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Cloffice Ideas

cloffice made from converted reach-in closet
This cloffice used to be a coat closet.

The dedicated home office is in big demand these days. Everyone wants one. And it's not restricted to large, new homes. Housing of every size, type, and age needs to provide a place to work from home. And many are finding that space by converting a closet into an office. Hence the term "cloffice." A cloffice is a dedicated work area located inside a converted closet. It's a kind of in-home cubicle where you can leave household distractions at the door and concentrate on business. Conversely, you can forget your work when you close the cloffice door at the end of the day. It's all about better work-life balance. Any home, from the smallest condo to the largest mansion, can have a cloffice. And many do. Cloffice ideas are one of the hottest trends in the current real estate market.

Cloffice Considerations

cloffice with door closed
Use a cloffice to create a better work-life balance! When the door is closed as shown here, the cloffice, and thereby the pressures of work, disappear.

Size

A cloffice can be carved out of any type of closet. It doesn't have to be a large space, but room for a 48-inch-wide work surface with 30-inches of empty space for leg room is recommended if you plan to spend much time there. Head room is more negotiable since you will probably be sitting most of the time, unless you plan on using a standing desk. That means you can design a beautiful cloffice in that awkward area under the stairs with the sloped ceiling if you want. More commonly, however, the cloffice is a converted reach-in closet or a section of a walk-in closet.

Preparation

If the closet is small, you will need to clear out the entire space before creating your cloffice. Follow the same clean, spackle, and paint prodedures used when prepping for a new closet installation. For a larger closet like a big walk-in, you may only be planning to use a wall or section of the space for your cloffice. You will still need to prep the area where your cloffice will be located. You may also want to consider revamping the rest of the closet space to include cabinet doors over certain sections to eliminate clutter. New closet organizers that will maximize storage in the areas left for your clothes is another option to consider.

Reach-in Closet to Office Conversion

The reach-in closet transformed into a home office is the most popular type of cloffice. If you are lucky enough to have a very long reach-in that covers a big wall, you can section off one end to become your cloffice. Most of the time, however, you will be using the entire closet for your office because this type of closet isn't usually very large.

Aim for a desktop that is approximately 22-inches deep and at least 48-inches wide for best comfort. You need to leave 30-inches empty under the desk for leg room. Try to include a bank of drawers under one or both sides of the desktop to provide storage for papers, pencils, and other tools. However, watch out that the drawers aren't blocked from opening by a closet return wall. The return wall is the small section of wall on the front of the closet that frames the door. These walls vary in length by a few inches to several feet. Your drawers need to be able to fully open in order to be useful. If they can't open their full 20-inches depth, go with open shelves under the desktop instead.

Don't forget about lighting. Chances are your old reach-in closet had a single bulb or light fixture in the center to illuminate the entire space. This won't do for a work area. You need to include task lighting. Consider LED puck lights installed under some upper shelves to shine on your desk area. Low voltage closet LED lighting is available as under cabinet lighting. It's very bright but easy to install, making it a top choice for the cloffice.

cloffice from half of reach-in closet
This reach-in closet was 10-1/2 feet long. It was much more than a child needs for clothes. Her parents decided to divide the closet into two separate spaces. Half for clothes, half as a cloffice for schoolwork. This solution offered a kind of place to "go to school" during the pandemic. The distinction between spaces, however small, helped create a sense of stability and order in an otherwise crazy time.

Walk-In Cloffice Ideas

A walk-in closet can be converted into a separate cloffice as long as you have someplace else to put your clothes. Many who choose this option have two closets in their bedroom, opting to share a larger closet in order to use the other as a home office. However, most of us don't have two closets. But if your single closet is large enough, you can consider installing a desk. A closet desk is basically the same as a closet vanity. They’re just used for different purposes. It may seem weird at first, but many people find that they like working inside their closet. The clothes deaden noises from the rest of the house, making it easier to concentrate. Walk-in closets also usually have a door that can remain closed while you are working. If you are bothered by barking dogs and screaming cartoons while you work, this might be the right solution for you.

Others don't like being surrounded by clothing while they work. If it bothers you, redesign your walk-in closet to include cabinet doors. Use the doors to cover all the clothing storage areas, providing a simple, clean, business-like environment for your desk. And you still get all the sound insulating properties from the clothes!

Another advantage of working inside a walk-in closet is that many come with a window. It's always nice to be able to look up from your work and look outside. If you don't have a window, install extra closet lighting. You can use the same low voltage LED system used for a reach-in closet. Make use of puck lights, under-shelf lighting, and vertical strip lights to illuminate all areas of the closet, not just your desk. The lights are necessary for work but will also improve the entire closet as a whole.

Large walk-in closet with lighting and desk under a window
This large walk-in closet has an LED closet lighting system and a built-in desk under the window.

What if you don't have a spare closet to become your cloffice?

Don't worry. You can still have a cloffice even if you don't have any closets available for conversion. A cloffice can be built along any empty wall just like a Murphy bed, wardrobe, wall unit, or bookcase. The cloffice is just another type of built-in. Place your desk and upper cabinets or shelves between two wall units/bookcases. The alcove needs to be at least 20-inches-deep so you are looking at some deep shelves. Trim out the opening around the desk to match the bookcases. Crown moulding is a nice touch that gives a high-end look. You can even add a set of large cabinet doors to cover the desk when not in use. Viola — the desk becomes a cloffice!

bookcase cloffice
Place a built-in desk/cloffice between two sets of bookshelves and cover with tall cabinet doors.

Why invest in a cloffice?

It's been said that the cloffice is the new cubicle. Work habits and situations changed a lot during the coronavirus pandemic. For better or worse, many of these changes are here to stay including more work-from-home arrangements. Ask any real estate agent. The cloffice is in demand. And for good reason. The benefits are very convincing.

  • Provides a dedicated work space in the home.
  • Separates work from personal space to creates a better work-life balance.
  • Able to fit in any size home.
  • Easy to retrofit into older homes.
  • Doesn't necessarily require an empty closet to start.
  • Budget friendly way to add an office because it does not require a home addition.
  • High demand means better ROI when you decide to sell.

Even if your home already has a separate room that functions as a home office, you may want to add a cloffice. With multiple family members working from home plus children who routinely participate in e-learning, the advantages of having a separate cloffice for each household member becomes clear. Take a look at your existing closets. Can you consolidate your storage by incorporating better closet organizers? For most people, the answer to this is "yes." If not, look for an empty wall to build your bookcase cloffice. Try it, then let us know how it goes. We'd love to hear from you.