It doesn’t take much to create a great work space.
Once a luxury, the home office has become a necessity. But working from a cozy space — like the couch or bed — doesn’t always bring out the most productivity in us. So a proper desk and work area can be essential when we’re physically out of the office.
But not everyone has space for a full home office setup.
For those of us with smaller spaces, that means getting creative. A designated room or nook isn’t always possible in a one-bedroom or studio apartment, but there are plenty of small office ideas for creating an at-home office that is functional but won’t take up your entire living space or bedroom.
Why you need an efficient home office
If you think you can work from home and also be productive without a desk, it’ll only take a few weeks before the lack of a proper office chair has your shoulders in knots. Trust me.
Plus, you might find you end up working longer hours because you’re not operating at the same level of efficiency.
On top of that, working from your couch or bed doesn't allow you a clear delineation with the start and end of your workday. You might find yourself continuing to work throughout the evening, passively, simply because you're sitting in the same place that you worked all day. This kind of passive, never-ending work tanks productivity.
Even if you’re working from home part time, you should have a space that is exclusively for your work. It may seem like a big undertaking to set up an office space at home, but it’s worth it!
Besides the obvious reasons that home offices create a more serious vibe than checking emails from the couch, there are a lot of other benefits to setting up a work spot in your home.
Doing so can:
- Help you focus. Your brain will recognize when to get in the work zone.
- Improve sleep. Having a space that is cut off from work, like your bed, will help you rest easier at night.
- Increase organization. No more papers floating around or rogue office supplies in the kitchen. Everything will have a place.
- Save time. All of the distractions will be easier to turn off or ignore, leading to a more productive day.
So you know you need a home office, but you don’t have a lot of space. Lacking a clear space can be a huge deterrent in setting up an office, but there are a few easy ways to get started.
First, do some measuring. There’s nothing worse than getting really excited about a particular desk or piece of furniture and it either not fitting or being completely overbearing. If you have an idea of what kind of desk or table your space can accommodate, you’ll have a much easier time.
Now, dive into desk shopping. There are a few great go-to options:
- A ladder desk, which either attaches or leans against the wall, can be a great possibility for small spaces. They usually only take up a few square feet and feature overhead shelving for storage.
- Another option is a small corner desk. Shaped like an L, these desks can fit lots of awkward, vacant places you may have. You don’t even need to put them in a corner depending on how much space you have!
- For the more minimalists among us, a floating desk, which attaches to the wall, takes up even less space, and isn’t an eye sore. This is ideal for the person who is completely paperless, uber organized, or only does the occasional work from home.
Small spaces have the potential to become cluttered much more quickly. So, it’s important that this be factored into creating an office space. Take some time each day or week to stay on top of documents that may have accumulated at your desk. Keeping things tidy will make working from a small home office one thousand times easier.
Other ways to avoid clutter:
- Keep cords wrangled. Twistable cord ribbons will ensure you’re not getting tangled up in any chargers.
- Create a small filing system. As hard as we try to go paperless, there always seem to be a few documents we need to hold on to. Grab a cute folder or two and keep them in a drawer or in a filing system. A pretty binder can work well, too.
- Keep your most-used tools in reach. Desk accessories make your workspace truly functional. Keep the things you use most often easy to find; use storage solutions to keep everything else organized and out of sight.
Small office ideas for storage
The toughest part about creating an office space is the storage piece. There usually isn’t much room for a bulky desk with spacious drawers, and bringing in additional storage tools can take up valuable floor and wall space.
Try adding a basket under your desk or using a footstool with built-in storage to camouflage any office supplies or papers you absolutely can’t get rid of.
Additionally, think about expanding upward and not outward. Adding shelving above your desk can solve some of the space problem without expanding into the room. There you can store books or pens and supplies in containers, leaving you more room on the surface of your desk to work with.
Small office ideas for inspiring productivity
Small doesn’t have to mean boring. There are plenty of ways to spice up your small home workspace. After all, working from an uninspiring place can be just as unproductive as working from your couch or bed.
A few ways to add an instant boost to your small home office is through:
- Add some art you love. This will make the space feel unique and inviting instead of cramped and harsh.
- Pick out accessories — containers, staplers, tape dispensers, etc. — that get you in the work mood (pro tip: green is the color of productivity).
Look for accessories that look good and perform a function. A desk calendar or lamp that features storage can spruce up the space while also being useful.
A corkboard can also help make the space feel great — add photos and quotes — and helps keep your desk clean — pin notes, lists and reminders here.
Add a plant
Bringing in a bit of greenery freshens up the space, and some studies have even shown that having a few leafy friends around decrease stress, which is perfect for when you have to do your job from home.
Snake plants and Chinese evergreen plants don’t require a ton of light or maintenance, which makes them perfect for tucking in a corner workspace.
Add a rug
You’ve got your desk, your storage, your chair. Don’t forget a rug. Adding a rug to the floor will help define the space and make it feel more like an office and less like you’re just in the living room.
A small area rug can instantly elevate the design of a small home office and make it more comfortable at the same time.
Do you have a small home office space? We’d love to see it! Tag us on Instagram at @inkandvolt.