Whether you work at home full-time, have a hybrid work-from-home schedule, or simply always have some work to finish up at night, you have to make sure your home office space supports you no matter what size it is. Of course, not all spaces have room for a massive library, but there are ways to fit a small and functional home office into any tiny corner. In fact, some of our favorite small home office ideas actually fold up into a closet or a piece of furniture when you're not working.
Imagine tons of sunlight, clutter-free drawers, relaxing colors, and a desk chair that isn't from your dining room table. Having a dedicated space to work isn't just important for keeping your home organized. It can help break you out of the limitations that are holding you back from finishing a huge project or brainstorming ideas for a new one. An chic, organized work area boosts your productivity and makes you feel positive about getting things done.
To prove that you can make your work-from-home space work harder for you, we've pulled together the best small home office space ideas straight from designers. It can be hard to find the motivation to get started, especially when your options for working efficiently are limited. Your bed is not your office (your back deserves better than that!), and even when you're low on space, you can reimagine every inch for the better. From setting up a desk in the slot next to your fridge to upcycling an antique secretary, you won't regret a revamp inspired by one of these clever ideas. Ahead, discover stylish offices that'll make you rethink your work-from-home style.
Add Plants (Even Fake Ones!)
In interior designer Hannah Ozburn's Charlotte, North Carolina, home, a corner of the living room suffices as a writing nook. "The paper maché flower is one of my favorite accessories," she says. "I don't have a green thumb, so this is perfect for me!" Its color is a burst of energy that works beautifully with the Christopher Spitzmiller lamp and leopard print Mrs. Howard & Max & Co. chair; it also picks up the green from the den walls beyond.
Repurpose a Pantry
Your lunch break can feel so far away at times—but not if you prop yourself up in your kitchen! With everything you need in sight from a mug to a folder, this converted kitchen closet proves that you can make just about any space work-friendly with the right organizational tools and a comfortable, dedicated chair.
Display Your Collections
Designer Wesley Moon managed to pack a lot into this small home office area thanks to an eclectic mix of furnishings, storage, pretty decor, and a relaxing color palette. He updated an antique secretary with a white leather writing surface and decorated it with bell jars on top to play up the dreamy, whimsical vibe. This calming tableau is the break your eyes need from screen time.
Curate a Gallery
Whether it's in your childhood bedroom, a vacation home, or up in the attic, a window framed by an art gallery is the perfect spot for your desk. The sun streaming in through the woven wood shade in this small home office designed by Heather Chadduck makes answering emails a million times more pleasant. Window trim painted Green Blue by Farrow & Ball connects the space to the outdoors.
Install Vibrant Wallpaper
NYC-based design firm Studio DB is seasoned in maximizing small spaces. Here, the designers used a few of our favorite small home office ideas: They covered one wall of the corner in corkboard and mounted floating shelves. An L-shaped desk with two roomy built-in drawers offers plenty of surface space to spread out and storage for supplies.
Create a Conference Room
Skip installing a bench in your kitchen nook and set up your own at-home conference room like this one by Ariene Bethea. Grab a snack in the hallway, then take a call in this luxurious room with a view, which was part of a three-room suite in
House Beautiful's 2022 Whole Home.
Use the Vertical Space
By installing a shelving unit on the wall in an unused corner of his apartment, Tariq Dixon, cofounder of furniture brand TRNK, turned a tiny space into a writer's retreat.
Utilize a Stair Landing
Corey Damen Jenkins put this foyer loft to work by turning it into a useable alcove instead of wasted space. The shelves are lined with plenty of books for a small-scale library feel, and the low-hanging pendant adds task lighting for a small study area.
Take Over an Empty Space
Take over a walk-in closet or head upstairs to an attic to find a quiet place to get creative. Lay out an area rug to anchor the space and warm it up, dedicate your walls to mood boarding and brainstorming, and hang a whimsical light that sparks the imagination.
Paint It a Soothing Color
"Blue is one of those colors that just happens to flatter every skin tone. Is it because it's so prevalent in nature? Studies have also shown that blue helps you focus. It's a calming color, which is why I used it [here.] This particular shade has a little gray in it, and that makes it even more soothing," says interior designer Sheila Bridges.
Pull Back the Curtains
Nothing kills a good mood like staring at a blank wall all. day. long. If you can, cozy your desk up to a window—even a small one—then incorporate decor that speaks to your style. (If that's not an option, we have another natural light hack ahead!) Here, Ann Pyne worked with decorative painter Arthur Fowler to create the geometric pattern on the walls. "I think of the puzzle-like shapes as a metaphor—it's a game of fitting all these disparate 'treasures' into a graphically coherent whole," she says.
Repurpose a Floating Shelf
Fancy, it's not, but a floating shelf can provide you with a dedicated place to crank out work when you're short on space. Just be sure that it's deep enough to fit your laptop and installed at the proper height. Then slide over a chair and get emailing.
Keep It Clutter Free
If your home office doubles as your bedroom, kitchen, hallway, or really any room with another purpose, try to keep things as clutter-free as possible. Hide cords, relocate superfluous appliances, and stick to the classic formula of a desk, a table lamp, one accessory, and a chair. A console table with a slim profile is a great, less bulky alternative to a desk, as Reath Designs proves here.
Optimize Your Breakfast Nook
Though technically not a home office, this moody breakfast nook designed by Ray Attanasio has everything you need to get the job done, from comfortable seating to plenty of natural light. Plus, the baroque setting makes it feel like an old-timey library.
Or Optimize an Eat-In Kitchen
On the other hand, your could make the most of your eat-in kitchen by keeping surfaces clear and sliding up some stools to an airy window nook. This minimalist Fantastic Frank space is perfect for dining and working from home.
Hang a Mirror to Bounce Light
Follow Robert McKinley Studio's lead and add a mirror above your desk so you're not just staring at a blank white wall all day. Bonus points if you can arrange it so that the mirror reflects a window view.
Do an About Face
Make a centrally located home office feel more secluded by facing it away from the rest of the space, a move that increases productivity by keeping your task zones separate to help you stay focused. Though this living room by Les Ensembliers is an obvious hangout space, the window's quieter scene sets a less chaotic pace for work-from-home success.
Use Shiny Furniture to Act as a Mirror
If you're converting a windowless walk-in closet into a workspace—or carving out a small corner of a larger room—opt for glossy white lacquered cabinets and furniture. The high sheen imparts a mirror-like effect, reflecting light to make it feel like a larger, more open space. Designer Raji Radhakrishnan gave this home office some fun pops of vibrancy with primary-colored stools and a graphic rug.
Consider Hard-Working Antiques
Investing in a proper desk is a great place to start, but if space is an issue, don't corner yourself into buying a piece of furniture with only one purpose. An antique secretary with a drop-down writing surface, like this piece in a workspace by Jae Joo Design, has plenty of drawers and shelves to hide paperwork and other essentials but takes up way less space than a traditional desk when not in use.
Fold It Up
A DIY or custom fold-out desk is the best option for tiny work-from-home spaces where additional furniture just isn't in the cards. This bold yellow-and-blue version designed by Brockschmidt and Coleman shows us that small in size doesn't necessarily translate to small in style or personality.
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