22 small home office ideas – ways to make the most of your tiny work space

Remote working with not much room? Discover these small home office ideas to inspire a space that works for you

Small home office idea by IKEA in living room
(Image credit: IKEA)

Looking for small home office ideas? For many people working from home, the rough and ready remote setup is far from ideal. Particularly if you only have a tiny box room or – worse – a corner of a room to work with. 

But just because space is short, that doesn't mean you can't create a fab home office idea that's suited to your needs. Set up correctly, anywhere can become a centre of professional excellence and achievement. Whether that's an alcove in a living room, a dressing table that doubles as a desk in a bedroom, or even a flip up table in a hallway. Or, creating a properly set up office is one of the best spare room ideas around.

Allowing you to be more productive, without poor posture or eye strain, be inspired by these stylish and space-efficient solutions.

Small home office ideas to squeeze into tight spaces

1. Create a flip-down office space in the hallway

Small home office ideas by Carpetright featuring Condo Wilton Carpet In Mineral Polka Dot & Teal Polka Dot, £39.99m2

(Image credit: Carpetright)

Not just an entry-point into the home, hallways are a great location for small home office ideas. This design by Carpetright (opens in new tab) uses a flip-down wall desk design and is painted in line with the half and half wall decor idea.

When not in use, the desk can be packed away and used as a shelving idea for displaying books, plants and other homewares.

The spotty carpet in this scheme creates interest and a soft texture underfoot for comfortable working. 

2. Sneak a small office idea into a cupboard

Small home office idea by IKEA with MICKE desk in cupboard

(Image credit: IKEA)

Most of us had spent a lot of time in our homes recently. Because of this, we've looked at ways to de-clutter our spaces and get rid of things we don't need - including clothes that don't fit (thanks UberEats!).

So if you have spare small closet ideas that were considering taking to your recycling center, turn them into a small home office idea instead.

Create this look using an IKEA MICKE desk (opens in new tab) which fits just about anywhere in the home.

3. Create a bright space in a period living room

Bright blue and yellow small home office idea by Homesense

(Image credit: Homesense)

Carve out a spot in a period living room for work by zoning the space with a panel of color – in this case a stimulating blue. A bureau is a desk idea that suits an older property, with the added benefit that your work surface folds up to hide any reminders of work life after office hours. 

This design mixes up old and new with a fun twist by bringing together a gallery wall idea, painted light fixtures, colorful busts and bright upholstery. 

4. Hide your office in a wardrobe

Small office idea by IKEA inside wardrobe or shoe storage idea

(Image credit: IKEA)

Who would've thought that small home office ideas and shoe storage ideas could go hand in hand (or should that be foot in foot?).

In this idea by IKEA (opens in new tab), a tiny floating desk sits above a footwear rack, utilizing every inch of space. The small black lamp with a flexible cable design works to provide ample task lighting when you need a bright boost.

When showing off your apartment or house to guests, simply draw the curtain to hide away this remote working space. Carrie Bradshaw would love it...

5. Color coordinate your furniture in a mixed-use space

Small home office idea by IKEA in teal black and white

(Image credit: IKEA)

In today's modern world with fixed office locations and cheap co-working spaces, it's rare that anyone has a dedicated home office space.

So if you're suddenly having to shoehorn a small home office idea into your living room, don't let it stick out like a sore thumb.

Inspired by the living room colors, this office uses three single unit drawer ideas in teal, white and black to create cohesion. It also uses the same leafy living room wallpaper idea to create a seamless space.

Let's not forget that plants also play a huge role in making this office space feel homely and healthy. Distributed across the lounge and working area, they help to create an organic atmosphere which promotes well-being.

6. Create an office in a guest bedroom

Small home office ideas by IKEA in guest room

(Image credit: IKEA)

Let's face it, our guest room ideas are not going to be used to host 365 days a year. Most of the time, they are used as a place to hang laundry on a clothes horse, or as a walk-in closet or – realistically – a dumping ground for miscellaneous bits and bobs.

So turning this room into a small home office should be a breeze. Using a sofa bed, you can chop and change the function of this room.

The 2-in-1 furniture means you can either use it as a casual seating area for working or a comfy sleep spot for friends and family.

7. Incorporate a floating desk and shelf scheme

Floating desk and shelf small home office idea by IKEA

(Image credit: IKEA)

If you've only got a cozy nook, corner or awkward alcove, floating desks and shelving ideas can provide you with a sufficient setup to work from home.

Shop for the best office chairs and create this workspace near a windowsill to take advantage of natural lighting. This location will also prove handy as another space to pop books, notepads or a cup of coffee on.

