With an influx of people working from home for the next short while, more and more are looking to have proper home office setups. If you are fortunate enough to have the choice of location for your home office and don’t know if you should pick upstairs or downstairs, this article is for you.
A downstairs office keeps you closer to the activity including the front door for mail and packages, the coffee machine and refrigerator for refreshments, and the potential noise and distraction of family members going about their business. The upstairs home office can be more private and quiet with the added benefit of being hidden from the view of guests.
Of course that short answer doesn’t get into the bulk of it. You’ll have to keep reading for the extended list of pros and cons of each home office location. At the end of the article, there’s a very useful section on what things to consider and keep in mind before finalizing on your home office location.
Should Your Home Office Be Upstairs Or Downstairs?
While this decision is hugely personal preference and I would recommend to try both locations if you can, I have done the research and found the pros and cons of both locations. If your home office setup is extensive, or your desk and equipment is too large to move, you’ll want to choose the right location from the start. Here’s what to consider.
|Upstairs||– Out of view of guests (Can be messy)|
– Checkbook and valuables not near entrance
– Relatively noise free (main activity tends to happen downstairs)
|– Mobility barrier|
– Further from kitchen
|Downstairs||– Close proximity to kitchen (coffee, etc.)|
– Get to the door faster (packages, mail, etc.)
– Keep an eye on things (monitor kids)
– Do chores while working (laundry, etc.)
– Clients and colleagues can visit
– Possible view of front of house (monitor traffic)
|– Noise, distractions and interruptions from house activities (kids watching tv, etc.)|
– Have to keep clean as office is visible to guests
– Important documents near front door
When To Choose An Upstairs Home Office?
Away From High Activity Areas Of The House
The upstairs office is away from the hustle and bustle of the kitchen and living room. If you want to keep the distractions to a minimum and focus to the maximum, try to have your office upstairs.
Of course, if you live alone, this doesn’t matter. Moreover, some people prefer to be downstairs amidst the activity, so they can monitor the kids, keep the downstairs organized during the day and even do chores while working.
For The View
Some homes can have killer views of outside from an upstairs room. Having a nice calming view when taking a break from work is conducive for productivity, creativity, and inspiration. A nice view is an outlet to the dynamic nature of the outside world and tends to be refreshing to look at after a work session.
Moreover, increased exposure to natural light puts you in a good mood even in the drab months of the year.
Hidden From View Of Guests
An additional nice feature of having an office that’s upstairs is you don’t have to keep it clean and tidy for when guests arrive. Often, downstairs offices can have double doors that you like to keep open, and anyone can take a peek inside.
Also, the upstairs office has the added benefit of keeping your important documents further from unwanted guests. Yes, I’m talking about robbers, and while this may not be a concern in your neighborhood, there’s a lot of people who will sleep better knowing their checkbook is safe.
Away From Kitchen
Do you have a bad habit of constantly wanting snacks and food while working? Having your office upstairs can help discourage you from making that trip downstairs to get a snack you probably shouldn’t be eating. Furthermore, every time you do hit the kitchen, you’re burning more calories and climbing a set of stairs.
When To Choose A Downstairs Home Office?
Access the Front Door Easily
Does your office window have a view of the front of the house? Can you see the mailman or delivery man as they arrive and like to intercept them before they ring the bell. Maybe you just prefer to be able to get to the door quickly.
Working from downstairs puts you in the ideal position to get to the door quickly.
Clients and Colleagues Visit Your Workspace
If your work from home job requires people to come over, you want a downstairs office. You can get to the door easily and invite them into the office without parading them through the house. This one is just common sense.
Easy Access To The Kitchen
Do you drink a ton of coffee while working and are making frequent trips to the kitchen? You may find it ideal to work from downstairs so that you can have your coffee and refreshments quickly.
Monitor The Kids and Do Chores While Working
If your workday involves looking after the kids, then you’re probably used to having a ton of distractions and noise while you are working. You would want to be downstairs to keep an eye on things with the kids and can also make sure they are keeping the house clean and civilized.
I know some work from home mom’s who prefer being downstairs for this exact reason coupled with the fact that they can easily do their chores from downstairs as well. You can take a quick break from work to pop some clothes in the washing machine, and save your valuable time after work for more enjoyable tasks.
At the end of the day you are the best judge of location. You know what works best for you and what your home scenario is like.
What Things To Consider When Deciding Home Office Location
This is a highly personal decision and I’ve hopefully provided you with important considerations so far. Here are a few other aspects to consider before making your final decision.
- Consider mobility and access needs both currently and in the future. If you plan on using the home office as a guest bedroom, consider mobility and access needs of the guests
- Ensure that the size of the room is large enough for your desk and other furniture, but not too big where it’s not cozy anymore
- Consider the outside view available from the room and whether it suits you. Some people prefer the view of the backyard with trees and greenery, others would rather keep an eye out front for mail and packages
- Consider the distraction factor. Can you work with noise or do you need it to be quiet and which location accommodates this
- Why not both upstairs and downstairs? You can have an upstairs location for your hardcore work where it is quiet, and a downstairs location for things like paper work and paying bills
- Consider the lighting of the room. Make sure there is adequate natural and artificial lighting for your work
- Consider your office setup and where it fits best. Do you have an L shaped desk that only fits in a specific location?
- Consider the floor type for the chair you have. Rolling chairs have an easier time rolling on hard floors and you may find it annoying to use on a carpeted room
- Consider the desk location and orientation within the room. Do you want it facing the window, the door, or a wall?
Hamid Tahir is a Mechatronics Engineer and founder of WFH Overload. He is currently working from home and is dedicated to the continuous improvement of his home office setup. Hamid has extensive experience setting up workspaces and dealing with the related tech. He hopes to share his knowledge to help you create the most productive and comfortable work from home setup. Read More