The idea of designing the glazed balcony into a small home office offers several indisputable advantages, including good insolation and the opportunity to enjoy a relative separateness from the rest of the apartment. A beautiful panoramic view frequently comes as a pleasant bonus feature. The major disadvantage of such a solution is the lack of space. However, professional USA and UK designers have brainstormed a bunch of ideas to eliminate the negative effect of this drawback through rationalization of sizes and shapes of all the furniture, as well as development of a suitable furniture layout.
The Palette Of Finishing Materials
- Coordinate the design concept of the balcony office zone and the nearby room. If your apartment is not large enough for you to allocate a separate big room for the home office, you need to make sure the balcony office is finished in the same colors and style as the adjacent room. Alternatively, you can employ a neutral (achromatic) palette. Select the shades and tones of the finishing materials so that they harmonize with the neighboring area.
Efficient Space Utilization
- Utilize the “pocket” space when developing the furniture layout. The width of a standard balcony usually exceeds that of the window it’s adjacent to. The distance between the edge of the window frame and the side wall of the balcony creates enough space for accommodation of a small table, a bookcase or a shelving rack (unless the balcony wall is curvilinear). If the side balcony wall is blank but you need to place the desk against it, you won’t enjoy staring at the wall finishing during the moments of rest. To improve the decorative effect of the blank wall and create a focal point for your eyes to rest upon, hang a landscape painting or photograph above the desk, or employ a triangular (trapezoidal) desk, so that the angle of your view shifts.
- Avoid encumbering the window sill. Even if its width allows to use the surface as an additional shelve, do not place piles of folders or boxes with paperwork here. You’ll enjoy your working environment more with a neat and empty windowsill. The balcony office will have a tidier appearance, and nothing will block the view.
- Make efforts to utilize the walls near the desk efficiently. If your work involves large amounts of papers that must always be within convenient reach, a portable drawer and a shelving rack might offer not enough storage space for your needs. Additional shelves and shelving units above and nearby the desk will solve this problem. A bonus hint: sort out your papers into colorful folders that match the overall interior concept.
Furniture & Accessories
- Arrange the balcony office furniture in a way that the sunshine still pours into the main room. The home office design should be developed in compliance with the insolation (solar exposure) requirements. Arrange the shelving units or bookcases so that they do not cast a shadow onto the inner window, because the amount of sunlight that reaches the main room is already limited.
- Perform a precise calculation of your desk’s tabletop. This recommendation is especially relevant for owners of narrow balconies, where a standard-size desk doesn’t fit. If the balcony space has a really limiting width, opt for a tabletop with bracket-type supports instead of a full-fledged desk. Alternatively, you may install a desk with a narrow L-shaped tabletop that goes along the balcony’s side wall and a part of the front wall.
- Employ pull-out drawer units. This will enable you to sit at a narrow desk more comfortably. You may include a few compact and portable furniture pieces in the interior. They can serve as “pedestals” for the printer, facsimile and other office machines. According to the recommendations of USA and UK designers, the height of such a drawer unit with the machine mounted on top of it should not exceed the windowsill level. If the only piece of technology you need in your balcony office is your laptop, have a closer look at small portable tables, which you can move from one part of the interior to another.
- Use a wheeled office chair. If your design project envisaged scattering the desk, the storage system and the machines in the balcony interior, your chair needs to be mobile. Choose a compact model that will not impede your movement between the functional units.
- Instead of a desk lamp, arrange a wall lamp or a clamp lamp. In order to utilize the tabletop surface to the maximum extent, refuse from the traditional desk lamp in favor of lamps that can be attached to the wall or to the edge of the desk. Preferable are models that feature a flexible long stem, because they allow to direct the flow of light as necessary.
Curtains & Blinds
- Hang dense curtains along the internal window and the door. The glazed balcony utilized as the small home office is usually adjacent to the bedroom. If it’s the master bedroom for the married couple, see to ensure peace and repose for the other spouse. To this end, equip the window between the balcony office and the bedroom with a curtain. Make sure it also covers the door aperture. If the balcony is adjacent to the living room, the kitchen or the dining room, position the curtain in the balcony interior to screen yourself during the work hours from anything happening behind the glass.
- Cover the balcony windows with French blinds or roller shades. Although the decorative properties of such an option are not splendid, it allows to save a lot of space and prevents visual encumbrance of the small interior.
- Make sure each window frame is equipped with a separate blind. This trick enables you to flexibly regulate the amount of sunlight that pours into the balcony office.