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Turn a Closet into a Home Office

What you'll need:

Wood slab to create desktop, ¾-inch thick

Hanging baskets

Paint, self-adhesive paper, or a tablecloth (optional)

Closet rod

Storage equipment (baskets, lidded boxes, stacking bins, etc.)

What you'll do:

1. Select your space. Choose a mostly unused closet that is large and deep enough for your needs. Measure your printer, file cabinets, and other items to be sure they will fit, and note how deep and tall your shelves need to be to accommodate them.

2. It's electric. Note the equipment that must be plugged in. Make sure you can safely run an extension cord into your new office nook (that is, without posing a tripping hazard) if you don’t currently have an electrical outlet in there. While you're at it, think through your lighting. Plan to add task lighting via desk or floor lamps, and if you have an existing overhead light, consider changing out the fixture to something stylish.

3. Door or no door. Depending on the size, shape, and location of your new office, you may choose to keep the door or remove it for a bit more space. You can lift a sliding door off its tracks and a regular door off the hinges. If you have room to keep the door, put up some corkboard on the inside to post notes and reminders. If you remove your door but still feel like the closet should be somewhat "closeable," try hanging curtains.

4. Decide on a desk. Don't want to DIY this part? Take your measurements to the store when looking for a slim desk to fit into your space. You may need to think outside the box and consider a console table. Hint: Look for one with drawers!

If you're going to DIY it, here’s what you should do:

  • Use boards at least ¾-inch thick. Your big-box home-improvement store can cut wood to the size you need.

  • Before mounting your desk, make sure it is the right height for you. (Elbows should be bent at 90-110 degrees when typing.)

  • Be sure to choose brackets that can hold a substantial amount of weight.

  • Make sure storage shelves are at least a foot apart in height.

5. Color me impressed. Paint the back wall for a fun pop of color and a brightened feel to your working space. This can be especially pleasant if you have no natural lighting. You can also use paint or contact paper to cover your desktop and shelves with soothing colors or fun patterns.

6. And finally … With limited space, you'll need to stay on top of the clutter — especially if you have no drawers to tuck things away. Here are a few fun storage ideas to get you started:

  • Put the original curtain rod back up and hang baskets from it to store desktop items, so they're right in front of you.

  • Use labeled boxes to hold printer paper and notebooks. Put drawer dividers in a couple to keep little bits and pieces organized (like paper clips, pens, stapler).

  • Or stacking bins. These can double as a file cabinet if you get the right size and don't have room for a proper one.

  • Be creative! Find fun storage that helps you stay organized and makes your new home office an enjoyable place to be!

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