Creative Small Home Office Ideas That Make Big Impact

Whether your home office is in an alcove or a small room, these tiny home offices have big function.

Published December 8, 2022
Small home office

A beautifully designed home office might feel out of reach if you have limited space. Rest assured, a thoughtfully designed and functional home office is well within your reach, no matter how little space you have to spare. With these small home office ideas, there are endless possibilities for taking your small space and turning it into the workspace of your dreams.

Small Home Office Ideas for Unused Spaces

If you lack a large space or a spare room, consider creative solutions for your home office location. Remember to focus on the elements you need most and how you can apply those needs to the space you choose.

Add an Office to Your Living Room

Small home office in living room

Have a corner area or wall of your living room that isn't providing functional use? Turn it into your home office area. Add a lightweight desk (or even a diy desk), wall storage, and accent lighting to designate the space as separate from the rest of the room.

Create Office Space in Your Kitchen

Small home office space in kitchen

Built-in office areas were once a normal part of kitchens, and they may be making a comeback. If you're working on a new build or renovation, include a space between cabinets that's specifically designed for an office work space. Working with what you have? Consider swapping your buffet for a desk or designate a side of your island by having all your work necessities stored nearby for quick access.

Designate Office Space in Your Bedroom

Small home office in bedroom

One of the easiest ways to add office space to your home is to set up a designated office area in your guest room or bedroom. Add a functional desk, beautiful seating, and a bit of storage to create a bedroom office space that suits your needs.

Use Spare Attic Space

Small home office in attic

If you have a finished attic accessible by stairs, you may have just discovered your perfect home office space. Treat it as you would any other room, being sure to include plenty of textiles to absorb echoes and lots of accent lighting if the space lacks windows.

Clean Out Your Closet

Small home office in closet

Unused closet space can easily become a compact office. You can fashion any closet with desk-sized width into a home office. Consider painting the closet walls a different color than the rest of the room to help create a sense of separation between the closet and the bedroom area.

Utilize Overlooked Spaces

Small home office in stairway nook

Consider overlooked spaces like the one under your stairs or directly inside your entryway for your home office space. These areas will feel out of sight most of the time, but they are perfect for spending time on work and learning. Add accent lighting and a rug in these areas to designate the space clearly.

Work Where You Work Out

Small home office in workout space

Do you have a gym area in your garage or basement? Consider splitting the space into two separate areas so you can go straight from a great workout to a great day at work. Consider adding blankets, ottomans, pillows, and warm lighting to the office area so it feels soft and welcoming.

Add an Office to an Alcove

Small home office in an alcove

If your home has an alcove in a dining room, living room, or hallway, consider turning it into the perfect small office area. Most alcoves can fit a reasonable amount of shelving, a standard desk, and your favorite chair. Larger alcoves are great opportunities to add more storage or create an additional workspace for another member of your family.

Work, Teach, and Learn in One Space

Small home office and teaching desk set up in same area

If you need office space for work but also need a place for kids to do homework or an area to teach homeschooled children, consider combining everything in one area. Designate your workspace from the kids' space with rugs, appropriate furniture, and lighting while keeping decor and colors similar for a cohesive look.

Make Your Office Sunny

Small home office in a sunroom

If your home has a sunroom, it may be the best place to create your small home office area. With plenty of natural light and the added calm a sunroom provides, your home office will feel productive and energizing.

Make Small Home Office Storage a Design Priority

If your home office area is small, you'll want to prioritize creative and functional storage space for all of your office necessities. Consider using storage solutions that are also decorative so you can keep the area free of clutter while staying in line with the design style you choose.

Don't Skimp on Shelving

If your small office wall area provides any amount of space at all, fill it up with shelving. Shelving is where you will store books, references, files, and a few decorative items. You'll likely use every inch of shelving you install, so don't skimp on this storage solution.

Add a Storage Ottoman

An ottoman can act as seating, a side table, and a hidden storage solution when needed. Choose an ottoman with a removable or hinged top so you can store plenty of office items in a stylish way.

Have Plenty of Baskets Nearby

Baskets are a classy storage solution for your home office. Large baskets are great for storing blankets and pillows while small baskets stow away office items like chargers, extra notebooks, and headphones.

Create Accessible Storage for Your Printer

If you're regularly using your home office, chances are you need regular access to your printer. Try fashioning a pull-out drawer to store your printer in your desk cabinet or the large drawer of a side table.

Use Color to Amplify Your Space

Color plays a major role in every room, small home office areas included. If you're able to designate your office area with a separate paint color, consider the color that would best suit your working environment. If an entire paint color change isn't possible, focus on accents and decorative elements to play up the color you want to include.

Go Light

Small home office in light colors

If you want an office area that's calm and far from distracting, choose a light color for the space. White, cream, powder blue, and light sage green are all timeless options.

