The Best Home Offices for Small Spaces
These tiny workspaces don't skimp on style.
When all's said and done, offices and desks tend to be last on the list when it comes to decorating. But a functional workspace is a worthwhile addition to any home, whether you work from home or just need a designated area to keep your computer and files. Sitting on the couch or in your bed while online shopping or answering emails is fine, but those cozy areas don't quite cut it when it comes to getting important tasks done.
Being tight on space is never fun, but luckily there are countless creative ways for you to go about making sure your abode meets all of your personal demands. From shelving options to using unexpected nooks in your home, these efficient workspaces are ideal for any small space.
1: Floating Shelves
Floor space is always important and even more so if your home is lacking in square footage. So if most of yours is already taken up with essential furniture, floating shelves are the perfect option. They're not only a fraction of the price of a standard desk, but they also take up barely any room. Skip the bulky desk and opt for a sleek shelf with a chair and some standard office decor to tie the look together.
2: Closet Space
If you have a full house with no spare room for a workspace, why not transform an unused closet into your very own office? If you happen to have an extra moderately-sized closet, you can easily squeeze in some small-scale furniture. If you opt for this approach, make the space as bright and inviting as possible to avoid making it feel like, well, a closet. Paint the walls an eye-popping color, add sufficient lighting and it's sure to feel like a legitimate extra room in your home.
3: Multi-Purpose Furniture
A desk doesn't have to technically be a desk in order for it to function as you need it to. Have a console? That's the perfect surface area to double as a place for you to work from home. Keep everything you normally would on the shelves, just leave some room for your computer. Furniture with more than one function is a must when it comes to small spaces, and something you will learn to love in no time.
4: Use Your Corners
When you're not working with a ton of space, you'll quickly realize that it's essential to utilize every corner of your home. This literally includes the corners of your home. There are desks that you can purchase — or if you're feeling ambitious you can try to DIY your own — that will fit perfectly into a corner slot. These angled desks are the ideal choice when you have minimal unused space in your home. Since most furniture and decor won't fit in tight corners, go custom and you'll be satisfied in the long run.
5: Space Behind the Couch
Design by Brian Patrick Flynn
One of our biggest pet peeves is seeing perfectly good spaces go to waste, the most common of which is the area behind couches. Those awkward few feet don't leave enough room for much, but you can definitely find a slim desk to place in this unused spot. Choose a desk that fits your general design aesthetic so it blends in with your existing furniture without clashing. This is an ideal option for people who aren't able to get work done in tight quarters, as the entire living room will still be in view.
6: Underneath Staircases
Design by Brian Patrick Flynn
Much like the space behind your couch, the area underneath or to the side of a staircase often goes untouched, but it's the perfect spot to set up an office. This area will most likely be a bit secluded from other living spaces, yet still exposed, so it won't feel completely separate from the rest of your home. Don't be afraid to get a little playful in this space, as it's an unexpected office locale that is sure to make a statement.
7: Extra Kitchen Space
Contemporary Kitchen Office Nook with Orange Wall
People already tend to congregate in kitchens, so why not use yours as a miniature workspace, too? When kitchen counters aren't being used for slicing and dicing, they can serve double-duty as your workspace. Find a chair that fits well with the style of your kitchen (and isn't too bulky), and situate it wherever you have some extra room. You'll now have a structured place to sit, plus easy access to your favorite snacks while you work.
8: Unused Walls
If you have an awkward home space — say, three feet of wall space next to a window that you just don't know what to do with — you actually have the perfect spot to set up a tiny home office. While floating shelves look sleek on their own, this floor-to-ceiling setup gives you tons of storage space and has the feel of a complete office. Hang a corkboard over the desk so you have room to pin inspirational images, tack up notes and decorate to make the space more personal.
9: Hidden Within Decor
via Paige Morse
If you don't have anywhere in your home to put a barely-there desk — don't worry. You can still put a desk in your bedroom without it turning your sacred space into a full-on office. Choose a desk with a design you actually like, then decorate it and the surrounding area as you would a dresser or a vanity. Flowers, frames, books and other trinkets can and should be displayed here. This will turn your workspace into a place to display your favorite things while meeting those deadlines.
10: Stay Organized
If you have a limited amount of space, it's vital that you keep all of your belongings organized. With little to no storage room, things can easily become messy, especially in a workspace. Since you want your makeshift office to blend in with the rest of your home, make sure it doesn't stand out like a sore thumb thanks to piles of papers and office supplies strewn about. Set aside a bit of your office shopping budget to pick up some sleek wall organizers and a good-looking drawer system. This will do wonders when your desk is on full display.
Hidden Bar (With Storage!)
Concealed behind pocket doors that help it blend into the wall when not in use, this bar boasts remarkably rich storage despite its small size. It not only includes storage for 32 bottles of wine, a full supply of spirits, and glassware and other essentials, but even features integrated lighting.
Happily on Display
Creating balance in your small space is key. A good tip for this design style is to create balanced lines with shelving. Parallel lines allow the eye to maintain stability and anchor the space, no matter how big or small. Add a few fun accents, like affordable vases in pops of turquoise, and you're good to go!
Tiny Office for Two
To create a home office in her tiny home, Killy Scheer of Frisson Design hung a curtain from the main room's ceiling. When the curtain was open, the office felt spacious enough for both work-at-home spouses. When it was closed, Scheer and her husband could forget work and enjoy their living room.
For the minimalist at heart, consider a very streamlined closet-turned-office in your home. The vertical area inside the closet visually extends the space. A few coats of white paint and clean door edges will create a built-in design aesthetic that sheds any idea of "this used to be a closet."
Chic Closet Conversion
Even the tiniest closet can provide ample storage space for a home office. This hall closet is equipped with desk and storage bins. The always-functional shoe holder provides pockets for everything a working woman needs when conducting business from home.
Double the Use
To free up square footage in this kids' shared bedroom, the closet was outfitted both as a clothes-hanging space and as a concealed workstation for crafts and homework. The central column provides open storage as well as a child-height desktop. To add flair to the space and break up the dark charcoal color throughout the rest of the room, the closet's walls were painted red-orange.
Create more space in the baby’s room by tucking all your nursery needs in the closet. Lisa Janvrin, owner of YouthfulNest, designed this adorable space that includes a changing table and drawers for baby supplies. The clothing rack above the changing table is all you need for a little wardrobe.
9 to 5 in a Closet
Many small space dwellers work from home, and getting those creative juices flowing while maintaining an efficient schedule is key. Gregory Han, managing editor of Unplggd, works out of his super-small closet that is masked as a truly functional and well-designed office. Best tips – embracing the height of the closet by using the vertical space (bookshelves for storage) as well as adding color tones.
Many small apartments feel bigger and better when the doors come off. If using a closet as an office, take off the doors and paint the inside the same shade as the main room for a cohesive, stylish vibe that blends in seamlessly. Photo courtesy of Lonny Magazine and photographer David Land.
Talk about a short commute. And who needs an expensive wardrobe when you can work in your PJs? This unused closet was transformed into an attractive home office with the help of a few shelves and wallpaper.
Bold and Compact
An unused closet is given new life as a trendy, efficient home office. A combination desk/storage unit provides enough workspace and storage to keep up with everyday needs.