How to Turn a Basic Closet into the Ultimate Work-from-Home Setup

Transform a standard closet into a complete home office with furniture, lighting, storage, and more.

Remote work has become the new normal for many, and home offices are now in high demand. But for those who don't have an entire room to spare, creating a functional work-from-home setup can be a challenge. One clever solution that's rapidly gaining popularity is the cloffice, which packs the hardworking elements of a home office into an underused closet. Particularly useful in smaller homes and apartments where square footage is tight, cloffices provide a creative way to maximize available space. And you don't need a spacious walk-in closet to make it work.

"Most reach-in closets are about 2 feet deep, so a shallow desk can slide right in," says professional organizer Kay Patterson. "Some fun wallpaper or cute desk decor will make the space more inviting."

The basic setup requires a desktop surface, storage, and a chair or stool, which can all easily fit inside a reach-in bedroom closet or a linen closet in the hallway. At the end of the day, simply close the closet doors to conceal your workstation and keep your home looking clutter-free. These smart and stylish cloffice ideas will show you how to outfit the space with furniture, lighting, storage, and more to create an efficient spot to work from home.

white doors open to navy closet work station
David A. Land

How to Design a Cloffice

A practical cloffice starts with a desk or tabletop surface where you can place your computer and spread out paperwork. Begin by measuring the closet to see if your desk, printer, or filing cabinets will fit. "The foundation of the space begins with a plan," says professional organizer Ellen Delap.

If you have room, push a desk into the closet against the back wall. In a walk-in closet, you can position the desk along a wall or in the center of the room. Try to take advantage of natural light when you can. "If you have the opportunity to create a closet office across from a window, take it!" Patterson says.

small office area with rolling doors
Kritsada Panichgul

If a full desk won't fit in your cloffice, try mounting a piece of plywood, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), or butcher block to the wall with brackets to create a DIY floating desk. Keep in mind that the average desk height is between 28 and 30 inches, and be sure to screw the surface into wall studs for added support.

Next, add comfortable seating. To allow the closet doors to close, choose a seat that fits completely inside the closet when it's not in use. A rolling swivel chair, for example, can easily slide into the closet when the workday is done. If space is really tight, consider a stool that can tuck under the desk in lieu of a chair.

Once you've equipped your cloffice with the basics, incorporate added function and your personal style with a few extras. Here are some additional cloffice ideas to consider.

Organized closet with seating and drawers
Jay Wilde

1. Incorporate office storage solutions.

Enlist different types of storage to organize paperwork, office supplies, and other essentials. Use desktop organizers to corral writing utensils, scissors, staplers, notebooks, and more on top of the workstation, or slide a set of drawers underneath for easy-access storage. Matching file boxes, bins, and other organizers will help create a cohesive look.

2. Personalize your cloffice.

Your cloffice should be a space you enjoy being in, so decorate it with colors, patterns, and accessories you love. Paint the interior of the closet in a favorite color, or cover the walls with a fun wallpaper treatment. Add framed artwork or photos and decorative accents like vases and collectibles to show off your personality.

3. Plan for outlets.

Remember to install an electrical outlet in your closet if you'll be using it as a home office. Plan to hire an electrician to add one before moving your desk inside. If this isn't possible, consider running an extension cord into the closet from a nearby outlet, Patterson suggests. "It will often fit under the door and can be held in place with Command hooks," she says. To add light without rewiring, attach battery-operated puck lights on the ceiling or the undersides of shelves above the desk.

4. Consider built-in storage.

Boost storage by mounting a set of floating shelves above the desk area, and add stackable bins or boxes for office supplies and files. Store items you use daily at eye level and stash extra supplies up top. For a more permanent storage option, built-in cabinetry can be custom-fit to the closet's dimensions to create a polished look.

5. Upgrade your lighting.

Good lighting is essential for a productive workspace, so consider installing new light fixtures to brighten up a dim closet. Above your desk, an existing bare bulb can be replaced with a more attractive multibulb fixture, suggests Delap. Table lamps and wall-mounted sconces provide easy solutions you can plug in. For a luxe touch, hang an ornate chandelier or pendant fixture to make a bold statement overhead.

Updated by
Renee Freemon Mulvihill

Renee has been writing and editing for home and garden magazines for 25 years. She served as an American Society of Magazine Editors intern in 1996 at House Beautiful and has been specializing in home remodeling, decorating, organizing, and gardening content ever since. She is currently a Master Gardener intern in Iowa. She enjoys doing research and is committed to continually learning more about the latest home and garden trends.

Renee Freemon Mulvihill began her career in New York City, working on the staff of Country Living Gardener, Rebecca's Garden, and the House Beautiful Special Interest Publications. After moving to Des Moines, she worked on the staff of several Better Homes & Gardens publications, including Remodeling Ideas, Beautiful New Homes, and Before & After. Since 2005 she has been a freelance writer and editor, contributing to many of the Better Homes & Gardens publications and serving as the contributing editor for Secrets of Getting Organized, Dream Kitchens & Baths, and Living the Country Life. She has also contributed to several Real Simple titles, including Real Simple Clutter-Free Home and Real Simple Secrets to a Clean Home, The Home Edit, and Reveal. In recent years, Renee has specialized in storage and organizing content and has interviewed many professional organizers across the country in order to share their tips with readers. Renee earned a Bachelor of Arts in Magazine Journalism with an Area of Concentration in Graphic Design from Drake University, in Des Moines, Iowa.

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