8. Create an office in the hallway 

Small office idea in hallway by IKEA

(Image credit: IKEA)

We've covered flip-down hallway office ideas, but how about something a little more permanent?

This small home office idea takes utilizes the length of a hallway wall to maximize the horizontal space you have.

This is a great setup for couples or siblings who don't mind working in close proximity. However, carefully considered hallway lighting ideas will be all important, particularly if the space doesn't get good natural light. 

'Always have at least two sources of light,' says Danetti (opens in new tab) stylist, Jess Contomichalos. 'A main light and a desk or floor lamp. Task lighting is very important if you're going to be at your desk for long periods.' 

Amy Cutmore, tech expert at Real Homes, adds: 'make sure you include a mix of overhead lights in the form of spots or a run of pendants, and task lighting by way of adjustable wall sconces or lamps.'

9. Unleash your inner Potter with an under stairs office

Under the stairs small home office idea by Period Living Magazine

(Image credit: Future)

Fancy yourself a bit of a wizard when it comes to magicking up small home office ideas? Thankfully, this under the stairs design is a lot more relaxing than the Dudley's dorm for Harry Potter!

Making use of the under stair and adjacent wall, you'll have lots of room to be creative. A faux fur rug helps to break up and soften an engineered, laminate or real wood flooring design, zoning the office space to give it its own identity.

10. No office, no problem: create an office 'zone'

Ikea desk in an office space of a living room

(Image credit: Ikea)

Turn an area of your living room, guest bedroom or hallway into a small office using simple home office storage and an attractive office desk.

You can get desks in every size and style, so it is not hard to find unobtrusive office furniture that will match your room and your existing furnishings.

'Put your desk in front of a window to stimulate you as you work, as a view is always better than a blank wall,' recommends Danetti's (opens in new tab) Jess Contomichalos. 'If you don't have a window, never face a blank wall. Instead put up shelves so that you can introduce some accessories and plants to give that wall interest at depth.'

11. Try a desk that's also a dressing table

Pale pink mid-century inspired office

(Image credit: Made.com)

When space is at a premium, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to be able to dedicate a whole room to a home office, so it’s worth thinking about how you can create multiple uses for your space. Here, it's achieved with a Mid-century style desk in a vintage-feel bedroom – the perfect homework.

Guest room ideas are great place to start as they are frequented less often. You could add a small desk and sleek chair that won’t be obtrusive should you have guests come to stay.

Add shelves above the desk area, and invest in some matching storage files to keep your work materials organised and avoid any embarrassment should you have any surprise visitors.

When it comes to multi-purpose furniture, a desk could easily double as a dressing table in a master suite with the addition of a freestanding mirror.

12. Pick a space-saving all-in-one desk and storage

String mid-century modern office

(Image credit: John Lewis)

This is another great option for multifunctional spaces. Fill a wall with modular shelving including a desk.

To make the space feel less utilitarian, keep office supplies in pretty storage boxes, and use the shelves to display your favorite possessions too.

13. Opt for a loft bed design in a kids' bedroom

Stuva loft bed combo with desk 3 drawers and 2 doors

(Image credit: Ikea)
(opens in new tab)

Space is often tight in a children's bedroom. To save floor space in a kids' bedroom idea, using the area under a bunk bed for a desk.

It is the perfect place for a homework station too!

14. Make the most of underused spaces

home office in unused corner space

(Image credit: -)

No one said that home offices had to be self-contained spaces. So thinking outside of the four walls concept is a great small home office idea!

If you have any wasted space (under stairs, large landings, hallways, kitchens or dining rooms), this could be the ideal place for your home office.

You could even consider using a wall paint idea, flooring or rugs to zone the different elements of the space so it feels more intentional than makeshift.

15. Build an alcove office

Create an alcove office

Alcoves are another commonly underused space.

Sometimes too small for a wardrobe, TV stand or chest of drawers, if you can't squeeze in a small desk, you can easily use the walls to support a work surface and create an alcove office.

16. Consider hideaway options

A hidden office in a cupboard with shelves from Elfa

(Image credit: Elfa)

If you don’t want your small home office area to be visible 24/7, then consider what you can create behind closed doors.

This hideaway approach will be a bespoke option, but it would be perfect for those who hate clutter, or those who only occasionally need a home office set-up, and will help maintain the clean lines of contemporary spaces.

It'll look particular good as a small apartment decorating idea where you don't want your workspace to dominate the floorplan.

