Sharing the same home office has many benefits, such as the ability to socialize and collaborate without putting your nose to the grindstone.
If you spend all day by your partner’s side, however, you need to balance their needs with yours. Here are some tips for designing and decorating a harmonious office space for the two of you.
Two-person home office layout ideas
Workspace layout should respect each other’s tastes. Do you want to eliminate distractions? Are you looking for inspiration? Do you prefer to look out a window? Or would you rather have a view of the entire room?
Face-to-face: best for video conferencing
If you don’t like the feeling of someone looking over your shoulder, this option is for you. Sitting across from each other encourages interaction, gives you a larger combined work surface and avoids distractions in the background.
On the other hand, this arrangement usually directs your vision to the center of the room, without exploiting window views… You may also get tired of looking at your partner all day long!
Back to back: minimizing distractions
Arranging desks along opposite walls allows each of you to enjoy a dedicated space without obstructing the other’s line of sight. Make sure you’re both happy with the distance from the windows and that you get equal amounts of natural light.
Main drawback: during video conferencing, you’ll need to use a virtual or blurred background to keep your partner from being visible.
Side-by-side: easier for collaboration
Working this way eliminates a lot of problems: you have the same views, the same lighting, and you don’t appear in the background during your respective video conferences.
If your partner’s laptop screen is distracting, consider installing a partition, a bookcase accessible from both sides like the Stealth model, or any other visual divider between you.
L-shaped layout: maximizing a small space
An L-shaped desk or two perpendicular work tables in a corner maximizes space that would otherwise be lost.
In a small room, this is a particularly desirable gain. This arrangement avoids most of the problems that arise when you face or back your partner and provides two different viewpoints. However, you may feel as if you are sharing a single surface, without having your own desk.
Home office furniture for two
Choose furniture that serves different functions while offering a variety of microenvironments for work: a productive place to sit at the computer, a comfortable chair for reading, a collaborative table…
Shared office or offices for couples?
If you want to have a large work surface, take a look at expandable dining tables. A model like Navros, which combines an oak veneer with a steel base finished in black epoxy, offers all the space needed for two computers and has simple, elegant geometric lines.
If you prefer each person to have their own desk, look for furniture that incorporates transparent materials to visually lighten the room. For example, with the Westerly desk’s acrylic legs, its glossy top appears to float in the air. For a more organic look, opt for the Stealth model, whose tempered glass table rests on a curved solid ash base and a two-drawer file cabinet.
Choosing two different but complementary models opens up other possibilities. Vary work positions throughout the day by pairing a swivel desk like Edward with a more classic product like Waluca. The matte black steel base of the former will match the dark paint of the latter to create a visual connection.
Choosing (and arranging) the perfect office chairs
Swivel chairs are a must: they allow you to adjust your position effortlessly to better chat with your partner, look at your screen or consult documents.
If your desks are identical, choose chairs that can reinforce symmetry. If you have separate work spaces, have fun to choose quirky designs that reflect each other’s personalities, while maintaining at least one common design element, such as color or material.
Two contemporary aluminum and leather chairs, like Wavin or Eban, are a great value. They offer excellent support for your back and head, and their understated design will add a formal touch to your environment.
If your home office is set up in an open area or this room serves other functions, you might prefer a chair with fabric upholstery like Winnie. This soft, warm material is reminiscent of a couch or fluffy rug and creates a clever transition between your work environment and your living spaces.
Don’t forget the storage
Thoughtful office storage should both beautify and declutter the space, while allowing you to quickly find what you need.
Start with a bookcase decorated with your favorite reference books and items. Then hide the rest of the stuff – such as computer accessories, unused cables and office supplies – in a filing cabinet or in drawers.
Once your essential furniture is in place, complete your home office with accent furniture and decorative elements. All it takes is a few plants, a rug, some picture frames and perhaps a bold addition (like a Winslet minibar, a hammock or a big Wing pear chair) to create an inspiring and productive environment for you two to work in.