Designing my own home office

As a designer I love to do things that make my life easier. One problem I had in my office as home was storage. I have a fairly small office and like a big desk to work on (I actually have two to form a large corner desk, but am designing a new one now). I also like to have a bit of free wall to use for planning information architecture of a site (post-its of my current project Proudly Scottish fill my walls at the moment). This didn’t leave much room for a storage. I had originally two free standing bookcases which where handy but they took up a lot room with out enabling me to store everything in an easy to use and find way.

Another problem is that I have a large amount of hardware . I do all my primary development on my iMac, I have HP PC for testing and further development, a laptop a wireless printer, wireless router and tablet/mobile devices. All of this hardware has to be accessible and even though I have a large desk I did not want to clutter it with hardware I wanted to use that space to work, to draw, to plan, to problem solve and to create.

To solve the problem, I built a floor to celling wall mounted book self (with help from my dad). It might not seem like much but like all good designs it looks like it has always been there and you can’t imagine what life would be like without it.

It is a simple design with some very important but subtle features.

Design Considerations

The depth and height of every shelf was carefully mesured to maximising space while maintaining the width of the room. It was very important that the room would still be able to be used as a bedroom should we come to sell the house or my wife and I decide to grow our family. This put a restriction on the depth of the shelves. We also have a 1 year old that is starting to get on her feet, so saftey was paramount. Therefor the height of the the first shelf from bottom could be low enough that she (up to the age she knows better) could put her foot on it and the the second from botome was high enought that she couldn’t grab it and use the shelves as a ladder that she could climb on. Finally the top shelf where half as deep for two reasons: one, to give a more spacesous feel (more head room) with a staggered shelf, especially in a small room the illusion that the room is expanding; two, the top shelf is for display purposes with mini easles, the thiner shelves mean that the water colour pinting on them can be viewed easily.

Practicle considerations

The bottom shelf is most likly to have the heaviest items on it and also pose the risk of people standing on it. Therfore along with the middle support, there are two additional supports. Each support was equally measured to makesure that my wireless printer would fit between each support. As I have alot of hardware that comes with a lot of cables and wieres each support and the bottom two shelves had notches cut out of them to to allow a UK standard 3 pin plug to pass through, to keep the cables and shelves tidy.

The finished article…


About Timothy McGraw

I am a UX designer, front-end developer and owner of Design Scientifc. With a keen eye for detail I care not only how products look but also how they work. User experience has become a passion, and users are at center of each of the projects I am part of. I am obsessed with web standards and accessibility, so much so that I love clean semantic code. I write about anything web related but mostly UX.

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