17. Create an 'invisible' office in an open-plan room

Home office in listed cottage

(Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

If you want your small home office space to be unobtrusive, a glass desk is a great option that will seemingly disappear when not in use. You could paint your desk or use coloured or patterned contact paper (there are some great marble-effect contact papers (opens in new tab) available) to give your desk an individual look that complements your existing decor. Spray paint is also a great way to ensure any new home office elements work with your existing space.

18. Go for a slimline desk

Opt for a slimline desk in a small offiice

(Image credit: Ikea)

Plenty of desks incorporate storage, but in a small space you will want to find a slimline one which doesn't dominate the space.

Go for a console desk with shallow desks right under the table top, or pillar storage in place of legs. You should also look for cable channels to hide unsightly wires away.

And, to create the illusion of space, don't stick anything to the walls. Instead, a chalkboard wall idea is a great resource to ensure you don't waste paper or post-it notes.

19. Or choose a bureau for an all-in-one office

(Image credit: Cotswold Co.)

Stick a small bureau in the corner of your bedroom, in the hallway or under the stairs and voila, you've got yourself an instant, traditional home office design idea.

This one from Cotswold Co (opens in new tab). has plenty of desk space for a laptop, pigeon holes for storing the essentials, plus a really spacious cupboard underneath. The best part is once you are done working you can fold the desk away to save on even more space. 

20. Use dead space to create a small home office

Home office ideas

(Image credit: Carpetright )

Those strange ‘dead’ spaces we all have in our homes – next to the wardrobe, under the stairs, alcoves beside the fire – are all potential temporary (or maybe permanent) office spaces.

When looking at how to create an alcove office - it couldn't be easier! This spot next to this window is perfect, you just need it to be wide enough to squeeze in a desk! 

Add in a stool, desk lamp and some cozy carpet (this one is called Twickenham (opens in new tab)), and you are good to go! 

21. Get creative with your storage 

Ikea storage ottoman with desk storage

(Image credit: Ikea)

Yes that is an ottoman being used as home office storage!

 If your home office is just your kitchen table but you still need space to keep your papers, stationery and tech, using bedroom storage ideas that can just sit at the end of your bed is an easy solution.

Just fill it with desk organizers and use the lid to pop your notes and calendar. 

22. Add a warm glow with metallic paint 

Home office ideas

(Image credit: Crown)

Metallic paint will help a small space feel larger because it bounces light around. it has come on leaps and bounds and this Striking (opens in new tab) shade from Crown has great coverage.

Use it to zone a wall that you can pop your desk against and create a pinboard for inspirational images and quotes. 

The calming blush colour (opens in new tab) works really well with metallic – accessorize with gold, silver and pink stationery to tie the two shades together.

What's the best color to paint a small home office?

"If you have a small, dark office, why not embrace it, and play to its strengths.', says Helen Shaw UK marketing director, Benjamin Moore (opens in new tab).

'Incorporating a rich, bold paint color is a fool-proof way to create instant character, taking a small space from drab to stylish.'

'Dark colors cleverly absorb the light of a space, making the division between walls appear blurred.'

'This ‘blurred edges’ effect adds depth and dimension to a room, making the space appear larger, rather than more cramped as some may fear.'

Danetti's (opens in new tab) Jess Contomichalos has a different take. 'Choose soothing colors for the walls,' she says. 'Pale warm neutrals or greys are the perfect backdrop for a working environment that doesn't jar with your home. 

How do I set up an office in a small space?

  • Check you have the right amount of space for a desk and chair. You will need to fit in a desk that's high enough that your forearms rest horizontal across the surface, and that is wide enough to fit a screen or laptop an arm’s length away from you when you are sitting comfortably back in your chair.
  • Choose a chair with a backrest. Lumbar support is crucial when sittng for long periods. If you can only fit in a small stool, you should rethink whene your workspace is situated.
  • Always have a view. Ideally site your desk next to a window. The view and natural light is proven to up productivity. If that's not possible, create an inspiration wall in front of you, covered in photographs, motivational phrases, plants, or whatever will get you in the mood for work!
  • Shut it away. It's important to be able to close the door on your working day – either metaphorically or physically. If your office is in a kitchen, bedroom or living space, pick a bureau style desk that you can close up so your laptop and work is out of sight. Or site it within a cupboard that you can close up – kitchen designers are increasingly making this a design option.  
Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer before moving to the Livingetc team in 2021 where she took on a role as Digital Editor. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration. When she isn't writing about interiors, she is renovating her own spaces – be it wallpapering a hallway, painting kitchen cupboards or converting a van.