Over the past year, home offices have become more important and more ubiquitous than ever before. A huge number of people now work from home, making a dedicated workspace a must for millions of professionals around the country.
Luckily, home offices can be squeezed into the smallest of spaces. With just a little creativity and a bit of organisation, you can transform an unused corner of your home into the perfect place for working, meeting, collaborating and generally taking care of business.
To help you achieve the workspace you need, and give your home a stylish extra feature, we’re taking a look at some of the best small home office ideas out there.
1. Change your layout
Changing the layout of your room can help to reveal unused areas and give you the extra square footage you need to fit in a workspace. Clear out cupboards and drawers to free up space and remove any items of furniture you no longer need or use.
Once your room is down to its most essential items, have a look around to see if there is anywhere you could squeeze in a desk or build a workstation. Home offices can be installed in the smallest of spaces. All you really need is room for a computer and a chair and you’re good to go.
2. Create an office in an alcove
Building your home office in an alcove is a great way to save space and keep your workstation out of the way. A lot of period properties in the UK have alcoves on both sides of the chimney breast. These are often wide enough to accommodate either a free standing or built in desk.
You can make even more use of this space by installing shelves above your desk for office storage, books or ornaments.
3. Turn a shelf into a workstation
Shelves can work really well as home workstations. As they don’t have legs, shelves don’t really take up any extra floor space and so can be easily installed in rooms where square footage is at a premium.
If you want a little flexibility in your home office – and you have the wall space available – you could install two sets of shelves, one higher than the other. If one of your shelves is more or less at waist height and the other at chest height, you can use one when sitting and the other when standing. This can be good for your back and help you to create a more ergonomic work area.
4. Create an office in a cupboard
A cupboard is another great place for a small home office. One of the real benefits of building an office in a cupboard is that, at the end of the day, you can close a door on your workspace and create a little separation between the office and the rest of your home.
In order for your cupboard office to be comfortable and practical, it needs to have a light fitting and power sockets. It should also be large enough to accommodate your desk and chair, even when the door is closed.
5. Add some clever home office storage ideas
When you look at home office décor ideas for small spaces, you’ll see that storage is always one of the most important considerations. Look for furnishings that are designed with built in storage in mind. For example, desks with integrated cupboards and drawers can provide valuable space for storing files, hard drives and other office essentials.
6. Build a space saving desk
Building a desk yourself will allow you to create a workstation that perfectly fits your space. This will ensure you’re able to make use of every available square inch and really make the most of your home.
The easiest desks to self-build are probably shelf-style workstations. All you need for one of these is a few shelf brackets and a flat piece of wood. If you’re really short on space, you could put the shelf on hinges so that it can be folded neatly away at the end of the working day. Place your space-efficient desk in an alcove, cupboard, bedroom or anywhere else you can find a few square feet.
7. Utilise your hallway
If your hallway is wide enough, you could think about using some of it as a home office space. Start by looking for alcoves and other nooks that would lend themselves easily to being transformed into a work area. If there’s nowhere obvious for your office to go, install a narrow desk, or build a shelf desk, along one of your hallway walls.
As the hallway is a thoroughfare, you’ll need to make sure that your office chair can fit snugly under the table, otherwise it could cause a trip hazard.
8. Make full use of ceiling height for storage
Making full use of your ceiling height can help you to get more from your smaller property. Build bookshelves, cupboards and other storage solutions all the way from the floor to the ceiling to ensure no part of your property is wasted. Bespoke units are often the best option for built in storage as they allow you to make full use of all available wall space.
9. Invest in furniture designed for small spaces
When furnishing your small office room, lookout for pieces that are specifically designed for smaller spaces. Investing in small but perfectly formed sofas, desks and storage units will help you to fit everything you need into the space and ensure nothing looks out of place.
Often, investing in small furnishings allows you to get more out of your office than you expected. For example, buying a small sofa that doubles up as a sofa bed will allow you to use your work area as a spare room next time friends and family come to stay.
10. Mount your furniture on the walls
Wall mounted furniture is one of the best modern home office ideas you’ll come across. Attaching your desk, cupboards and shelves directly to the wall gives the impression your furnishings are floating and helps to create the illusion of space.
Having your furniture mounted to the wall can also make it easier to keep your floor clean and clutter free. This can help to make your work area both more attractive and more relaxing.
11. Differentiate your space
Whether you’re creating a home office in a small spare room or turning part of your living area into a workstation, differentiating between the separate spaces in your home will help make it easier to maintain a good work/life balance.
If possible, build your home office in a room that you can close off at the end of the day. If you don’t have a spare room available, installing plenty of storage will allow you to pack your computer, files and documents away when the workday is done. This can help to get both your mind and body out of the office.
12. Build into your bookcase
If you’re good at DIY, or have a friend who can confidently wield a screwdriver, you could build a desk into your bookcase. As far as space saving home office desk ideas go, this is probably one of the more ambitious. However, done well, an integrated desk and bookcase can look truly fantastic and provide you with all the storage space you could ever require.
13. Make it multifunctional
Often, the key to a successful small office space is making it multifunctional. Creating an office that can double up as a snug, a guest room, a playroom or a dining room will help you get more from your home when the workday is done.