Keep It Neutral

Small home office in neutral color scheme

If you want your office space to blend in seamlessly with the rest of your home, opt for neutral colors. Try warm tones like beige, tan, and oatmeal or add cool colors like gray, off-white, and black.

Make It Muted

Small home office decorated in muted colors

Muted colors are a trending but perfect choice for a home office space. Bring a calm moodiness to your small home office with shades of slate, olive green, rust, or dusty plum.

Add Depth

Small home office decorated in deep charcoal color

If you love the moodiness of a muted color but you're looking for more depth, try a dark shade to set the tone for your small home office. Charcoal, navy, and deep teal are dark colors that can act as neutrals in your home office color palette.

Bring on the Bright

Brightly colored small home office

If you want your home office space to feel vibrant and creative, a bright color is the way to go. A bright shade like mint, periwinkle, coral, or emerald will help your home office stand out.

Try a Monochromatic Look

Monochromatic small home office

When building a color palette to tie your home office into an existing space, consider a monochromatic color scheme for a blended look. Mix warm neutrals like beige, cream, and brown or go for a monochromatic collection of colors like maroon, plum, and burnt orange.

Reach for Trusty Blues

Small home office decorated in blue tones

Blue has long been a home office color choice because the color is so versatile and calming in nearly every shade. Try rich navy or cobalt blue for a deep approach or reach for dusty blues with tints of gray for a calm and subtle design.

Determine the Best Desk for Your Small Office Space

When designing a home office, especially one that might be in a small area or shared space, the desk you choose will probably be the most important element. No home office is complete without a desk that's as striking as it is essential.

Choices for stylish and functional desks are:

  • A wall-mounted desk to save floor space and create a modern design style
  • A compact desk that you can easily tuck away in a multipurpose space
  • A built-in desk to customize your style and include plenty of storage options like shelving and cabinets
  • A writing desk for transitional style and a lightweight feel
  • A ladder desk to make use of vertical space and create storage options for a small area
  • An L-shaped desk to utilize every inch of space and have plenty of tabletop area
  • A vintage-inspired desk for design styles that are traditional, eclectic, farmhouse-inspired, and vintage-modern
  • A hairpin leg desk you can easily move in a multipurpose space that keeps the room from feeling cluttered when in use
  • A corner desk to save on space
  • A shared desk space created with one large desk or two joined together, with matching chairs on either side

Select Seating That's Functional and Beautiful

The seating near your office desk can be the determining factor in your office design. Seating can appear industrial, commercial, and sterile. But with the right choice, seating can be elegant, sophisticated, and designer.

Options for desk seating that give your office a designer feel include:

  • A beautiful upholstered chair in place of a rolling desk chair
  • A stool that's comfortable but feels lightweight and doesn't clutter the space
  • A modern styled chair, so the space feels sharp and streamlined
  • A leather chair for a refined and high-end look
  • An acrylic chair for a fun and lightweight option
  • A sofa or armchair for a home office that doubles as a living room or bedroom

Let There Be Light

Lighting is important for every room and office type. But an office space that is small requires thoughtful lighting choices that add function, space-designation, and style.

Exceptional lighting choices for your small home office are:

  • Sconces for designating your office space and bringing refinement to the area
  • Attractive overhead lighting like pendants to help your small office space feel grand
  • A floor lamp that matches your design style to create a moody atmosphere
  • A thoughtfully selected table lamp to make your small office feel more studious and save precious floor space
  • Natural light from a window to create a warm and soft ambiance in your office area
  • Statement lighting to add a bold and stylized element

Mix in Plenty of Details

Details are often the most overlooked yet impactful part of a designed space. Be sure to include stylish details that communicate your home's signature style.

Details to consider in your small home office are:

  • Plants and greenery to bring life to your home office area
  • A thoughtfully placed mirror to give the illusion of more space
  • A stylish rug to separate your home office in a multipurpose room
  • A pegboard on a nearby wall for hanging office necessities
  • A chalkboard, dry erase board, or acrylic board for jotting down notes
  • Plenty of storage baskets and bins for your office supplies
  • Wallpaper over the desk area or behind shelving for an eye-catching accent
  • Blankets thrown over a chair or stored in a nearby basket for added texture
  • A beautiful display of books on nearby shelving
  • Metal accents for a modern look
  • An accent wall created with a fun paint color, panel molding, or shiplap
  • Window treatments that filter light and offer additional textural interest
  • A minimalistic approach that keeps decor simple and neutral
  • Situating your desk behind the sofa in place of a console table
  • Mixing design styles to create an office space that is timeless but unique

Design a Home Office That's Uniquely Yours

Creating a home office in a small area or multipurpose room is an opportunity to design a space that's truly unique. Be sure to focus on all the details that make your small home office a place you truly enjoy spending time. A small home office is also a great budget-friendly update to add to your home. Even without a large room to dedicate to your working area, a small home office is a refreshing design choice.

Creative Small Home Office Ideas That Make Big Impact