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The best work from home apartment floor plans for renters in Chicago

The coronavirus is finally in the rearview mirror and the post-pandemic reflection has begun. In the wake of this global nightmare, I learned a lot – elastic-band pants are underrated, it’s possible to form a lifelong friendship with your Instacart shopper and Schitt’s Creek is worth binge-watching at least twice. 

And then there’s the biggest lesson of all – working from home full-time is entirely possible. 

The Great Work From Home Experiment 

In the spring of 2020 when stay-at-home orders took effect, I had to figure out how to keep working – and stay sane –  while my office in downtown Chicago closed “for a couple of weeks”. Uh, yeah, we can laugh about this now. That two-week pause turned into 14 months of working from my apartment. 

And, it appears I’m in good company. According to Pew Research Center, the percentage of people working from home increased from 20% to 71% during the pandemic. 

The Future of Remote Work

The 2020 pandemic was essentially a massive, and entirely unplanned, workplace experiment. We all learned a lot about productivity as we were forced to adapt at home, often while juggling additional family responsibilities. And generally speaking, we all killed it! I mean…let’s never, ever do that again, but it was pretty cool to see people make the shift to remote work practically overnight. 

But even as pandemic restrictions are fading away, it appears many employers are continuing to allow flexibility. Some companies are even looking into continuing to keep 100% of their workforce remote.   

An image of a computer set-up at a work from home office space
The new normal: You can work hard from anywhere, including a studio apartment.

As weeks stretched into months, some folks who were working from home in their apartments began to feel a little cramped. By mid-summer of 2020, my team of leasing agents and I were busy helping people find new apartments in downtown Chicago with a little extra elbow room. 

If your temporary remote work situation has become permanent, or if you’re lucky enough to have a hybrid work schedule, the time to move is now! With more and more luxury apartment buildings catering to work-from-home renters, there are plenty of possibilities for having a great home office space in your apartment.

These Are the Best Apartment Floor Plans for Work From Home Renters 

Different circumstances can make working from home in an apartment a challenge. 

Maybe you have a studio apartment style budget, but need to work remotely. Or perhaps you have multiple people working from home, like roommates or a husband who chews very loudly (anyone else?!)? Or is your whole family, including children, living in your apartment? Yeah…conference calls and toddlers do not mix well. 

No matter your situation or budget, there is an apartment floor plan out there that will make it feasible to comfortably work from home. Let’s take a look at some examples of great apartment floor plans for various live-work scenarios. 

1. Studio Apartments with Desk Space

While having a large studio apartment with tons of square footage is ideal, it isn’t always practical, affordable, or available. In fact, a smart floor plan will work better than a large floor plan most of the time. 

Convert a Closet into a Workstation

If you’ve permanently transitioned to working from home, I’m guessing your wardrobe has changed too. Are pajama bottoms and a few professional shirts that you throw on (for Zoom meetings, of course)  your new go-to power suits? If so, then pack your fancier office attire into storage bins and clear out a closet.

Of course, this means you’ll either need more than one closet or invest in a small clothes rack to hang up anything that can’t be folded. Ideally, you can use one closet for your clothes, and another one for a small desk workstation.

Two images of a closet turned into a work from home office space
Transform a closet into an office — or “cloffice.” Images: Mill City Workshop (left), Michael K. Chen (right)

Use a Corner or Wall for a Small Desk

Do you really need a dinner table taking up space in a studio apartment? That’s what folding trays are made for. Ditch the dinner table, and you’ll have space for a small desk instead.

Get a Little Creative!

Consider using a fold-away bed or check out the studios with robotic furniture at newer apartment buildings such as Eleven40 or Avenir.

The Ori Living system is available in select apartments at Avenir.

2. Large Convertible Apartment with Separation Area

Never heard of a convertible apartment? You’re not alone; many apartment hunters haven’t. 

A convertible apartment is basically an option between a traditional studio and a one-bedroom unit. The key defining feature of a convertible is that there will be some sort of division, such as an alcove or a partial wall without a door, to separate the sleeping area from the living area. 

An affordable way to size up from a studio apartment, the extra space it provides can prove extra nice for renters who work from home. If you want a dedicated office space, flip the script and use the living room as a traditional studio apartment, and the separated area as a home office. 

A view of the living space at a convertible apartment in downtown Chicago
A large convertible apartment, such as this one at Asbury Plaza, can provide just enough extra space for a desk in your living room, while your sleeping area is separated by an alcove or partial wall.

