Just because your home or apartment is small, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a productive work space.
Even if you don’t earn money from home, you likely still need a spot to pay bills, store files, and stash a few office supplies. Here are 30 small home office ideas to help you create a work space that inspires.
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1. Look for an existing alcove
Alcoves, (indentations in the wall) are the perfect spots for a compact desk and a cozy office space. In the picture below, the homeowner used the space under their stairs and added a built-in shelf for a work space. If you don’t want to add a built-in, a small table or desk would do fine.
This homeowner found an awkward 3 x 3 spot and made the most of it with vertical shelves and a small counter space.
2. Create an alcove with bookcases
If you don’t have an existing alcove, create one with a couple bookcases or cabinets. Do you have two matching bookcases in different areas of your home? Try positioning them together, just far enough apart from each other to allow room for a small desk between them. (Hint: use a console table between them – see #15 below)
3. Find a corner
Corners are also good spots for a work space. In the picture below, they utilized a tiny corner near the entryway.
You wouldn’t think that tiny space could hold a home office, but by adding some shelves (like these) or a wall mounted office supply storage system like the one pictures below, a little corner like that can be really maximized.
4. Use space in front of a window
Since a desk is low enough not to obstruct a window, this is a good place for one. Plus you get an office with a view!
5. If you can spare a closet…
This is one of our favorite small home office ideas. Of course, you have to decide which you need more, an office or a closet, but often the stuff we have stored in a hall or guest room closet can be stored elsewhere. If you can empty one, consider sliding in a desk and some shelves for a cute office space that you can simply close the door on when your work is done.
Here’s some product ideas to help you get this look:
6. Behind a couch
7. In a laundry room
Do you have a large laundry room? Some have a counter or clothes folding area that can be modified into an office space.
8. Try a floating desk
If you don’t have the floor space for a desk, consider hanging a floating desk on the wall. These provide ample work space, plus they have cubbies for storage of a few office supplies.
9. Mount a fold down desk
Among the best small home office ideas are those that utilize fold-down desks (like this one, pictured below) They’re compact, fold up and out of the way when not in use, and are an easy way to gain some desk space in a tiny area.
10. Use a nesting desk
A nesting desk slides out when you need to use it and tucks back in out of the way when you don’t. This one has wheels, making it very convenient to use.
11. Choose a desk with open legs
Furniture with open legs, as opposed to solid pieces, work better in small spaces. Since you can see under them, they don’t break up the room. A clean, simple design, like this Parsons desk is a good choice. It comes in a variety of colors (even teal!) and you can always give it personality with some desk accessories.
12. Use a dining table
If you have a very small space, consider combining your dining area and office into one space. The small dining table below has shelves on the side where you can store office supplies, plus an expandable section for use when eating or working. When you’re done with your office work, simply close up the laptop, break open the
second bottle of wine and start dining!
13. Turn a door into a desk space
When it comes to small home office ideas, we thought this DIY project was a great one! Not only is this door-turned-desk portable, but you can attach hooks to the other side so it’s also a coat rack AND it makes a cool room divider. For the tutorial to make this desk with shelves from a door, click here.
14. Use a sofa table instead of a desk
Whether you put your desk behind the sofa or not, a slim sofa or console table makes a great desk for a small space. Their narrow shape takes up less floor space and makes a smaller footprint in the room. I love the elegance of this one:
15. Use a rolling desk
A rolling desk makes a handy office in a small space. There’s room for your laptop, plus room for some office supplies and files. When you’re not using it, just roll it into a closet or corner somewhere out of the way. If you end up not needing it as a work space down the road, you can always use for a craft station or storage, making it one of the more versatile small home office ideas.
16. Use a lap desk
If you have a laptop computer, you really don’t need a designated desk. Any surface you put your computer on becomes a desk space. If space is really tight, consider a lap desk that you can use on the couch, or even in bed. I like the one below because the legs fold down for easy storage and there’s even a compartment to store a few desk supplies.
17. Swap out your nightstand
When you’re living in small quarters, multifunctional furniture is key. If you read our 50 space saving tips for small bedrooms article, you know how we harp on making your nightstands double as dressers, desks, or vanity tables. So on that note, one of the most practical small home office ideas is to choose a bedside table that can double as a desk.
A small, open bottomed side table or small desk would work for this. The small Ikea computer desk below is a good option for this purpose.
Small Home Office Ideas for Storage
Whatever surface you use for your laptop, it may lack storage spots for your files and all your office supplies, so below are a few small home office ideas concerning storage.
18. Use a cart
Put all your office supplies on a cart like this one, and wheel it out when you need it and back in a closet or a corner when you don’t.
19. Make an office in a bench
Transform a bench into a compact office by making a few simple modifications. Click the pin for a full tutorial on how to do it.
20. Toss what you don’t need
In a small space, there isn’t room to keep what you don’t need. Extra papers and receipts just clutter up your work area, so shred or toss what you don’t need to keep.
The same goes for office supplies. Maybe you got a great deal on paper clips and bought 5000 of them, but do you really need that many? Donate what you don’t use regularly to a teacher. They’ll thank you and your small home office space will feel less small.
After purging your supplies and papers, organize what’s left using some of the tips below. Maybe your space can look like this:
Gorgeous, isn’t it? It’s office porn, I tell ya’!
21. Try a file storage ottoman
Here’s a genius idea. If you’ve read our 30 Fab Tips for Decorating a Small Living Room, you know how much we love ottomans. Store your files in one (this one is made for that) and use it as an extra seat or a side table.
(Pssst! Money saving tip for you – this pictured ottoman is beautiful and already set up for file storage, but if it’s a little too pricey for you, watch the video below to see how to convert a regular ottoman into one that can store files. You’re welcome.)
22. Convert baskets to file storage
Another attractive way to store your files is with baskets. Just take a basket that’s the right size (like this one), add a hanging folder frame and you have a way to hide ugly file folders that’s pretty enough to display.
Here’s some products you can use to make those tidy little file storage baskets:
23. Use drawer dividers and desk organizers
It’s easier to find things and put them back where they go if everything has a place. Get some drawer dividers and wrangle all your pens into one spot, highlighters in another, paper clips and tape in another, and so on. Have a particular spot for each type of item and it will be easier to remember where things go and keep your work space organized.
You could even make your own drawer organizers out of various sized boxes. Watch this video to see a clever way to do it.
24. Utilize wall storage
One of the best space saving tips for any room is to go vertical with your storage and that applies to small home office ideas too. Hang a couple office file storage accessories on the wall for papers you need to keep accessible. The one pictured below adds some bling to your space.
25. Color coordinate your desk accessories
This may not seem like one of the more important small home office ideas, but trust me, it will put a smile on your face every time you look at your desk if you do this. Don’t go hog wild and buy accessories you don’t need just because they’re cute, but do think about what you could really use and try to buy items that coordinate together and reflect your style.
If matching desk accessories aren’t in your budget, you can coordinate your existing desk supplies by giving them a makeover with paint. This short video shows how one gal gave her desk some bling with gold spray paint.
This is a boring black desk tray that I did a makeover on with Washi tape. It’s very easy and you can easily color coordinate your mismatched desk accessories for a more cohesive look, all with Washi tape.
Finally, this short video from BHG gives a few more small home office ideas to help you create an organized work space.
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