How to Design a Small Home Office


I found the perfect corner in our home to set up my home office. Here are some tips to help you create an effective small home office.

If you you are one of those people constantly moving your laptop around from dining table to the kitchen counter to the sofa trying to carve out a place to work, I’m here to help. Let me show you some ideas to create your small home office space just for you!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.

small home office with gallery wall above desk

When we moved to Tennessee, we downsized by more than half our square footage. While I was initially ready for a smaller home; I did not quite understand how to maximize our home’s space. It took a little while of us living here to begin to see open spaces as individual rooms.

In our previous home I had a nice office space. I converted our primary bedroom sitting room into a home office and it was great. Built in bookcases, large window, plenty of space for two desks. When we moved to our current home, I had to get creative and find a spot for me!

Find a Dedicated Space for Your Small Home Office

Not everyone has a large million dollar home with lots of separate rooms and that’s ok. Many people feel like a home office needs to be an entire room, but that’s not true! A home office 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.

We had this empty wall off of our kitchen and near our back door. It makes the perfect space for a home office as it is out of the way but large enough for a full size desk and office essentials.

small home office with gallery wall above desk

Items are mostly thrifted except the desk chair

Define Your Home Office Space

Once you have selected a spot for your home office; it’s time to define it. You will need to find a way to visually show that this space is intended to be an office. Otherwise, it might just feel random and cluttered.

Here are some ways to define a space:

  • Paint – easy and relatively inexpensive; create a focal point wall
  • Wallpaper – choose one wall to highlight; this is great if you don’t want to use paint
  • Shelves – either floating shelves or a bookshelf, also adds height and functionality
  • Furniture placement – lay out pieces to create a clear desk area
  • Rug – using a rug helps to define any space
  • Artwork – a large statement piece or a gallery wall really creates visual definition

I used an eclectic gallery wall of prints from all my travels or thrifted finds. The desk and the artwork define the entire space and it didn’t take all that much.

small home office with gallery wall above desk

Focus on Function

Design is wonderful, but functionality is key. Blending design and function is the best of both and should be your goal.

Think of how your office will function. This seems obvious, but it’s easy to get lost in all the design elements and miss out on what you truly need to run your office. I don’t have a lot of paper and just a small filing box is all I need. We don’t print a lot and a small, portable printer is perfect.

My office needs consist of a small desk, laptop, desk lamp, stapler, pens, note paper, calculator and paper clips. You may need more than that like a large printer and ways to file. Take all your needs into account so you can set up a great working space.

Functionality Considerations:

  1. Is there an outlet nearby to plug in computer and lamp?
  2. How will office supplies be stored?
  3. Do I need a filing cabinet?
  4. What items do I need in reach?
  5. Is there space for a printer or paper shredder?
Functionality Considerations:

Is there an outlet nearby to plug in computer?
How will office supplies be stored?
What items do I need in reach?
Is there space for accessories like a printer or back up drive?

Small Desk for Home Office

If you are short on space; you want a small office desk that fits your intended space. I found my vintage desk on Facebook Marketplace and it was the perfect size and scope for what I was looking for.

wood desk in small home office

Here are a few small, budget friendly desk options.

green desk

30″ Eucalyptus Wreath with Ribbon Green

30″ Eucalyptus Wreath with Ribbon Green

wood desk
wood desk

30″ Eucalyptus Wreath with Ribbon Green

Lift-Top Computer Desk in Pale Green

blue desk

You can shop my Amazon Storefront for other small and budget friendly home office desk ideas.

brown branch graphic

Amazon Storefront

Follow my Amazon Storefront to find more looks for less and all our finds!

Soften the Edges

Once you have all the concrete elements such as your space determined, small working desk and other office essentials; you want to incorporate small office decor ideas. This is the fun part; adding in design touches that make your space flow with the rest of your 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. A small plant is a great way to bring the outside in and place one on your desk.
  • Artwork – while I have an artwork gallery wall; you could just add a picture or two. Art is a great way to add a soft edge to your home office.
  • Lamp– A desk lamp is a great way to soften the space while also providing function.
  • Baskets – You can use baskets to store paperwork or magazines, anything you are going to need in your office that you want to keep in a tidy spot.
plant on desk in office

There you have it – my small home office. Hope this inspires you to create a designated work space no matter the size space you have to work with.

small home office

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