Designing for the New Must-Have Space

Opportunities for work-from-home areas are emerging as a must have for new home shoppers

By Michael Stone

What buyers want when shopping for a new home evolves and changes, usually in gradual ways. However, for post shelter-in-place buyers, high atop the list of must have spaces – no matter the price or size – is a work-from home space that isn’t the dining room table or the secondary bedroom or the main living space. The recent mandates that forced millions of people to live and work from one location highlighted the need for some space that separates work from home, even while under the same roof.

This isn’t to say every home needs to include a dedicated office, but it does require architects and builders to look at floor plans and consider ways that help homebuyers imagine comfortable ways to work from home without compromising everyday living. For families, the challenge is greater – how to create a work-at-home place for the parents that is close to the remote learning space needed for kids. In this article, we’ll explore creative ways to carve out those spaces.

Work Zones

The challenge is to create a workspace without significantly adding in size or cost for the builder or the buyer. Three zones – nooks, circulation space and multi-purpose rooms – present the immediate opportunity when space is planned efficiently.


  • Tucked just beyond the entry and great room and filled with natural light, this area brings a functional work area to the 1,693 SF multi-family home.
  • This hallway nook works well for either a work-from-home parent or a remote-learning student and makes efficient use of space in this 2,085 SF detached homes. [IMAGE 2]

Multi-purpose Spaces:

  • Thoughtful stair placement in this 3,186 SF single family home makes it possible to work in one area of the second floor bonus space while kids are nearby in the larger living area. Bonus spaces like lofts can answer the need for both parents and offspring.

  • An oversize laundry room easily accommodates a work-from-home set-up in this 2,549 SF single family home and eliminates the need to take over a secondary bedroom.

Circulation Spaces:

  • Hallway space is made productive with these side-by-side work stations. Apart from the main living areas in this 2,074 SF multi-family home, this office arrangement provides privacy without sacrificing connection to day-to-day life.

  • The stair wall in this 1,919 SF multi-family home becomes a dedicated work area that doesn’t interfere with other uses in this second-floor bonus space.


With attainability forever a factor for new home buyers, carving out space solutions remains a creative exercise. With thoughtful design marrying both the design and financial considerations can be achieved.

Michael Stone is a Senior Designer at Bassenian Lagoni. Learn more at

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