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11 inspiring office ideas to suit small homes

Transform any underused corner or cupboard into a dedicated office space like these smart home workers

small home office ideas
Helenio Barbetta/Living Inside

Home working is here to stay and, despite the occasional embarrassment over backdrops and interruptions, that is a positive thing. No commute, more time with loved ones, complete control of the radio… However, if you are still trying to conduct Zoom calls from your sofa or sharing a dining table with the rest of the family, the prospect looks a little less bright.

Never fear, though. We believe it's possible to create a dedicated office in any home, no matter how small or busy. Whether it's by finding clever solutions for underused corners, taking over cupboard space or carving out space in unexpected rooms, the possibilities are vast. And we've done the hard work for you. All you need now is to update your home office tech and invest in some new stationery.

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1 First step
stair  desk detail from the apartment designed by marianne evennou    chez ann marie   11 m2 project    photographed by marie pierre morelwwwmarianne evennoucom
Marianne Evennou

When space is at a premium, you sometimes have to think outside of the box. By raising the sleeping nook in this room onto a mezzanine and wrapping the staircase around, Paris-based interior designer Marianne Evennou has created a miniature desk space. Just be sure to tidy everything away before climbing up to bed. marianne-evennou.com

2 Cabinet office
desk space at the home of oliver gustavphotography by heidi lerkenfeldt  cph editorial
Heidi Lerkenfeldt

No extra room for a dedicated study, but still want to be able to lock the door on work at the end of the day? Interior designer and collector Oliver Gustav’s answer is an upcycled Danish cabinet. Found in a zoological museum, it’s been transformed – by removing a few shelves to make room for a chair – into a dedicated desk. olivergustav.com

3 Shelf care
wood panelled home office
Jonas Berg

A floating shelf built into a quiet nook in your house makes a chic desk, with the added bonus of no legs to clutter the area. If you subscribe to the ‘tidy room, tidy mind’ school of thought, then try a simple, monochrome scheme. Note also the hard materials: not a soft furnishing in sight. Making your décor slick and non-cosy will inform your posture and mindframe that this is a site of industry, not a space for relaxing in.

4 Study the corners
small home office ideas
Helenio Barbetta/Living Inside

Tucked to one side of a green-marble fireplace, this simple shelf of a desk is a minimal but functional option. The brainchild of Milanese design studio Concepta, it ensures the decorative details in this room – photographs by Simone Schiesari and a rug by Faye Toogood for CC-Tapis – shine. concepta.it

5 Supply cupboard
home office for small spaces
Alexander James

Short on spare rooms to covert into an office? Condense your clothing into a capsule wardrobe to free up space so that you can transform a built-in cupboard into a small but perfectly formed workspace, like this one by De Rosee Sa. Paint the interior white to keep it light, or commission an electrician to put in a spotlight to save using precious desk space for a lamp. deroseesa.com

6 Work every angle
clever desk area under a staircase by mole architects
Matthew Smith

Cut into the small slice of space beneath this new staircase, and lit from above by a generous skylight, this is the ideal work-from-home nook. It’s part of a family home designed by Cambridge-based Mole Architects, which last year picked up three RIBA Awards, including the main prize for innovative local housing scheme Marmalade Lane. molearchitects.co.uk

7 Colour coding
home office image
Roberto Ruiz

Barcelona-based architecture firm Casa has turned a tight corner office into a sunny, positive (rather than pokey) space with a lick of orange paint. By matching the desk, chair and shelving in the same colour, the effect is one of disguise – a good tip for workspaces in open-plan homes. colomboserboli.com

8 Light paperwork
home office under the stairs, smart space
Joe Fletcher/General Assembly

Make use of ‘dead space’ under your staircase by slotting in an office, like New York design practice General Assembly has in this Brooklyn apartment. Genius ideas include the slatted wall that lets light filter into the study from upstairs and the way the desk wraps around it to create extra workspace. genassembly.com

9 Open-plan working
open plan home office smart spaces
Johan Kalén

This unobtrusive study is the ideal space for part-time homeworkers to catch up on paperwork. It’s wonderfully simple to create, too – simply build bookshelves and make sure you have enough plug sockets nearby. Swedish eco furniture brand Norrgavel uses a change in wall colour to mark out a work zone in this open-plan home.

10 Smooth landing
home office in london home by quincoces drago
Alberto Strada

The perfect example of a unique space that’s been brilliantly capitalised on. This desk occupies a sunny spot by the window on the landing of a London home designed by architecture firm Michaelis Boyd. Not every home may have a central staircase with this much drama but, whatever size, the landing is often an area with underused space. michaelisboyd.com

11 Bedroom entrepreneur
jamie bush bedroom home office
Stephen Kent Johnson

For many of us, working from the bedroom is the only option. American interior designer Jamie Bush has made it an attractive choice in this New York apartment, with a statement red lacquer floating desk that keeps the floor space free – preserving a feeling of spaciousness. jamiebush.com

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