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The New Must-Have Room

With mobile technology, it’s easy to work in any room of a house. And yet, according to designers and home builders, the home office is becoming one of a home’s must-have features.

Dedicated office space might not always be a full room. In fact, it might be a nook with desk space on the landing of a staircase or a corner of a bedroom or family room. But as people do more work away from the office and kids do more work outside of the library, the home office is growing in importance.

“That office or desk space is becoming as essential as the family room,” said Mollie Carmichael, who leads the consumer research team at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, based in Irvine, Calif. And that’s true no matter how large of a home it is, from a small apartment to a large single-family home, she added.

In fact, 77% of people surveyed by John Burns said that any additional rooms not dedicated as bedrooms would be used as an office in their next home — the most popular response. (Fifty-six percent said they’d use the extra space as a guest room, 25% said multipurpose room.)

There’s also some evidence that home offices can make a home more attractive to buyers. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2014 Cost versus Value report, you can recover an average 48.9% of the cost of a home office remodel at resale, up from 43.6% in 2013 and 42.9% in 2012. A midrange office remodel, as defined by the report, is a $28,000 investment that involves installing custom cabinets that include 20 feet of laminate desktop, a computer workstation and wall cabinet storage, along with rewiring of the room for computer, fax machine, cable and telephone lines.