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How to Design a Small Home Office Space

Are you one of those people constantly moving your laptop around from table to table, trying to carve out a place to work/zoom/complete tasks? If so, I’ll show you some ideas to create your small home office space to get things done!

For the last 15 years, I’ve worked from home in a variety of capacities. First, running my own sewing business, then as an online school teacher, and now, working in content and home design with this blog and other brands! Along the way, I’ve lived in different homes and carved out a place to work in each, which means I have some serious tips on designing a home office!

bedroom office corner
Bedroom Corner Office

1. Find a Dedicated Space

Many people feel like a home office needs to be an entire room, but that’s not true! It could be a small corner, awkward nook, or even a transformed closet. Rethink your home to find unused spaces or areas that could be used differently

You might recall my office nook refresh, where I transformed a crooked corner of our home into a functioning, pretty space. Recently, I carved out a corner of my bedroom to create a working space that is now one of my favorite little spaces!

Creating functional zones is part of my entire organizational strategy. Read about my approach: How to Organize Your Home in 5 Easy Steps.

black office wall
black wall paint gives the office space some definition

2. Define the Space

Ok, now that you’ve selected a space, it’s time to define it. This means finding a way to sort outline or show visually that this space is separate and intended as an office. Otherwise, it might just feel random and cluttered.

In looking at a lot of my working areas, you’ll notice I love defining with black paint (but that’s no surprise given my love affair with black paint in general!). Here are some ways to define a space:

  • Paint – easy and relatively inexpensive (See my list of favorite neutral paint colors for inspiration)
  • Wallpaper – choose one wall to highlight
  • Shelves – either floating shelves or a bookshelf, also adds height and functionality
  • Furniture placement – lay out pieces to create a clear desk area
  • Rug – this is true for any space, but very helpful when creating a small home office (need help? Check out my favorite neutral rugs)
  • Artwork – a large statement piece or a gallery wall really creates visual definition
home office nook
desk near outlets with proportionately sized bookshelf for storage, wall hooks help this double as a back entryway

3. Focus on Function

Before committing to anything else, think of how the office will function. This seems obvious, but it’s easy to get lost in the design details of rugs and colors and forget how it will actually work.

Functionality Considerations:

  1. Is there an outlet nearby to plug in computer?
  2. How will office supplies be stored?
  3. What items do I need in reach?
  4. Is there space for accessories like a printer or back up drive?
writing nook with desk, rug, and chair

4. Soften the Edges

So, my first tip included defining the space. This makes the small home office feel intentional. However, we also want to think about how to make it feel cozy and part of the overall room or home.

I like to think of this as softening the edges of the space. I usually achieve that with these three decor pieces:

  • Plants – they work wonders at softening the edges of any space. You’ll notice them on the “edge” of my rooms and spaces
  • Curtains – while I don’t love curtains on every window, I do appreciate how they can blur the lines of a corner (see above)
  • Baskets – so many baskets! I use these textured beauties much like plants and put them on the edges (in the office below, they hold my decor magazines)
black office wall
minimal desk with sleek drawers & hidden cord storage (beneath the little trays!)

5. Streamline Office Decor

Small spaces of any type just scream for minimal lines and fewer furniture pieces overall. I expand on this more in my Small Bedroom Decor Ideas post.

As for the office, I like to start with a practical desk that uses only the amount of space needed. The minimal desk in my bedroom office corner features a couple of drawers and a hidden cord system which helps tremendously.

bedroom corner office