How Do You Make a Home Office in a Small Space?

By Robert David Orr / Last updated: Jan 17, 2022

With so many people making their living working from home, the need for a home office has skyrocketed. However, not everyone has a spare guest bedroom, so how do you make a home office in a small space? With housing and rent prices rising steadily, extra square footage is hard to come by. Still, anyone who works at home knows that a dedicated office space is crucial to productivity.

To make a home office in a small space you need to get creative and maximize the available space effectively. When space is limited you can build your office vertically, make use of unused corners, mount your desk or shelves to hold office equipment to walls, or creating multiple functions for one area. 

It might not be as easy as moving a bunch of office furniture into an empty room, but making a home office in a small space is TOTALLY doable.

Utilize handy desks and desk-adjacent surfaces to carve out your own dedicated home office space, even if that means thinking outside the box. A tiny, quiet office nook is better than a loud, spacious centralized area.

Creating a Functional Home Office in a Small Space

used by permission from TheTiniestOffice
used by permission from TheTiniestOffice

For those of us who do not have extra bedrooms to convert into luxurious home offices, we have to look into other spaces in our homes and apartments to set up shop. With innovation and ingenuity, any blank space can become a small home office.

Some examples include:

The goal is not to add to the clutter of an already hectic space, but to streamline efficiency by implementing built-in storage, unconventionally shaped desks, and wall-mounted surfaces when possible. You want to have enough room to work comfortably without halting the goings on of your living quarters.

Get Creative with Small Office Spaces

When most people think of a home office, they think of a dedicate room with plenty of storage, a large desk with ample space and multiple monitors, and lots of room to roll around in a ergonomic office chair.

Unfortunately, that is not the reality for most of us actually working at home.

With so many people making their living working from home, the need for a home office has skyrocketed.

With housing and rent prices rising steadily, extra square footage is hard to come by. Still, anyone who works at home knows that dedicated office space is crucial to productivity. 

However, not everyone has a spare guest bedroom, so how do you make a home office in a small space?

If you need a home office but do not have much space to spare, don’t worry – there are solutions.

It just takes some creativity. That could mean taking advantage of unused corners, mounting office equipment to walls, or creating multiple functions for one area. 

It might not be as easy as moving a bunch of office furniture into an empty room, but making a home office in a small space is doable. Utilize handy desks and desk-adjacent surfaces to carve out your own dedicated home office space, even if that means thinking outside the box. A tiny, quiet office nook is better than a loud, spacious centralized area.

Creating a Functional Home Office in a Small Space

For those of us who do not have extra bedrooms to convert into luxury home offices, we have to look into other spaces in our homes and apartments to set up shop. With innovation and ingenuity, any blank space can become a small home office

Some examples include:

  • Placing a flip-down desk in an office hallway
  • Creating an office space in a walk-in closet or cupboard
  • Attaching a floating console table to the wall

The goal is not to add to the clutter of an already hectic space but to streamline efficiency by implementing built-in storage, unconventionally shaped desks, and wall-mounted surfaces when possible. You want to have enough room to work comfortably without halting the goings-on of your living quarters. 

Get Creative with Small Office Spaces

When most people think of a home office, they think of a dedicated room with plenty of storage, a large desk with ample space and multiple monitors, and lots of room to roll around in an ergonomic office chair. Unfortunately, that is not the reality for most of us actually working at home

However, if you don’t have a ton of space to work with, don’t think you have to miss out on a dedicated workspace. It might just look different than you initially imagined it in your childhood dreams of freelancing. 

Eliminate What You Don’t Need

One of the best things you can do when you work from home is to get rid of things you do not need. Working from home is a blessing for many people, but it can also create a weird situation where the work-life balance becomes perpetually blurred.

Help yourself by selling, donating, or tossing items that you do not need. Not only will it make you breathe easier in your small space, but it will give you more area to work with. 

  • Empty out a coat or linen closet. 
  • Stop hoarding non-perishables in the pantry. 
  • Move your dusty holiday decorations out of the attic. 

Any one of these solutions could potentially open up ample room for you to implement a workstation. If you have an empty linen closet or coat closet, you can remove or rearrange shelving into a desk space. The same goes for a pantry or attic. Just ensure you have proper electrical wiring that will allow you to plug in your computer and desk lamp. 

When you are not using your desk, you can simply close the doors on it, and it disappears. Essentially, your home office would not take up any extra space at all. 

Rearrange Furniture to Make Space for Office Furniture

You probably like how your living room or bedroom is currently arranged. Well, that’s too bad. If you really need to make room for office furniture, it’s time to consider rearranging. You might like what you come up with.

It’s easy to arrange your furniture based on the limits set by the walls of your home or apartment. However, you can create your own boundaries using large furniture items or partitions. 

