My new Workspace (aka, the cupboard)

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I’m extremely excited today. In a few days time i should be able to start working from my new workspace… built inside a converted cupboard!

I’ve not had a single consistent workplace for a long time. When my autistic flat mate moved in last year i lost my home office. That wasn’t too bad. Having a flatmate worked well, loosing my office wasn’t a huge issue. I just worked at the local cafe more.

Then the cafe closed. Bugger.

Since then I’ve been desk surfing between a number of cafes, co-working spaces and bedrooms.

It’s worked. Not ideal but good enough. No single space has quite the right environment.

I was vaguely aware i needed to find somewhere better, but it wasn’t urgent. An ideal workplace would have four main features:

  1. Private - I needed a space where i could take confidential phone calls or work on secure documents without needing to arrange the use of a meeting room.
  2. Quiet & dark - I am super sensitive to light and noise. I needed a space where i could have complete control of lighting and noise.
  3. Nearby - I find travel extremely tricky. I needed a space within a mile and on a bus route.
  4. Cheap - I don’t have much money, any workspace had to be cheap.

I wasn’t looking too hard. A friend was showing me their new office and i spotted a small cupboard and inspiration stuck.

The cupboard pretty much ticked all the boxes… it’s a small 4ft by 5ft space in the middle of an office floor. The rest of the office is filled with people i know and its close to home.

Once converted i’d have complete control of the environment. Additionally the cupboard was an “unfinished space”. We could decorate it to meet my needs perfecting.

I suggested the idea to my friend and they agreed! We did a deal. I’d payed the upfront building costs in order to secure a 6 weak trial period. If it worked out great, if not, oh well. They got a nicer cupboard.

Designing my cupboard.

We started work about a week ago and the basic space should be ready to use in a few days. To make it into an office it needed three things.

The first was to build a third wall at the back. The cupboard backed on to a large window, but there was also a large gap between the cupboard and the room next door. The wall acts as the ultimate black out blind and provides sound proofing. A dark, quiet box i can add my own lighting and sounds too.

The third wall also acts as sound proofing. There are three extra layers of sound proofing between my workspace and the spaces around me.

The second was to pick a decoration scheme. While the space is small, i didn’t want it to be white as that can get very disorientating. Instead we picked the same mid level grey i used at home. It’s a flat matte colour which provides ample contrast without being too dark and overwhelming.

The third thing i needed was furniture. Nothing i had would fit and I wanted to keep the friend “home office” feel so i brought a cheap desk from Argos. It’s made from a dark wood and had a dark grey draw. It fits in the space with a few centre meters of clearance. Perfect.

Final thoughts.

I am extremely excited for the cupboard. By optimising my workspace and minimising my travel i am hoping to have more energy for getting stuff done.


Spaced Out & Smiling is about exploring the fun side of Autism, and trying to understand what it means to be Autistically Happy.

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