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Home Office - Basement? Main floor? 4th Bedroom?

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  • Jan 1st, 2021 12:48 am
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Deal Addict
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Dec 10, 2008
4842 posts
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Home Office - Basement? Main floor? 4th Bedroom?

I'm looking at building a 3200-3500sqft 2-story home (basement included). I'm going blurry-eyed looking at floor plans and I'm struggling to find a layout that incorporates all my wife's wants (big kitchen, big great room, pantry, etc.) AND a main floor home office for me. From what I've seen, once you add the main-floor home office, the square footage jumps up, or there are too many compromises.

I'm currently in a bungalow and my home office is in the basement (our 4th bedroom). It's fine, but I'm looking to get above grade in my new home.

I'm seeing a lot of plans from Tartan, Tamarack, Mattamy, Minto, etc. that work for us, but don't have a main floor home office; they do offer a 4th bedroom on the second floor, however.

Anyone have a strong preference either way? What are the pros and cons of each?
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10 replies
Deal Fanatic
Jan 15, 2004
6520 posts
1087 upvotes
Depends on your family need. We currently use the main floor den for my wife's home office and a 4th bedroom on the 2nd floor for my home office. I would not use a basement room for home office if you spend a lot of time on it. Do you have kids occupy the bedrooms? Also, if your work involves lots of phone call, you may want to get away from the distraction on the main floor if you have family members around a lot.
Last edited by golden on Dec 1st, 2020 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Fanatic
Dec 6, 2006
5105 posts
1454 upvotes
Toronto
Have a den-library-office on main floor, but using it for kids play/study room instead. I'm using a room upstairs myself. Keeping the little kids on main floor is more convenient to watch over, and limiting their noise and dirt on main floor. Upstairs is bigger, more sunlight, and quieter, esp once the kids are back home after school, during cooking with all the cutting and exhaust fan etc happening on main floor. Though in some years time when kids get older, probably have to give it up back as regular bedroom. Then I will either move to basement, or go back to main floor office perhaps if kids getting older would rather work in their room. Best case, I win a lotto and so no more office at home needed!
Deal Guru
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Mar 23, 2008
12078 posts
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Edmonton
Our house is only 1500 square feet on the main and second floor (1.5 story, actually). I had a workspace set up in the basement, in a corner of the family room. When the WFH kicked in, my GF brought home a table from work and set up in the living room on the main floor. Both spaces work "OK", but not ideal obviously. Then she started working in the office again, so I moved upstairs. I really preferred it over the basement. Natural light, more comfortable temperature-wise (80 year old house has HVAC limitations), closer to snacks... :)

Now we're looking at re-configuring again, and I'll set up a large monitor in the main floor den, so we can watch TV on it when I'm not working. We also need to move her out of the living room, especially for Christmas, as her company is going back to WFH, but we're looking at hosting Christmas for her family here. Constant chaos is the new normal.

C
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
3218 posts
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Toronto
My home office is in my basement (3 story + basement semi in the Junction). It keeps me from bothering all the other at-home action going on here. 19 year old in university (virtual), wife doing her thing.

A home office should be far removed from the living/sleeping quarters IMHO. I'd much rather be above ground too - the lack of natural light sucks, but it does prompt me to get up and leave the office from time to time to get upstairs, go outside for a walk etc.
Deal Fanatic
Dec 5, 2009
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My 2 cents :

Main floor office > Unused bedroom office > basement home office
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
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Paris
Is there any way you can get away from a 2 story home? So many more option in that square footage for a raised bungalow plus the added advantage of bigger basement.
Deal Guru
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Sep 1, 2005
12503 posts
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Markham
I prefer a main floor office vs second floor or basement. Main floor means less noise on upper floor where the bedrooms are when you use the office. Basement could be ok if you have a higher ceiling and the windows are bigger (ie half below and half above ground).

Added to that I like office looking out to front of house. Great room and kitchen should be looking out to backyard.

Whether you can do it or not depends on how "big" is big for kitchen and great room. If you have one of those sitting rooms which ppl rarely use - get rid of it and make it the office.

I haven't done calcs but this layout might work...remove the sunroom and ....

https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/407012885057760195/

layoutCapture.JPG

Others...something to look at.

https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ALe ... C4KoQlR8TM
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

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Member
Jan 2, 2011
451 posts
313 upvotes
Simple solution is to have 1 large table and eliminate having 2 tables for food consumption. Maybe where you would have a second formal dining room use that space as an office.
Deal Addict
Jan 15, 2017
3905 posts
3359 upvotes
Depends on what you consider big. We like the Lowell from Cardel. It has a small walk in pantry and a flex room on the main that could easily be used as an office. Depends though on how big of a kitchen and family room that you are looking for. Usually with walk in pantries the kitchen is a little smaller as the pantry eliminates the need for lots of cabinet space.

https://www.cardelhomes.com/ottawa/comm ... mes/lowell
Newbie
May 27, 2018
8 posts
4 upvotes
My recommendation would be main floor if it can be secluded enough away from busy areas. Or else I would go upstairs room for privacy and more natural light.

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