Make Office Space Functional in the Kitchen

Technology demands in a home work station require creativity and planning.

Every homeowner wants a hard-working kitchen, but the 21st century has brought a whole new dimension to the phrase. Many of today's kitchens are as likely to house computers as toaster ovens – and for good reason. With more people working from home today, a kitchen work center is often the best place to tackle the family finances, juggle schedules – even manage a career.

Few homeowners, however, have the luxury of a great deal of space to devote to a kitchen work station. "Incorporating high-tech equipment into the plan and decor of an existing kitchen can take a bit of effort and creativity," says Geno Benvenuti, president of Benvenuti and Stein Inc., an award-winning design-build firm in Evanston, Ill. "It's one thing to use a laptop at the kitchen table. It's another to fit in an entire office."

Homeowners considering a kitchen work station should assess their need for space and their tolerance for clutter, Benvenuti advises. "Ask them to think about how much storage and desktop they will need to get their work accomplished efficiently," he says.

Creating visual boundaries between the office and kitchen will help homeowners increase their productivity. A peninsula, half wall or column can define the office space as separate from the kitchen work area.

Benvenuti offers a number of other ideas to make a kitchen work center function well despite limited space:

Add enough power. Computers, fax machines and chargers for cell phones and PDAs need power sources. Hide outlets under upper cabinets for a streamlined look. Consider adding a narrow shelf to keep cell phones and PDAs off the desktop.

Use proper task lighting. Adequate glare-free lighting is arguably the most important consideration for any work area. Office spaces are no different. Under-cabinet lighting can keep the desktop as well-lit as the kitchen's counters.

Consider cabinetry with special storage options. Papers, supplies and equipment such as a computer tower, printer and fax machine should be kept handy but out of sight. A roll-top desk provides a quick "now you see it; now you don't" solution for the inevitable clutter. Homeowners can even use folding screens to hide disorder until they can straighten up, organize, and clean up.

Let built-ins do double duty. The same banquette used for seating for family breakfasts can feature deep drawers in the base to add storage for supplies and files. An island can be used for office-supply storage as well as for stashing pots and pans.

Use pullout shelves. Since doors take more room to open, pullout shelves are a good way to stow bulky equipment, such as printers and fax machines, and keep the workplace surfaces clear.

Hide office equipment in closets. A closet system can house the computer, printer, fax machine, phone and audio/video equipment—and make them all "disappear" when the closet door is closed.

Encourage the use of durable flooring. With an office in the kitchen, homeowners will spend even more time in that room. They will need flooring that will hold up to heavy traffic. Wood is a practical choice, especially for those with children or pets. It's aesthetically pleasing, easy to keep clean, and is softer and easier on the feet and back than tile.

Next Up

Very Small Kitchen Ideas

Rise to the challenge of designing for the smallest of small kitchens, from the RV to the urban apartment.

How to Choose the Best Light Fixtures For Your Kitchen

Check out these pro tips for layering the four types of lighting in your kitchen redesign.

The Best Desk Organizers for Your Workspace

See our favorite storage solutions, from desk risers to customizable wall calendars and bookshelves, and get fresh ideas for arranging your workspace.

What Is the Average Cost to Remodel a Kitchen?

Looking to remodel your kitchen, but don't have a clue about what it will cost? Find out what a kitchen remodel will typically cost and how to save money on your new dream kitchen.

How to Pick a Kitchen Backsplash

Get tips on how to find a backsplash that meets your needs and expresses your personality.

How to Choose the Right Tile for Your Home

Learn all about the different types of tile and slabs that can be used on floors, walls and countertops including ceramic, porcelain, cement, marble and more. Plus, we’ll explain PEI rating, glazing and which tiles are easiest to install.

Budgeting for a Bathroom Remodel

Get tips for figuring out how much you can spend on your renovation project

Hiring a Pro for an Outdoor Project

Know what questions to ask when choosing professionals for your outdoor kitchen project.

10 Home Office Hacks to Get You Organized Now

Working from home can be super comfortable and productive — unless your home office is a disaster. Follow these 10 simple tips to help declutter your space.

Top 6 Kitchen Layouts

Learn about different layouts, like L-shaped, one-wall and galley kitchens, and download templates for your renovation.

Go Shopping

Get product recommendations from HGTV editors, plus can’t-miss sales and deals.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.