Installing a sofa bed in your home office will allow you to use it both as a snug and as a guest room. A fold-away desk will make it easy to transform the space into a playroom while investing in a large, table-sized desk will allow you to invite friends and family to socialise in your workspace once your computer has been put away.
14. Go clutter free
Keeping your small workspace clutter free will help you to keep a clear mind when you’re working and ensure your home office looks professional on video calls. Again, installing adequate storage is generally the best way to clear the clutter. However, you may also want to think about having a major clear out before you begin installing your new workspace.
15. Add some greenery
A little greenery can make a huge difference to even the smallest of spaces. If you don’t have any floor to spare, place a hanging plant on a shelf or windowsill. If you do have room for a larger pot, think about investing in a big feature plant that will have a real impact on the space.
Not only do plants look good, they also help to purify the air and create a warm, welcoming aesthetic.
16. Make the most of natural light
Where possible, always incorporate as much natural light as you can into your small home office. Studies have shown that natural light is incredibly beneficial to people working on computers. Having good exposure to sunlight can help to boost concentration and improve productivity, it will also help to make you feel happier and less stressed while you’re at your desk.
If your desk can’t be located next to a window, think about putting up some large wall mirrors to reflect the ambient light and make the space feel brighter. Painting walls white or light grey will also help to make your work area feel as airy as possible.
17. Buy stylish furniture
As your home office is an integral part of your living space, it needs to look as good as the rest of your property. Putting some time and effort into your interior design is a good way to ensure the space feels well thought out and looks attractive. A big part of this interior design will be your furnishings. Investing in a desk, chair and storage units that are stylish as well as practical will help you to create a truly fantastic home office space.
When buying your furnishings, try not to restrict yourself to pieces that have been designed specifically for offices. All too often, purpose-built office furniture is clunky, chunky and generic. Instead, look for pieces that have been designed with aesthetics in mind. A stylish small table can often be used as a desk and a dining chair as an office chair. This can help you to create a much more contemporary look in your office and help your workspace to really stand out from the crowd.
18. Repurpose existing pieces
If you’re working to a tight budget, consider repurposing existing pieces of furniture before you start buying new items. Have a look around your house to see if you have a small table that could double up as a desk or a shelf that can be repositioned to make a workstation. Any comfortable, ergonomically designed chair can be used as an office chair, and you can use all different types of cupboards and shelves as storage.
Getting a little creative with your existing pieces of furniture could help you to save money and build a unique, personalised work space at the same time.
19. Add colour
Adding a little colour can help to brighten up your small office room and give it a bit of character. Paint the walls in your favourite bright tone to give your workspace a bold splash of colour or, for a more subtle look, select an accent shade to run through your accessories and furnishings.
If your work area is located in a bedroom, hallway or living space, painting the walls immediately around your desk can help to define it. This can also help you to differentiate between your office and living space and keep the two areas that little bit more distinct.
20. Create a home office for two
If more than one person in your house works from home, why not combine your work areas by creating a mini office? While an office space for two will inevitably be bigger than an office for one, combining workstations should still help to save valuable space. What’s more, having someone to share the work area with can help to improve your home office experience and make your new desk area into a more sociable space.
Consider investing in a large desk that can be pulled out during the day to create a spacious work area and then pushed against a wall or sofa at night to maximise living space. Alternatively, you could place your desks side by side, or, if you have a dedicated office room, have your desks facing opposite walls to minimise opportunities for distraction.
How can I decorate my office room?
Decorating an office room should be quick, easy and straightforward. In most cases, it’s best to keep things simple. An uncluttered, neutral space will help you to concentrate and look professional on video calls and meetings. Paint walls a light, neutral tone and, if possible, locate your desk close to a natural light source. This will help you to stay energised throughout the day and create a relaxing place to work.
How can I make my home office look good?
Make your home office look stylish and contemporary by investing in good quality furnishings and keeping it as clutter free as possible. Installing adequate storage will help you to keep files, electronics and other office paraphernalia out of sight when they’re not in use.
A well-designed desk and an ergonomic chair will help to make your home office comfortable and stylish at the same time, while a few well-chosen houseplants will brighten up the space and give it a more welcoming feel.
How do I make an office space in my bedroom?
Virtually any room in the house can be adapted to incorporate a home office. If you’re creating a home office in your bedroom, try to orientate it so that your desk is facing a window. As well as giving you a bit of a view and a dose of natural light, this can make it easier to concentrate.
If you don’t have room for a full desk, you could install a low shelf on your wall and work from there. If space is really at a premium, put the shelf on hinges so you can fold it down and out of the way at the end of the day.
Take a look at our Bedroom Sofa Buying & Style Guide for more ideas on how to design your small space.
How can I build a small office space at home?
As office spaces can be very small and compact, you don’t need a lot of room to create an effective workspace at home. Think about installing a desk in a spare room, a small worktable in the living room or, if you’re very short on space, a wide, low shelf in your bedroom or even your hallway.
A 2-seater sofa is a great option for a small office space. Helping to make your work area more comfortable and more welcoming, small sofas can add a bit of personality and style to any interior. Use our handy guide to learn how to choose an office sofa for a small space.