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by SixFigureStart | March 13, 2009


Too many of us never expected our spare rooms or entire apartments would become our cubicles, too. With that in mind, the New York Times signed up five interior designers and five new homeworkers and paired them up to find new solutions for their space.

I was fortunate enough to be one of them.

When the process began, I had visions of four-digit expenditures (to be paid by the newspaper or the designers) on major renovations to turn this crowded and sometimes gloomy 12×17 space into a livable and workable environment.

It turns out, it only took $326 and a designer with some good ideas.

Here are a few small things you can do to turn any home area into a workspace that is comfortable and inspiring—and where you can pull off professional meetings. Tips come from Hilary Unger, who applied them to my Manhattan apartment:

Organize!“Make it feel not too cluttered: Pair like with like — pencils in pencil holders, baskets for paper, message pad next to phone,” she says. Order and neatness go a long way toward creating a work environment that is pleasing to the eye.

Separate“If you’re working at your dining room table and you have to fold it up every night to use it for eating, you lose productivity,” says Unger. “Think about getting a separate desk, or at least a separate area.”

Like It“Look at your priorities: What items do you want to keep? What items do you need to keep? What are your goals and what is bothering you about the space?” Unger suggests an evaluation of your work area to find what you like and don’t like will help you focus on what you need to rework.

(Hilary Unger is owner of Perianth Design and Buy My Eye. Buy My Eye is a slimmed-down service that involves a consultation followed by a detailed analysis and shopping list with options.)

--Posted by Laura Rich,

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