Split a room into a multifunctional space by allotting a small portion of it for home office use. You do not need much room for a functional home office space. If you work on a laptop computer, your actual desk can be quite small


Home Office in a Studio Apartment 

In a studio apartment, there are no extra rooms to speak of. However, in big cities like New York and San Francisco, studio apartments are relatively normal for singles and couples, many of whom work from home. If you live in a studio apartment, your home office options are not as limited as you might think. 

If you have a couch and TV set up in your studio apartment, scoot your couch away from the wall and use a console table, sofa table, or writing desk behind it. You will probably need a narrow one since most studio apartments have limited square footage. However, moving your couch away from the wall will open up quite a bit of space and allow for a small, hard surface on which to do your work. 

If you have a coffee table in your studio apartment, you can also use it as a work desk. Just be sure you are able to work on it for long periods comfortable without bending over and hurting your back. 

There are also laptop tables that you can use while sitting in bed. These do not take up much space in an already small apartment. The one downside is that you will be working in bed, which is not necessarily the best way to be productive. 

Turn Awkward Spaces into Dedicated Home Office Areas

Some homes have strange and awkward spaces that make you scratch your head and wonder what the builder or contractor was thinking. Usually, these spaces go unused for years, or they get designated as “junk” areas. Take advantage of these weird crannies by turning them into office spaces.

  • Nook under a staircase: You might not decorate under a staircase because no one is going to see your designs. Plus, these areas are usually not very inviting spaces. But you can work under a staircase quite easily. Bring in a floor lamp and desk and, voila, you have a home office and useful space.
  • Oddly shaped corners: Not all rooms are surrounded by four 90-degree corners. Some corners are angled strangely and seem too small to fit anything comfortably. However, you can have a piece of wood or other material custom fitted into any corner to act as a desk. 
  • Empty walls: All of the most beautifully decorated homes seem to have the best art on the walls. However, not every wall gets this expert treatment. If there is a section of your home with an empty wall, take advantage of it by installing a mounted desk and mounted shelving. You can fit everything you need for a home office on these items. 

If you do have corners available that are too small for any other function, space-saving L-shaped desks and corner desks are great options. When utilizing a corner, you can fit more desk area into a smaller space than you can when thinking in a straight line. 


Leick Home 23430 Chisel & Forge Corner Computer Desk with Dropfront Keyboard Drawer, Smoke Gray/Matte Black
Leick Home 23430 Chisel & Forge Corner Computer Desk with Dropfront Keyboard Drawer, Smoke Gray/Matte Black
Matte black finished metal base; X side design; Ball-bearing full entension drawer guides; Drop down drawer front
$319.99

Use Vertical Space When Floor Space Is Limited

If you need lots of storage for your work-from-home job, filing cabinets and large storage boxes are not always the best option when you have a small space. That is where vertical storage options save the day. 

When you mount shelving and storage to the wall, the only floor space you need is for your desk and your office chair, both of which can be compact. 

Forego a Traditional Desk for a Multifunctional Surface

The ideal solution is always to have a dedicated area where you can work without interruptions. However, if you do not have the money or the space to add an office desk to your home, you can always consider turning another surface into a multifunctional desk space. 

For example, your dining table might work for a temporary office desk if no one else is using it. Your kitchen bar can also be a good, flat surface to work on. When working on either one of these surfaces, try your hardest to think of it as your office rather than your kitchen table, though, or you might find your productivity faltering. 

Let in Plenty of Natural Light 

 No matter where you set up your desk, take advantage of all the natural light you can. If there is any chance to set up near a window, do it! Do you have a bay window that looks pretty but no one really uses? Convert that area into your home office immediately. Small hidden corners can often be dark and oppressive. Not only will the natural light boost your mood, but the light will make your space look and feel larger than it is. 

Lighting is important in any home office. Poor lighting causes headaches, eye strain, and makes it very hard to get work done. Even the largest office is going to feel unpleasant if the room is too dark and moody. Open blinds when possible. If there are no nearby windows to take advantage of, invest in lighting that mimics natural light. It really does make a difference. 

Next Steps

Want to join others who are creating the most amazing home offices and get more tips, tricks and hacks on how to make your home office the best it can be?

Join my brand new free private Facebook group, Home Office Hacks to connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best!

 

Robert David Orr

I'm an award-winning web designer & developer, creator, an all-around digital marketing guy and, most importantly when it comes to this site, a long-time veteran of the working from home life. My work from home life spans more than 10 years, and I've experimented with just about everything you can think of when it comes to getting the most out of my home office, how to work from home without going crazy, and found solutions to the numerous challenges that those of us who work from home run into in this life.

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