Working from home is a dream for some people. You can earn your living without having to fight traffic, worry about a bad hair day, or answer emails in your pajamas. Others may need to complete projects at home, or answer work after-hours. Students may choose to work and study at home, versus cold or crowded study halls and libraries. If you need a work space in your home, but don’t have a spare room to convert, you can still carve out a functional, peaceful work area. Even the smallest space, like apartments or even tiny homes, can transform into a small, yet efficient, office space. With that said, here are 7 small home office ideas you can utilize today!
1. How will I use my home office?
Determine what you’ll use your home office for and who will be using it. If you’re a student, you may need a bit of extra desk space for larger projects or room for textbooks and a computer. Maybe need a space quiet enough to place or answer phone calls in queue. If you use Skype for your business, you’ll want the area to look professional, clean, and neat.
What you’ll be using your office for will determine how you place it, and where you can put it. If you need some peace and quiet to work from home, then you’ll want a private space with a door. If there are small children in your home, then that may determine office placement as well as what type of storage you’ll use. Finally, the type of computer you have will also weigh in on where you’ll put your home office. A desktop computer will need more space than a small Chromebook or tablet.
2. Clean out a closet
Image Source: Janelle Interiors
If you have a spare room, maybe a guest room, with a walk-in closet – or if you don’t use all the space of a master closet, you may be able to turn that space into a small office. A closet with a door can be great when you need privacy. Remove the items in your closet and place them in storage. Deep clean your space, including shampooing the carpet if needed. You can remove the clothing rods or hanger shelves, but if there are head-high shelves, you may find those useful for storage.
A small space can feel claustrophobic, so consider painting it a light pastel. Dark colors tend to make rooms feel smaller and closed in, and a bright white, while crisp and clean, might make your space feel too “clinical.” Pale blue or mint green are good, soothing colors that will make a small space feel bigger. Don’t forget lighting – sometimes closet lights can be dim, so either replace the light fixture or place a brighter desk lamp in your space.
When you’re looking for furniture for a closet home office, make sure to measure everything – and don’t forget the door! Depending on how your home is built, closet doors may have a thinner profile than “regular” doors – a large desk or one that won’t come apart may not fit. Another thing to keep in mind is how the closet door is configured. You may not be able to angle furniture around offset angles. When you’re constructing a home office in this space, consider furniture that you can take apart and assemble inside.
3. Turn an entryway into a decorative office
Image Source: Vita Design Group
If you can find a slim desk or a half-moon shaped side table, you may have the makings of a decorative, yet functional, hall office. While a large desktop computer or executive wheeled office chair may be awkward in an entryway, a side table with a backless chair tucked underneath can be functional yet non-obstructive. If you need storage space, consider placing storage ottomans underneath a rectangular side table. The ottomans can double as extra seating for guests.
Your desk chair can be a lovely slipper chair – or even a dining chair in a fun pattern. Set this off to the side in another corner when not in use to keep the hallway open. Many furniture stores sell odds and ends from full room packages at a discount, so you can get something nice for cheap if you’re just purchasing a single chair or end table.
If you need storage for papers, books, or office supplies, consider building high cabinets or cubby shelving above your desk/ side table. This keeps clutter out of sight, yet your work needs are still handy. If you have curious little hands in your house, keeping your pens, laptop, and important papers high up where they can’t reach will prevent mess or accidents. One large statement piece can be placed on your desk when not in use – keep it decorative yet easy to remove when it’s time for work.
4. Convert part of your attic or garage
You may not be able to fully convert an attic or garage into an office, but a partial remodel could give you a private, peaceful retreat to work. Consider turning a two-car garage into a one-car garage, and adding walls to enclose part of the garage. Before you start, consult a building contractor. If you need to add heating or cooling as well as electricity, you’ll need someone familiar with building codes.
You may find that your home was built with the intention of a homeowner finishing an attic after the initial sale, or you may find that you won’t be able to convert a garage into a workspace. Your contractor can tell you for sure. Services such as Angie’s List or the Nextdoor neighborhood app can help you find a reputable contractor in your area, and you may even be able to see before and after pictures or talk to the homeowner.
5. Carve out space in a family room
Image Source: Jessica Helgerson Interior Design
If you have an oversized “bonus” room or large den, you may be able to carve out a piece of the room for a workspace. Couches and loveseats can help delineate a separate workspace from the relaxing space. A corner of the room can comfortably fit an L-shaped desk, complete with cabinets and doors for storage.
You can also consider a room divider for your family room/ office. Many home décor places sell decorative trifold screens that can be an attractive eye-piece as well as a functional piece to create a semi-private space. This type of home office may be especially helpful for a stay at home parent, as they can work while supervising their child at play. If you keep your desk in a shared space, make sure that you can lock your drawers. If unable, then consider other options, including custom cabinetry, to secure valuable information.
6. Turn a nook into a cozy office
Image Source: Cummings Architects
Some homes have architectural details like nooks or “pop-outs”. Maybe a breakfast nook in your kitchen can be transformed into a cheery workspace. Built-in desks, attached to the wall, are an inexpensive option, and one that can be an easy weekend project. When you’re building a wall-desk into a nook, you can be assured that the desk will fit, as well as remain flush with the more forward section of the wall. Measure your space, then purchase the custom-cut piece of wood from your local lumberyard or home improvement store. You can sand it down and paint it at home – some larger stores will even rent tools such as a sander or drill. A coat of paint, and some sturdy brackets, and you’re in business!
Many paint and stains come in spray paint form, so you won’t have to spend hours hunched over rubbing or worry about uneven paint strokes. You can choose a color that blends into your wall, or decide on a bright pop of color for an accent. Make sure that you screw your brackets into the wall studs, versus the drywall. If you aren’t sure, there are several good youtube videos demonstrating this. Built-in bookshelves in the same color as your desk can really make an eye-catching area in your chosen room, as well as act as space-saving storage. If you want to conceal the little office area, you can even hang a curtain across the space when not in use.
7. Bring the office with you
Image Source: Styled By Kasey
If you have no nook, no extra closet, and no extra “real estate” in a den or family room, you can always bring the office with you. Consider converting a vintage cocktail cart into a rolling office. Store your laptop on it, as well as use some of the cup holder slots to hold decorative jars or glasses full of pens, pencils, and other office supplies. The bottom shelf can carry a printer or scanner, and the wine glass holders underneath the top tray can double as wrapped cord storage.
A pretty basket can hold papers and hanging files, and the cart can be taken wherever you go. You can use the trays as a desk, or put a small lap desk or TV tray with your cart. Instant office! The bonus is you can bring your office into a room with a closing door, or even go outside on a pretty day. Those cord holders can also carry extension cords for your electronics.
Make your small space work for you be carving out a creative home office solution with a bit of creativity and hard work.