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Stylish home office ideas for small living rooms

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Samuel Hurley
Stylish home office ideas for small living rooms

More and more of us are working from home. And it’s a trend that looks set to continue.

For many of us it may not be that all of our time will be spent WFH, but we’ll certainly be home often enough to need a dedicated office space.

That uncomfortable spot hunched over the laptop on the sofa just won’t cut it any longer. There has to be a better way.

In an ideal world, of course, we’d convert a spare room into a spacious, private working space, complete with its own stylish office sofa. But, for most of us, we’ll have to settle for carving out a space in the living room as our best bet.

The living room is usually the largest room in the house – but it’s also very much a shared room and the last thing you want to do is ruin the look, feel and flow of it by just wedging a desk wherever it will fit.

So, how can you combine the need to maintain the comfort of your living room with your need for a professional area that you can get down to work at?

Here are 10 simple but stylish ways to create an office in your living room when square footage is at a premium.

1. Snuggle up to your sofa

When your living room is short on space, you can make the most of what you have by ‘layering up’ your furniture.

Often your room will have unused space behind its sofa, if this is not positioned against a wall. This area of the room will perfectly accommodate a narrow desk.

By placing a thin rug under your workspace, and positioning a table lamp on the desk, you can give the work area a feel that is separate from the rest of the room.

Another way you can use your sofa to create your office is to place your desk by the side of it. This gives you the workspace you need and a handy side table to use when you are relaxing on the sofa.

2. Create a wall-length office

In a narrow, short room you can use one entire wall to create your home office.

By using thin desks, narrow cabinets, floating shelves and unobtrusive storage you can create a clean, uninterrupted line that spans the room. The effect is to make it fade into the background rather than intrude into the room.

For families, this provides the perfect way to give everyone a desk to work at. By setting up multiple desks along the wall you can create space for kids and adults to sit at when they need to focus. Using a series of matching chairs and desks will help unify the look of your linear home office.

3. Make use of an alcove

Alcoves in your room offer the perfect space to squeeze in a desk. It will hardly jut out at all into the room, thanks to the existing indented space created by the alcove.

These spaces are often found next to a fireplace, or next to where a fireplace used to be.

To make the area appear even less obtrusive you can use a floating shelf as your workstation. This gives a greater illusion of space as there is no clutter caused by the desk’s legs acting as floor to surface supports.

Place more floating shelves above for storage for your work or for computer peripherals, such as printers.

Alternatively, you can use a feature mirror to give the impression of depth from the office nook you have created.

4. Cling to a corner

Another ready-made spot that you can use for your home office is offered by the corners of your room, particularly those near a window.

This provides the perfect place to tuck away your desk and also offers a very pleasant, light area to work at and do your blue-sky thinking from.

If you select your furniture carefully, to match and blend in with the rest of your room’s style, the workspace will appear as part of the overall design.

A desk-wide gallery wall of pictures or family photos will help to unify this corner.

5. Book your slot

Tall, busy bookcases in a living room already have something of the feel of study and work. Placing a desk in front of a bookcase makes a natural choice, that feels unimposing and is obscured from view by the higgledy-piggledy piles of spines that face it.

Choose a minimalist desk that is as insubstantial as possible – thin legs and narrow surface in an unassuming dark colour – and the desk will hardly interrupt your gaze.

And should you need a break from work, you can pick your bedtime reading for the next few weeks.

6. Go impromptu

It may be that you don’t actually need something permanent at all.

By going small you can create a dedicated work area without taking up hardly any space. Rather than a full-on desk, consider tucking a small round table into an unused corner of your room. This gives you a place where you can set up your laptop or flick through your paperwork without disturbing the look or feel of your family room.

Indeed, it may be that the kids will also use this space for their homework when you are not beavering away.

For something even more minimal, use a table that is designed to stow away when not in use and just pull it out when you need it.

7. Seek consolation

Consoles need not just be for vanity. They function perfectly well as a desk in any living room.

Many consoles are narrow enough to consider using against walls in hallways or passageways that lead to doors.

Try placing a console near an entrance or hallway to turn the empty space of a wall area into a simple and stylish office spot.

For a console that almost melts into the wall, why not opt for a floating console and choose its surface to match those of the floor or the wall? Place a carefully themed selection of prints above the console to discreetly draw the eye upwards and away from it.

8. Rise to the challenge

Increasingly, many office spaces are incorporating standing workstations as the nation suffers from bad back problems caused by poor postures and far too much sitting hunched over a PC.

Caring for your spinal column and saving space in your living room could join forces if you create a standing desk. This could be a narrow, bar height desk that you use while standing.

Of course, if you need to pull up a pew, a tuck away bar stool or two would do the job.

9. Screen it off

Room dividers can provide an elegant way to keep a section of the room private and are also great options for those who just know that they can’t maintain a tidy workstation.

With a divider in place, you can work in as much mess as you like without disturbing the serene feel of your living room.

Another option, if the folding doors of divider screens, seem a bit solid is to use curtains to provide a more ethereal divide between your work and living area.

For both options, you are able to carefully maintain the look and feel of your living room with the careful choice of style and colour.

10. Be proud

If you have created an office area that you are proud of, why try and hide it by blending it into the room. Sometimes, it can work just as well to make it feel distinct and give it an identity of its own within the room.

The simplest way to do this is to use wallpaper to personalise the small office space you have created – but the same effect could be created with paints or with distinct flooring.

Working from home

Whether it’s for working from home, tackling paperwork or getting the kids to do their homework, having a study area at home is important to nearly all of us.

It really doesn’t matter if you have a dedicated room in your home for this at all. We have suggested many ways you can create a workstation in your living room without spoiling the look and feel you have created for the main living space in your home.

The key to achieving this is the clever use of space. With a bit of thought, a lot of planning and a splash of creativity, a home office in the living room is within reach of all of us.

Ready to get started? Browse our range of modern sofas in a box, including two-seater office sofas and stylish office armchairs.
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