Tips for using a room as both an office and music space

Does anyone have good tips on using the same room for both work during the day and making music at night/weekends?

I find it challenging at the end of the day to feel inspired being in the same room I worked in. Also I find it hard to ignore my computer screen and am drawn to it (luckily my music setup doesn’t require my work computer/monitor).

One idea I had was dedicated lighting for each purpose, and switching between the two depending on what I’m doing. I was also contemplating a hanging curtain divider. My room is fairly small but not tiny (about 3.5m x 3.5m square), with one desk dedicated to each purpose.

I’m curious what solutions you all have found for this, thanks in advance!

6 Likes

Are the two desks opposing each other or side by side?

3 Likes

I have mine at a right angle. So when I’m looking at one area, I’m not looking at the other.

3 Likes

Good question! They are 90 degrees from each other, not in the same corner.

I remembered I had a lucid chart from when we were buying the place. Here’s how it looks generally. There is a window between the two desks.

1 Like

Talking with my partner some, I think I could also stand to decorate more around my music space. We moved about 9 months ago and I never really got around to sprucing it up. It could have a much better vibe. She also mentioned maybe using an oil scent diffuser to change the experience at the end of the day.

1 Like

Instead of a hanging curtain you could consider a box screen, like one of those things you see people dressing behind in movies about the old days.

image

you’d have a little more control over the aesthetic that way.

Latitude Run® Stand for Room Divider | Wayfair

A box screen typically has hinges but same idea.

Actually, it might even be cool to have your mood lighting and aroma therapy stuff behind the diffuser wall, less in your face and more ambient that way. Could really change the whole room. Get a large potted plant that only comes out after work.

2 Likes

Nice ideas :slight_smile: I love the thought of bringing out a plant or doing some other ritual to situate the room at the end of the day

1 Like

This would make a huge diffeence. And lighting-

It’s not always easy to detach yourself from your surroundings, it seems like you have a few good ideas already and at least you aren’t saying “I hate the room that I work in” so you aren’t dealing with trying to dismiss those kind of super negative feelings, just keep at it and you’ll find a nice middle ground.

A weird but potentially useful idea is to buy yourself an open closed sign like they have in a store window, when you start in the morning change it to open, and when you finish change it to closed. Then hide it so you can’t see it anymore. The simple act of telling yourself you’re closed for the day might be psychologically pleasing on some level.

5 Likes

I work at the same desk I make music on as I work on a hybrid setup. Honestly at the moment work is busy an sometimes I don’t have the energy, but generally when I do I find it’s useful to have a routine - my work laptop is properly shut down and it and anything related go into a draw so that they effectively ‘leave’ the room.

I also generally get on better by switching it around and waking up early to do music before work - it swaps the problem, around a little bit. Appreciate this might not work for everyone, but could you even try and find 5 minutes to sit down with your music stuff before starting the day and maybe to maybe try and flip the script so that you’re working in your music room rather than doing music in your work room?

2 Likes

I’ve been thinking of this too. As kids get older, working from home downstairs is increasingly tricky as they have friends round more, use different rooms more etc. Shutting myself in a spare room upstairs for work is attractive, but that’s the music room, escape from work/family/everything room, so on the other hand bringing work into it also seems like something I don’t want to do. There’s only one (small) desk so I’d be sat in the same spot for both.

1 Like

I have everything on the same desk at the moment, my music stuff is on the right side and work stuff on the left side.
everything connected to my audio interface and it is always ready to go, so I just shut down the monitor, bring the desk to the standing position (if it’s not already there), turn on the machines, slide over to the right side and that’s it.

one BIG thing that made a real difference for me is moving from macbook to mac studio, it’s smaller so it’s behind my screen, I don’t see it, when I turn the monitor down all is left is keyboard/trackpad/mouse and that’s it, I don’t see anything else so these things don’t distract me at all, when I had the macbook it was like in my face all the time… so I suppose if you can keep the work area clean of work related items it should not distract you too much, but that’s my experience, perhaps having separate desks will work better for others.

3 Likes

I used to use the same room for work, music, as a living room, and a bedroom. It was bigger than yours, with space for a sofa, but it worked.

I write for a living, so I only need a keyboard and screen, which meant I set the desk up as a music desk first.

I have since moved, and the new space is for work and music, and a morning space for when the sun makes the other side of the apartment too hot.

Now I have a work/Ableton desk, with speakers etc, but on the other side, I have a standing desk which I keep simple. Right now it has an iPad, OP-1 and launchpad pro, using Drambo on the iPad. It might also be just a Digitone. Headphones only in this space.

This “standing desk” is just a plank, on top of two crates, on top of an old table.

3 Likes

I had the same problem. I’ve had lots of success having the desks on opposite walls. You can put storage along the perpendicular facing wall. This provided enough separation for me. Regarding inspiration, try exercising, cooking, watching inspiring content, or doing errands between work and play sessions. I doubt any kind of physical separator will help all that much in a small room. Instead, think of the entire room as your safe space, and see the work area as a temporary intrusion.

2 Likes

Quit your job.

15 Likes

:rofl: Maybe after I pay off my mortgage (which will actually be fairly soon it looks like!)

3 Likes

This is a good description of my philosophy!

2 Likes

I have recently bought a laptop for work and I keep changing rooms or sitting on the balcony or in a cafe to work. So the music room has become almost exclusively a music room. But it depends from your work. Mine it’s light admin stuff for 2-3 hours a day.

1 Like

Sadly being a software developer with a bad neck/writsts my body needs very specific positioning to operate at all. In earlier times I would have done a lot more work on my porch, lying on the floor, at the coffee table etc.

Maybe I could get a second temporary space going that I could work at for a little while, just to break up the monotony of being in that room quite so much. Its a bit tight, but maybe for an hour or two a day it’d be doable.

You might consider making your music production more mobile too, so that you can spend less time in there. Ideation and jamming on a single device can be done almost anywhere!

I used to be squeezed into a 12x14’ bedroom, where I did client work, game development, music production and sleeping. When I got sick of being in there, I stepped outside. It can be done.

Random programming tip: I keep my chair positioned pretty low to minimize hunching.

edit: I just realized you said the room is only 3.5 square meters. That’s small. If it were me I’d have one big desk and two computers that I swap out, and install plenty of shelving on the walls to minimize clutter.

1 Like