How Big Should a Home Office Be?

So you’ve decided to start your own business/side hustle and now you need an office to work from.

Or maybe your current role allows you to work from home for some or all of the working week.

All you need to figure out is how big you’d like your home office to be, or more importantly how big your home office can be.

We can help you with that.

How Much Space Do You Have In Your Home?

Before you go designing your fancy new office, or working out how much a home office costs, it’s a good idea to take some measurements first to get an idea of how big your office can actually be.

To give you an idea of what scale to mentally work with, a typical prison cell measures 6 feet wide by 8 feet long, or 48 square feet.

That’s about the size of a large closet, which is still enough square footage for an office workspace. But you’re usually better off having a bit more than the bare minimum space for a desk, a chair, and not much else.

Note: Here’s our guide on choosing the right-sized desk.

Oddly enough, the reported average size of a home office is 50 square feet.

So here’s the first question to answer: Do you have a room, attic, or basement to dedicate to a home office?

If your answer is “Yes” then this room, attic, or basement is no doubt larger than 50 square feet.

If your answer is “No” then you’ll need to find in or around 20 – 40 square feet of free space in some other part of your home.

Considerations For Determining the Size Of Your Office

What you do for a living

If your business or job only involves using a computer and maybe handling some paperwork, then a small home office should be enough for you i.e. 20 – 40 square feet.

But if your day-to-day work involves drawing, sketching, or similar tasks, then your office will need to be substantially bigger i.e. 50 – 100 square feet.

Room for work equipment

Every item of furniture, computer equipment, or electronics you place in your office will take up space.

I know, I know. That’s stating the obvious…but people often overlook it.

What I’m getting at here is that you should:

  1. Measure your office space down to the exact inch
  2. Measure each item of furniture or computer equipment in advance to avoid any last-minute surprises…like your desk not fitting because your measurements were off by a half inch.

Ensure there’s enough space for everything you’ll need without overcrowding the room. 

Here are a few other measurements to keep in mind:

  • The height of a standard desk is 29 – 30 inches (74 to 76 centimeters).
  • The surface area of a small office desk is around 8 square feet.
  • You will need around 2 feet of free space behind your chair to stand up from your desk

Room to move

In addition to fitting all your essential equipment, it’s important to have enough space so that you can stand up or sit down from your desk without banging into something.

Allow for some open space to stretch, stand up, and walk to avoid feeling cramped during long working hours.

This isn’t just about feeling good – sitting down for long periods of time without moving is not good for you.

And, from experience, an office that allows you to move around a little helps you stay productive.

How small can a home office be?

If you don’t have a dedicated room then the absolute bare minimum of space you’ll need for a small desk, computer, and chair is 24.5 square feet.

That’s just enough space to accommodate a desk, and just enough room to push away from the desk to stand up.

If you do have a dedicated room then you’ll have at least 30 – 50 square feet of room to work with in creating your home office workspace.

Every choice after that is down to personal preference and how much money you can afford to spend on a desk, chair, computer, and any storage requirements you might have. 

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