old college exams!

    I must be the one who is pulling that percentage down to 56 because I’ve got nothing for you on the layout front.

  3. Fun fun! I’ve never heard of that website before, I might have to check it out soon. Our plan is to finish the basement next summer (once hubby’s masters program is complete), and we’ll have one room for all of our office/scrapbooking/sewing/library/etc. stuff. I really don’t have any other ideas for you! I used to organize a room with graph paper and paper pieces cut to the shape of the room objects. 😛

  4. I love that layout and can’t WAIT to see the bookshelf wall. Those are my favorite and I hope to have one when I eventually buy a house!

  5. Great solution. I want to copy because I am battling the back to the door issue which I hate.

  6. Great final layout! Another idea to consider is if you need more shelves, you can built an L-shaped bookshelf on the short wall and the long wall. Then, the room will feel more balanced and you will have more shelf space to put your books and pretty things! Just a thought. I am sure whatever your final decision is, it will be fabulous. Looking forward to see the progress and final completion of your office. 🙂


  7. Isn’t floorplanner the most addictive thing on the planet (next to pinterest and peanut butter of course)?? I think the final layout is by far the best layout! I love the fact that the desk now faces the window (my desk faces the wall and it sucks) and the built-in shelving is going to look AMAZING! Let us know the final decision, the suspense is killing me!

  8. I think it’s a perfect layout to be honest. I love the workstation being in a different part of the space than the computer. For my kind of work it is never ideal to have the computer on my work area. Love it!!

  9. I don’t know why, but i kept seeing the shelves as half wall or maybe even 1/3 of the wall high instead of floor to ceiling. maybe it would balance the room a little more to do a half wall of shelves under the windows on the other side of the room? then you could have a place for W’s toys to be stored (plus lots more display space for pretties) and a nice rug for him to play on (and therefore distracting him from the dangers lurking behind the desk) while you or the hubs works? Just a thought!

  10. I think this is a pretty darn good solution! We are in a similar situation…would love to do a floating desk, but then where to stick the ugly computer innards?? It’s like having a great outfit and then wearing pink fluffy miss piggy slippers or something. I like your set up, can’t wait to see it in real 2-d (photos that is)

  11. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but i really love your posts 🙂 you make me laugh — why didn’t we hang out more in college anyways? 🙂 I dont have a solution for you . . . but I DO also “live and die by the laptop-on-the-sofa method.” Always have and probably always will!

  12. You could also consider built-ins around the windows. Shelving on both ends of the room would solve the visual weight issue, as well as storage issues. Cabinets behind the desk, and open shelving surrounding the windows. Just a thought….

    • Thanks for the suggestion! I’ve been eyeing that window wall to see if built-ins are a possibility there…. My husband will love the extra projects! 🙂

  13. I love the final layout you are going with. I think floating the desk but housing the computer in the built-ins is just brilliant. Can’t wait to see the room come to life!


  1. […] for the built-in wall. As a reminder, this is the layout we’re working with: And you can click here to see how we arrived at that […]

Speak Your Mind


Back to top          Privacy Policy          Copyright © 2013 View Along the Way. All rights reserved.          Contact Me