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5 Tips for Creating a Small Home Office

5 Tips for Creating a Small Home Office

Big dreams can come from tiny offices. Get the most out of your remote working experience and set yourself up for success with these small home office ideas.


Save Space by Sticking to Office Essentials

By streamlining your desk accessories, you can clear tons of elbow room and center your focus. And across every line of work, there are a few office staples – pun intended. Lighting is chief among these essentials, especially in a small office that can quickly feel cramped. To save desk space, suspend a pendant, shine a slender floor lamp in the corner, or install a wall sconce with a retractable arm.


Apply that simple, practical thinking across your space. Letter trays, binders, and filing cabinets can work in a pinch, but try relying on digital tools. Corral your scissors and stamps to a sorter, especially if a wall organizer is an option. If there’s space left on your wall, add art, photos, or reminders that will inspire you each day — one large scale piece will add to the impression of a larger office. A message board can allow you to have the best of both worlds: one piece, zero clutter, and lots of room for personality. For the same reason, invest in hanging planters for your leafy guys.


Check out 10 Ways to Make Working From Home More Productive to achieve a small-but-mighty workspace.


Empower Your Office With Efficient Furniture

Small Office Furniture

When you find office furniture that fits your layout and your lifestyle, it’s a beautiful thing. For a small office, that means tall pieces that draw eye up and slim pieces that allow more light to pass through. For example, make a small home office desk out of a wall mount or floating shelf. The sleek, minimal design doesn’t sacrifice floor space, plus you can set up shop as needed. A ladder desk can be a convenient alternative, with the base shelf acting as a work surface and its higher shelves providing storage.


As for seating, bring in something low and compact like a garden stool or pouf — these small office solutions can be tucked away under your desk or travel around the room as a side table. Need some height? Bring in a swivel chair or one with casters. It’ll also help you to feel more productive and less confined, especially if it’s armless. With a bit more square-footage, you can even pull in a daybed, reading chair, or bench — all great for extra seating or taking a break. By using modern furniture with clean lines, you can ensure the size and shape don’t overpower the office.


Check out the Best Office Furniture for Small Spaces for more specific recommendations.


Maintain Focus With a Neutral Palette

Small Office Colors

Once you’ve narrowed down your furniture, so to speak, relax your color scheme. In a small home office design, an airy aesthetic will prevent you from feeling claustrophobic. Reflective whites or cool tones of blue or green can trick your eyes into thinking the walls are receding, which makes your office appear larger and can help you feel more productive. Keeping any patterns within neutral shades of black, cream, or grey will add visual interest to your office without demanding attention.


A crisp, clean workspace isn’t inspiring for everyone, especially creative types. Textiles are the perfect finishing touch to energize a small office with warmer tones while still serving a purpose. For example, bring in red or brown with a comfy blanket, a sturdy rug to cushion your feet, or a pair of curtains for light control. If you prefer a monochrome workspace, you can shake things up with the texture in furniture details or flowers. To save space, dress up an accent wall with an art gallery or subtly patterned wallpaper.


With a balanced palette, a small home office can really help your creativity to flourish. We have a whole guide on productive office colors coming soon to help you choose a cohesive scheme.


Organize Your Thoughts With Decorative Office Storage

Small Office Storage

Clutter tends to overwhelm any sense of productivity, but there are endless home office storage ideas for small spaces. The transparency of stackable acrylic trays or suspended mason jars will help you spot your paperclips and post-its right away – that way you don’t disrupt your workflow by wandering off in search of them. To refresh your office with natural elements, looks at woven or wooden baskets and bins, which slide in anywhere physically and stylistically. If you prefer decorative boxes for a bit more visual contrast, consider color coding your containers to keep your office aesthetic looking tidy and cohesive. In a tiny home office, hang a pegboard to free up surface area. And don’t overlook cable management, like cord ties and covers, to avoid stressful clusters of wires.


Even in the average size home office, storage helps to establish work-life boundaries by keeping office supplies out of sight. Check out more Genius Home Office Organization Ideas to benefit from the mental wellness that comes from a clean workspace.


Make the Most of an Existing Layout

Small Office Layout

If your remote work is temporary, consider combining spaces to introduce a small home office layout. Weigh the pros and cons of any square footage available – a cozy closet, a well-lit window seat, an awkward alcove. Any nook can be hidden with a stylish curtain or zoned off with a rug or bookcase.


In an entryway, your home office benefits from surrounding decor you already have in place, like the light from a mirror or the storage of a catchall bowl. For a quick living room office, slide a desk with a keyboard tray behind your couch or a c-table alongside it. Both are ideal for snacks when you’re off duty. On that note, swapping out your current coffee table for a lift-top model is a smart desk substitute and savvy long-term investment for storage (think remotes and blankets).


A dining room is set up to be the perfect home office, already equipped with a table and chairs. In a one-room studio, a pub table can also serve as your dining area, while the height will limit any bulk. The same goes for a bistro set, which makes an ideal shared workspace. If shared living space is distracting, you might prefer a bedroom home office. It’s quiet, closed off, and your bedside computer desk can double as a vanity and nightstand. For the same reason, a guest room makes a convenient home office, and gives visitors a private place to check email while they’re away.


For more ways to convert existing spaces into a home office, check out our guide on How to Set Up a Home Office Anywhere.

Even when you’re working with a small layout, it’s important for your home office to feel fully productive. By mastering the art of flexibility, you can fit all the equipment you need to be firing on all cylinders. Check out more small Home Office Decor Ideas to help design your dream workspace.