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Twenty or thirty years ago, the idea that practically every person would want a desk at home was absurd. Way back when, the average person did not own a computer. Most people would leave the house, go sit at a desk, come home, and go about their lives, sans a PC.

Those days are long gone. Now, not only does nearly everyone own a desktop computer, a laptop and/or a tablet, but also a piece of furniture to house all their computing needs.

Technology, the Internet, and low-cost mobile computers have made freelancing and work-from-home careers possible. Working from home is a rising trend that is likely to increase even more considering the fluctuating economy.

But not all home-desk-dwellers are necessarily working. From grade-schoolers who use tablet apps for learning to retirees who dabble with Facebook to keep up with their family and friends, everyone needs a special space for their computer time. Since the reasons for a desk are many, consider what you need one for before you decide to set up an office at home.

Here are a few ideas on what you can do, depending on your specific needs.

1. Spread Out

Home-Office

Some people simply need more room.  Whether it’s work-related things like a paper cutter, printer and stapler, or items that inspire you like flowers, art and photos, that’s OK. Maybe you don’t even need the space for a computer. If it’s merely lots of work space you require, go for a desk with plenty of surface area — be it in width or length.

2. Hide Away

Whether you’re the messiest worker around or the minimalist who simply needs a clean surface to work on, what you will need is a computer desk with plenty of storage. If you don’t have a desk with drawers and shelves, create them. A simple storage cabinet or a few wall shelves you can install yourself will go a long way in keeping you organized. If office furniture isn’t exactly your style, remember that a little DIY will save the day. There’s really not a lot a can of paint can’t fix when it comes to home décor.

3. Dip In and Out

Need a quiet spot for the usual email check and some internet surfing? A cozy nook may be right up your alley. Any sort of small table can be converted to a desk. Whether it’s an old nightstand you don’t need, console, nice card table, or thrift store find, anything can be upcycled to fit the comfort bill. Be sure there’s enough room underneath for your legs and enough space on top for a cup of coffee and a laptop. An area rug and a lamp with add to the intimacy to make it the perfect place to dip in and out of.

4. More for Décor

If all of this office talk is cramping your style, you may prefer a more decorative approach. Make your desk space blend in by making it part of your home furniture arrangement. If you have a table/shelf built in to your walls, slide a chic chair underneath. Get really creative by using old ladders to create cool wall shelves full of your favorite things, distracting visitors from the desk that sits below. Or try using an old door as either the backdrop for your work space or the actual desk.

5. Save Space

Not all homes are big enough for designated work spaces, yet their residents require a special spot for great ideas and inspiration. If you live in a big city with a few square feet to work with, you really have to get creative. Why not double the dining room table into a desk? It can be a think-place by day and a corner to convene by night. If even a table is out of the question, space-wise, buy yourself a fold-away tray table for use only when you feel inspired. Spread a nice scarf or small tablecloth over it for added warmth.

6. Think Outside the Abode

Don’t just think about the furniture; think about whether your work should stay in the house to do all of your nine-to-five-ing. If you have access to a shed, garage, spacy attic or basement, consider spending your office hours there so you can leave your work behind when you want to “go home.”

No matter your reason for needing a nook, be it for leisure or bringing home the bacon, be sure it’s a place you like to be.

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Posted by Chris Long

Chris Long is a Home Depot store associate in the Chicago area, where since 2000 he has been helping customers on DIY topics related to homes and home offices. Chris also is a frequent writer for Home Depot's Home Decorators.com website.

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