We're going on week six of staying-at-home, and therefore working from home. I'm used to working from home - it's my normal routine for both my husband and I. He works in our home office, and I have a desk in our master bedroom - it's a system that has worked well for us. Our master is on the first floor, so if the kids need something, the dog needs to go outside, or someone rings the doorbell, I can easily jump up to take care of things. But, with the entire world working from home and no in-person meetings possible, Zoom calls are a new norm in this work at home world. What isn't ideal about my master bedroom/office set-up, is that I've become more aware of what is behind me - what other's see when I am on video.
While I LOVE my bed and master bedroom decor, it doesn't seem like a professional view. I'd like to at least give the illusion that I have a professional work space (even though I'm very productive in my current space!). And, the windows behind me often just overwhelm the white balance of the room and make it impossible to get a good shot on the video screen. As I have sat on other calls, I started to take note of other office spaces and what seemed to work best, and decided to try to re-think my office setup for video calls.
I knew that I wanted a space that was contained in a room with a door - I didn't want to use our family room or dining room for work calls. We have three kids and a dog at home and I didn't want to have to worry about them being in my space, or my calls disturbing their online learning environment. The best setup seemed to be desks that were parallel up to ten feet or so ahead of a wall - so your backdrop on video calls was the wall, perhaps with some artwork on it or a lightly decorated console table. I didn't have space to float a desk in our master (I tried, though!), so I started to think about other space available in our house.
We have a guest bedroom that obviously isn't being used right now (it's used maybe two weeks out of the year). So I started to brainstorm ideas on how to better use that space. With some creative re-arranging of furniture, I was able to make room for a re-purposed desk area (actually a console table and a nightstand) and create a zone that will work much better for video calls.
I'm going to continue to play with it by adding a monitor and different lighting options (and maybe new wall paint!), but so far it has worked really well! I probably won't use this new desk set-up every day (this is on our second floor, and I really enjoy being on the first floor so I can pop into mom mode if needed), but I will definitely use it for video calls. And, my kids could use it for their at-home school work and video calls.
Friends - now is the time to be creative and resourceful and to use your space in whatever way works for your family. Do you need to create a playroom for your young kids to corral the toys and sound and give you a little distance? Do it! The kids will LOVE it and so will you. Utilize your spare bedrooms in new ways. Shove beds in a corner and make room for train tables and doll houses. No extra bedrooms? Have your kids share a room temporarily - it will be something exciting and new (like camp!) and you can use the available room for Toy Central. Do your kids need study space? Utilize console tables as desks. Are your college kids home? Make their room a dorm room - put the mini fridge and microwave you dragged home in there instead of trying to figure out where to store it. It will give them a little sense of college life that they are desperately missing. Do you have a FROG (Family Room Over Garage)? Put a tv in there and give your teens an optional space to spread out. Or create a work out space in your home - move your treadmill collecting dust out of the master bedroom corner and start using it! We've converted our dining room table to a puzzle/lego/homework table. Make your space work for you. Discover new ways to use your space. If you need help making sense of how you can use your space in new ways, let me know. We're here to help.
Hi! I'm Amanda David, wife, mom of three young adults, and owner of First Impression Home Staging & Design. I get delight from creating spaces that people love. Follow along for decor ideas and staging tips.