3. One-Bedroom Apartment with Desk Alcove or Den

This is one of the most popular floor plans for single folks that work from home. In fact, many apartment building developers have specially designed units for this very purpose. 

Floor plans of apartments with one-bedroom plus flex space for work from home renters
Popular work from home 1-bedroom apartments might have a flex room or den alcove area without a closet. These are ideal spaces for a home office. Examples A – The Hudson, B – 1333 Wabash

This bonus area could take various forms:

  • A small wall cutout for a desk
  • An alcove or den area that is doesn’t close off
  • A flex room that has a door, but no closet 
A photo of a nice work from home space in a downtown Chicago apartment
Similar to a den alcove, there are also many Chicago apartments in all sizes with an area cut out for a desk, like the one pictured above at Luxe on Madison.

4. Smaller Two-Bedroom Apartment 

Whether you’re a single tenant or a couple, a smaller two-bedroom apartment can be a great solution when you need a large home office. It’s especially nice if you need a workspace that can be closed off with a door. 

Additionally, a two-bedroom apartment with one bathroom can give you the extra space you need, without spending as much as you would on a two-bedroom/two-bathroom unit. 

A second bedroom in an apartment that's been turned into a work from home office space
A second bedroom in a 2-bedroom apartment can be used as a closed-off home office, like this example at The Western.

5. Two-Bedroom Apartment With Den or Flex Room

When you have multiple people that work from home, a more spacious two-bedroom with a den or a flex room will provide the space needed for everyone to have a work environment free from distractions. 

My best tips for finding the best work-from-home apartment when you have multiple housemates: 

  • Opt for floor plans that dedicate more space to bedrooms than living rooms or bathrooms.
  • Check out neighborhoods, like Chicago’s River West, that have apartment buildings that were converted from warehouses, schools or other commercial buildings. Spacious loft-style apartments have additional perks like tall ceilings and open floor plans that can fit large work tables for creative at-home work.
  • Consider a duplex or townhouse floor plans where you could separate your home office from your living area on two separate floors.
A work from home desk space in an apartment bedroom in downtown Chicago
If more than one person is working from home, it helps to have spacious bedrooms that can also fit a desk, like this one at The Westerly.

6. Three-Bedroom Apartment for Multiple Work From Home Stations or Families

The more people you share your home with, the more space you need. This is a fact every parent in America learned while trying to work from home when daycare centers and schools were shut down. 

Thankfully, kids have resumed in-person learning, but I won’t be surprised if Covid forever changes the home vs. school dynamic. No more snow days (sorry Chicago kiddos!) and I’d bet more virtual academies will spring up, especially for high-school students. 

What kind of space can help you balance it all? Behold, the three-bedroom (or four-bedroom) apartment! While these types of units are not as common as studios and one-bedroom apartments, plenty of them do exist. And, they often have really cool floor plans.

  • Apartments with three or more bedrooms typically have large living spaces. You could set up a workspace in the living room, but setting up shop in a bedroom turned office will probably give you more privacy. 
  • In duplex or townhouse apartments, you can also find multi-level floor plans. This makes it easier to isolate your office from busy living spaces. I can also testify that working without the kitchen within arm’s length helps with my work-from-home snacking habit. 

Luxury Apartments Made Just for Work-From-Home Renters

With so many people needing to adapt to working from home, apartment developers are quickly pivoting their plans to carve out accommodations and amenities. 

I’m noticing more new and remodeled apartments incorporate built-in desks, which look great and give you instant office space. It’s so awesome to see that developers are already on top of creating spaces that accommodate work-from-home renters. 

A look at a great solution fro work from home renters. A built in desk near the kitchen.
Developers are designing new Chicago apartments with built-in desks to accommodate work from home renters.

So, sometimes, no matter how much you love your apartment, those four walls can feel a little suffocating. No worries when you live in one of Chicago’s best luxury apartments. Many buildings in Chicago have awesome amenity spaces that offer residents a change of scenery without leaving the building. 

Wait until you see the coworking spaces that exist inside some of Chicago’s coolest apartment buildings. From light-filled rooms to cozy libraries to private conference rooms; you’ll love having access to beautifully designed office space right outside your front door. 

Whatever your home office needs are, our talented team of experts would love to help you find your perfect work-from-home apartment in Chicago. Give us a holler today, and we will find the right solution for you in no time. 

Blog Author Signature: Sarah

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