10 Top-Notch Tips For A Kitchen That Doubles As An Office

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall
Credit: Shutterstock / Artazum

Working from home seems to be the way of the future, or at the very least, a common practice in the now. If you’re one of the many people who need a home office, you may not have the luxury of a dedicated space. Instead, your kitchen does double duty as your office space, and you’re tired of papers and electronics taking over your countertops.

A freestanding computer armoire keeps everything in one place and hides it when not in use. If your kitchen is small, use flexible options like a rolling cart, a laptop cubby, and storage furniture. Wireless printing allows you to avoid putting a bulky printer in the kitchen. Set a clear work schedule and make sure all household members are on board.

Drawbacks Of Using A Kitchen As Your Office

Setting up your home office in the kitchen isn’t an ideal situation. Kitchens tend to be some of the busiest rooms in the home, so trying to get work done can feel impossible. Plus, you want your kitchen to be clean and tidy, since it’s often the centerpiece of the house.

But if papers cover the counters, along with your laptop, pens, files, and other items, it feels anything but calm. Also, your kitchen likely doesn’t have adequate storage for the things you need in your office (which is why it’s all out on display). Therefore, it can be tricky to stay productive or work as efficiently as possible.

However, if your kitchen is your only option for a workspace, it doesn’t mean you’re destined for mess and chaos. If you’re stuck using your kitchen as your home office, it is possible to maintain clear counters and a functional design. Save your space and peace of mind with these tricks and tips.

Choosing The Best Office Setup For Your Kitchen

Before you commit to a particular home office arrangement, consider the current layout and design of your kitchen. What works in one space won’t work as well in another. For example, some kitchens may have ample space to add a freestanding furniture piece to create your office.

However, other kitchens may have limited space and require more flexibility. The following ideas encompass several different kitchen setups, so choose one that makes the most sense for your space.

1. Create A Cubby Under The Island Counter

Think about the desks students use in school. Many of them have slim cubby slots for students to keep notebooks, tablets, and other essentials. Utilize a similar concept in your kitchen under your kitchen island countertop to stow your laptop when not in use.

A cubby for your laptop means you don’t need to leave it out on display on the counter. It’s a good option if your kitchen is limited in space, and you don’t have room for a separate desk or piece of furniture.

If you don’t have a countertop that overhangs the island, other options would be tucking the laptop into a dedicated drawer or cabinet. You could also leave it stored in your laptop bag and hang the bag on a hook behind the pantry door or anywhere else out of sight.

2. Set Up Your Office In A Computer Armoire

If your kitchen is larger and has some available space, use a computer armoire to set up your home office. This is a great option if you’re using a desktop computer, since you can hide everything behind closed doors. These desks also offer storage for supplies, files, and more.

3. Utilize Bench Storage In A Breakfast Nook

If you have a breakfast nook or eat-in kitchen, use a dining bench as one of your seating options. For a designated nook, a banquette is another popular option and often includes storage in the bench seats.

Designate a bench as your office storage, and keep a file box with your paperwork, containers for your supplies, etc. This way, everything is where you need it, and you can pull it out when it’s time to work.

4. Use A Two-Sided Bulletin Board Or Memo Board

Hang a bulletin or memo board near your office area to keep notes, reminders, a calendar, etc. When you're not in office mode, flip it around and have a picture or meal planning notes on the other side. This helps you switch back and forth between the room’s functions easily without adding an extra piece to the space.

5. Add Separation With A Portable Room Screen

Kitchens get busy, and you’ll inevitably need to work at times when others want to make a snack or eat breakfast. A portable room screen provides privacy in a pinch. It adds a layer of separation when the space needs to work as a kitchen and office at the same time.

6. Use Curtains To Close Off An Alcove Or Nook

If your workspace is in a nook area, install curtains that easily pull across the space. When the room is in kitchen mode, the curtains stay open. But when it’s time to go to work, you can draw the drapes and have your private office.

7. Try A Rolling Cart For Supplies And Electronics

A kitchen with not a lot of storage space doesn’t often have any room to spare for non-kitchen items. Organize your office supplies, laptop, charging cord, files, and other necessities on a rolling cart.

Store the cart to the side, in a spare closet, or even a hallway. When it’s time for your kitchen to become your office space, roll the cart into position by the table or island. Depending on the height of your table, you may even find a cart that fits underneath.

8. Use A Wireless Printer

Laptops make it easy to set up an office almost anywhere, but the same can’t be said for bulky printers. Instead of keeping your printer on the kitchen table or tucked in the corner of the counter, go wireless.

Most printers are wireless nowadays anyway. The wireless capability enables you to keep your printer out of sight in another room.

9. Choose An Island With Cabinets On Both Sides

When designing your island, get one with cabinets on both sides. Use the cabinets facing your kitchen counters for kitchen items. The cabinets on the other side become storage for your office.

This tip provides an extra benefit. When cabinets are only on one side, they tend to be too deep. It makes it hard to reach items in the back or forces you to store certain pieces behind other items. When you have cabinets on each side, the items inside are much more accessible.

10. Have A Clearly Defined Work Schedule

This tip is the most important to achieving a workable shared kitchen and office space (not to mention staying productive when you work from home). Create a work schedule and stick to it. Make sure everyone who lives with you knows what it is and is on board with the plan.

Just like you would if you went to another location for work, have designated hours when you work in your kitchen office. Stick to those times, barring any occasional exceptions, like an emergency deadline or last-minute project.

The Perfect Recipe For A Kitchen And Office Combo

Your kitchen’s layout and size will determine which home office ideas work best for you. If you can’t fit a dedicated armoire or desk, go with flexible options. Use a rolling cart to move supplies in and out as needed. Double-duty furniture, like a banquette with storage benches, can store files, office supplies, and other essentials.

A specially designed cubby under the kitchen island counter is the perfect spot to slide your laptop out of sight. If you have a nook or alcove for your table and chairs, hang curtains or use a screen to provide privacy. However, no matter how you set up your home office in your kitchen, it’s essential to stick to a schedule.

Have dedicated times you work in your office, so that other members of the household know when to limit time in the kitchen. This is an important part of keeping work and personal life separate when you work from home. It takes some compromise and planning, but you can achieve a kitchen-office combo that works well and stays neat.

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Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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