Is the Living Room the New Home Office?

Wall Street Journal

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If I was a betting man, I'd say many of us consider the couch a desirable spot to work from. My better half has a tendency to migrate from her desk over to the living room as the sun sets ("It's cozier!"), and I've been known to continue working on the couch from my iPad after hours. For better and for worse, the living room has evolved into an extension of the home workspace, and now furniture designers are addressing the migration with new designs fit for work and relaxation...

The Wall Street Journal recently produced this video as part of a piece about the proliferation of work-at-home furniture catering to the always-working demographic (aka, Americans), reflecting the cultural shift away from stationary workstations over to a working lifestyle revolving around mobility and comfort in the living room and beyond. More of us are migrating across from home offices over into the living room, dining room, and even backyards after hours, and now furniture designers are taking note with designs catering to this shift in lifestyle.

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A recent study concluded a family that tweets together, stays together. But it's even better after all the online social networking together, the same family can substitute "tweet" with "eat" (no Instagramming your dinner!). The switch is the core idea behind the Aaro Vario Duo dining table (above), a dining table which converts into a desk...or is it the other way around?

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The Haworth Harbor Work Lounge shares features drawn from classroom desks, airport lounges, living room seating, and home office task chairs.

From the Wall Street Journal's, Welcome to the New Home Office:

"Even people who have home offices aren't using them anymore," said Karin Gintz, vice president of global marketing for Coalesse, one of several companies designing work-at-home furniture for the new zeitgeist. "The last thing people want at the end of the day is another office environment. They want to work with their family, in a space that looks and feels like home."

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This laptop stand from Coalesse spotlighted earlier as a work-from-the-couch solution is a compact work surface which converts the couch into a desk, then folds flat to be stored underneath.


The big question born from this cultural shift is whether working from anywhere and everywhere, including the living room, actually leads to a more productive work life. Or more importantly, whether bringing work and computers into shared home spaces actually hinders a happy home life, where couples and family members are more drawn to their screens than to one another. 

What are your thoughts of about working from the living room, where home life and work life are beginning to overlap after hours?

(Images: Chris Perez/Jamie's Something Old, Something New; Wall Street Journal; Aaro DesignCoalesse; Haworth)