The Importance of a Good Layout

The Importance of a Good Layout

Gregory Han
Sep 15, 2009

Sometimes you've got to mess things up before you get things right. And such was the case with my home office, for years the forgotten stepchild of our apartment. It's been several weeks now since I redecorated, reorganized…re-just-about-everything about the small office I work from and the dividends of the new layout are clearly apparent now…

Some of you might have already seen the complete Tech Tour of my home office over at Unplggd, a top to bottom transformation of a walk-in closet sized space with the primary goal of maximizing storage, controlling ambient lighting and wrangling wire and cables as priorities. Here's some photos of the space before the project, including a quick and dirty layout (not to scale):

As you can see, I was seated at the end of a narrow small room. And although the office is surrounded by windows, I was situated facing the wall. A long bench (purchased from Ben and Polly before I house toured their apartment!) was beloved but underutilized; it also took a lot of space and was primarily used to store books underneath and occasionally be used as a nap spot for the cats. A sad excuse for a desk was created out of odds and ends, a setup born first out of necessity, but lived with well past its welcome. A motivating factor for the redecoration/redesign was the ill physical effects of working in a poor ergonomic space, and the small desk was a primary suspect for much of the problems, alongside a space which required careful movement, lest I knock my knee against the bench or metal cabinets.

And here's the finished home office layout, redecorated with new furniture that optimizes storage, but doesn't feel overwhelming. Now the home office has been reconfigured with me stationed near the entry, facing toward our beautiful view of Silver Lake, and with the expanse of the rest of the room to my right side. Visually, this gives me a sense of wide open space (it feels somewhat like how I'd imagine looking from the helm of an ocean liner). Despite being in the same amount of room as before, the feeling of claustrophobia has been diminished considerably.

We live in a pretty small apartment already, thus the perception of comfortable space is an important one. But by just reorienting myself and the configuration of my desk, chair and shelves, the room seems 100x more spacious despite containing more furnishings than before. Guests and friends who visit now remark how different the room feels; open and inviting, instead of cramped and cluttered. It's a new room in every way, most importantly in how I feel about work within it, day in, day out, outlining how important your furniture's layout is to the perception and enjoyment of your own home. Finally, I've got a home office which I feel both happy and comfortable to work from, and that's no small thing considering how many (too many) hours I sit behind this keyboard!

Here's the rest of the home office tour over at Unplggd: Gregory's Refreshed & Refreshing Home Office.

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