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Creating a home office or study in a small space


The home office has gone from "nice to have" to a necessity in the past year. One of our key learnings is not every home is equipped with a productive workspace. Some were lucky enough to convert a guest room into a home office setup, where others have been stuck setting up a desk area on their dining table.

With the trend of working and studying from your abode set to continue, we're here to show you how you can make space for a functional and stylish small home office in any room of your home. Read on to learn more functional home office design ideas.

Find the perfect location

You might not have a dedicated office space, but there should be at least one area in your home for you to work or study.

Whether it's an office nook in a hallway or some free space in the corner of your living room, you don't necessarily need a lot of room to make it work. Tiny homes were all the rage last year, let's make the tiny home office this year's trend. Think about traffic and the likelihood of interruption. Is it important that you can close a door?

If you have kids, it might be vital to have a work area that's secluded, but if you live on your own or are an empty nester, your desk space could be out in the open, such as in the dining room.

Natural light

If possible, find a spot with plenty of natural light – if you can put your desk next to a window, go for it! You'll feel more inspired, and if you're struggling to think, staring out the window can help get your creative juices flowing.

If you don't have natural light in a suitable area, make sure you have a great desk lamp. You could even consider a ring-light if you're going to be doing lots of videoconferencing or presenting.

Installing a light fixture above your desk might be a good option, too, as it will help to prevent eye strain.

Start with office furniture

Before you even think about styling, you'll need to get yourself a small desk and a desk chair that fits the space and is ergonomically sound. As you're adding a desk and a chair to an existing room, you'll need to make sure whatever you choose fits the look and feel of the space, and most importantly, is comfortable!

You must find the right office desk for your space – there're plenty of designs out there – some with built-in storage, some designed for corners and some which give off the appearance of a floating desk. It all depends on the space, how much storage you need and the type of work or study you'll be doing.

When choosing an office chair, it's important to consider ergonomics. If you plan on sitting for long periods, make sure your chair is designed for that purpose, with plenty of adjustability features to maximise your comfort. A sit/stand desk might be helpful too.

Get into good habits

If you've created a new workspace, you don't want it to become overrun with paperwork and cables after the first week. It's essential to get into good habits from the start. Invest in the right equipment to organise your workspace. In-trays, magazine holders, document sorters and pen cups can keep clutter to a minimum. If keeping notes on a notepad makes your desk look like a mess, hang a chalkboard in your office area and use that instead.

If you're especially short on space, a set of drawers on wheels is a good option for storage. Otherwise, you can install shelving (floating shelves always look great) above your desk to hold paperwork, stationery, and other office essentials. If you have the floor space, cabinetry such as a bookcase or bookshelves can work wonders.

You should also purchase some cable management accessories to ensure your cables stay neat and tidy. They'll also help prevent you from accidentally pulling them out or tripping on them as you move about your space.

Unleash your inner interior designer

Now that you've got your desk in place and cables and paperwork organised, it's time to give your desk a makeover. Ideally, your home office will be a place that inspires you to work or study but also be comfortable, calming, and soothing. Items such as an indoor plant, a scented candle or a nice soft cushion or throw help to make your workspace more comforting on those stressful days.

Don't be afraid to add personal touches, either. You could:

  • Create a gallery wall with framed photos of loved ones
  • Bring in a mug highlighting your favourite sports team or movie
  • Repurpose an antique piece to keeping your desk tidy
  • Display a vase or bowl in your favourite colour.

These items will help to make the space feel uniquely yours. Be wary of going overboard, though. Too many personalised items can throw off the theme or create unwanted clutter; plus, if you want to pack it all away on the weekend, go minimalist!

The other area to be mindful of is the backdrop. In a world of video calls, having a professional environment is essential – no one likes looking at a messy home! Try to find something to make your background work – whether it's some artwork to hang on the wall, an indoor plant to block out a hallway or a trendy piece of décor that acts as a focal point.

Setting up a great home office space in your home is possible even if you are running out of room. If you are smart with your storage solutions and get into good habits, your home office or study might even end up being a feature rather than an eyesore.

For more styling tips and tricks, including more information about how to set up the perfect home office, browse through our image gallery. You'll find plenty of interior design tips and more photos to inspire small home office ideas.