Creating a Home Office Space

Reference Number: KB-00814
Last Modified: July 16, 2015

The information in this article applies to:

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite or Home Designer Interiors or Home Designer Essentials


I would like to design a home office space.  How can I do this?


Home offices are very popular features in homes today and can be used for many different tasks, from running a home-based business to organizing and paying household bills, to doing homework.  The space needed for a home office varies widely, depending on what it will be used for.

You can use the tools in the Home Designer programs to design a home office that meets both your organizational needs and any space limitations that you may have.

In this example, we will create a micro-office in a closet. 

The first step in planning a home office is to draw the existing space that you plan to create the office in, and then determine how much space is needed for important tasks such as sitting and writing. Also remember to set aside sufficient space for tools such as your computer and monitor. 

To plan your space

  1. First, launch Home Designer, then Open  the plan in which you would like to design a home office or select File> New Plan  from the menu to open a new, blank plan. 

    • Before planning how the space will be organized, it's important that the dimensions of the actual area be used.

    • In this example, a closet measuring 2' 6" x 6' is used.

    • The initial drawing includes a closet shelf; however, it can be selected and deleted to make room for office cabinetry.

    • You can create room labels if you wish by selecting a Room Type on the General panel of the Room Specification dialog.

  2. Next, select Build> Cabinet> Full Height Cabinet  from the menu and click to place a full height cabinet in your drawing area.  This cabinet will be used to create a drawer spanning the sitting area of the desk.

    • A Full Height Cabinet is used instead of a Base Cabinet because it will not generate an automatic backsplash.

  3. Click the Select Objects  button, then click on the cabinet to select it and click the Open Object  edit button.  On the General panel of the Full Height Cabinet Specification dialog:

    • Specify the desired Height, Width, Depth and Floor to Bottom height.

    • If you plan to use a particular desk chair, the width of the sitting area should be at least as wide as that of the chair.

    • In this example, a Height of 6", Width of 24", Depth of 24" and Floor to Bottom of 24" are used.

  4. On the Front panel of the Full Height Cabinet Specification dialog, click on the toekick in the preview picture on the right side of the dialog, then click the Delete button to remove it.

  5. Click on the remaining door in the preview, then from the Item Type drop-down list choose Drawer and specify the desired Item Height.

    • In this example, the drawer's Item Height is 3 3/4".

  6. To create banks of drawers on either side of the sitting area, place a second Full Height Cabinet and then edit its size and front items as needed.

    • In this example, a Height of 30" is specified, and three drawers are created in the cabinet front.

    • To learn more about editing a cabinet's front items, see below.

  7. In this example, the closet door is a 60" wide bi-fold.  This door's size and position will influence how we position the objects that go inside. 

    • In this example, the center cabinet is 24" wide and the two side cabinets are 12" wide for a  total width of 48". 

    • This will leave 6" on each side of the cabinets, which should allow the drawers to open when the bi-fold doors are open.

      You should measure your own existing space carefully to determine what your requirements and limitations you will be working with.  Consider not just what will fit into the space, but also how objects like computers and printers can be moved in and out of their intended locations.

  8. In this example, the three cabinets are positioned so that they are centered in the door.


Built-in cabinetry and shelves add storage space and options for organizing your work and equipment.

To create built-in storage

  1. Select 3D> Create Camera View> Elevation  from the menu, then click and drag a camera arrow directly at the wall that will support the cabinetry and shelving.

    Home Designer Interiors does not have the Elevation tool.  Instead use a standard Full Camera  directed at the wall.

  2. Select Build> Cabinet> Partition  from the menu, then click to place a vertical partition near the walls on the left and right sides of the space. 

  3. Click the Select Objects  button, then click on each partition and use the Move  edit handle that displays at its center to position it against the wall.

  4. Select Build> Cabinet> Shelf  from the menu, then click to place a shelf in an empty space on the wall.  This shelf will serve as the desktop or counter top.

  5. Click the Select Objects  button, then click on the shelf to select it.

    • Using the edit handles, move  it down so that it bumps into the tops of the desk drawer cabinets. 

    • Click and drag the edge edit handles to resize the width of the shelf as needed.

  6. Click on each partition and using the edit handles, resize each so that it's top edge meets the bottom edge of the desktop shelf.

  7. Select Build> Cabinet> Shelf  from the menu and click to place additional shelves in empty spaces on the wall.  You can select, resize and move these shelves to form banks of shelves. 

    • In this example, a single shelf is created to the left of the desk area to hold a tower computer.

    • On the right side, several shelves form compartments where supplies can be stored.

  8. Select Build> Cabinet> Wall Cabinet  from the menu, then click on the back wall of your space to place a wall cabinet in that location.   

  9. Click the Select Objects  button, then click on the wall cabinet to select it. 

    • Click and drag the center edit handle to move the cabinet.

    • Click and drag the edit handles on the cabinet edges to resize it as desired.

    • Notice that the cabinet jumps in 3 inch increments as it is resized.  These sizes correspond to the cabinet sizes available from most manufacturers.

  10. Create, resize and position additional wall cabinets as needed.

You can control the size and type of the items on your cabinets to create not just doors and drawers, but open shelves, as well.

To add front items to a cabinet

  1. Click the Select Objects  button, then click on a wall cabinet to select it.

  2. Click the Open Object  edit button, and on the Front panel of the Wall Cabinet Specification dialog:

    • Click on the door in the preview diagram of the cabinet that displays on the right side of the dialog.

    • Specify a smaller Item Height for the door to create unused space beneath it.

    • Click on this unused space beneath the door and set Item Type to Opening.

  3. You can also click the Add New button to create a new item beneath the selected front item, or click the Delete button to delete the currently selected item.

  4. If there are face items above or below the selected face item, you can click the Move Up or Move Down button to exchange their positions. 

  5. When you are satisfied with the appearance of your cabinet, click OK to close the dialog and apply your changes.

When your cabinetry and shelves are in place, you can add home electronics and other items to finish the space and confirm that your plan has enough space for the computer, monitor and other items it will hold.

To place equipment and accessories

Select View> Library Browser  from the menu and browse the library for items to complete your plan. 

In Home Designer 2014 and earlier versions, select Library> Library Browser.

  • A selection of home office items is available in the Home Electronics.

  • Choose an office chair from Interiors> Furniture> Seating> Chairs> Desk Chairs.  Other chairs that work well can be found in the Side Chairs folder.

  • You can change the door style, drawer style, hardware and materials of the cabinets, shelves and partitions in your home office to match the style of your decor. 

  • Create a bulletin board by placing a frame on the wall from Interiors> Accessories> Mirrors & Frames, then assign a Cork material to the frame center. 

  • You can place images on the bulletin board using Soffits. Select Build> Cabinet> Soffit  and click to place a Soffit, then resize it so that it is the desired Height and Width, and make the Depth 1/4" greater than that of the Frame used to create the bulletin board.  Then, assign a custom picture materials to the soffit.