Now is the time, as you select and fine-tune your home plan, to create exactly what is needed in a well-designed work center.

The editors of Home Plan Ideas, a Meredith magazine, suggest these ideas to find space for a tailor-made work area.One question to answer when designing a home office is whether you need a separate entry or additional parking for clients. If so, call the city's building department about zoning regulations.

If claiming the office space as a tax deduction, current regulations require the room be used specifically for business and be a place to meet clients.

More typically, homeowners simply desire a private space to attend to paperwork. If minimal space is needed, consider quiet locations. Look over the floor plan for an idle corner, alcove, end of a hallway or empty stretch of wall space for a desk. Specify enough electrical and phone outlets to hook up special equipment such as computers and phones, as well as to provide for adequate ambient and task lighting.

-If working odd hours when the rest of the family is in bed, think about installing the work center in the guest room rather than a main bedroom.

-Laundries and work areas make good roommates: They share plenty of storage, spacious work surfaces, good lighting, and easy-to-clean finishes.

-Libraries and dens meet the need for more formal refuge. Talk to a builder about maximizing the use of this space with built-in shelving and furniture.