9 Small-Space Desk Ideas

Even the smallest nooks can become efficient offices.

Working from home can come with the struggle of incorporating a desk into a small space, whether it's a guest room, blank basement wall, or spare closet. And then there's the question of how to keep that pint-sized workstation organized and functional. These small-space desk ideas make the most of limited square footage by utilizing unexpected areas and integrating design upgrades like colorful wallpaper to transform a tiny office into somewhere you actually want to sit down and spend time catching up on work or household to-dos.

royal blue barn doors open to home office desk
Kritsada Panichgul

1. Turn a Closet into a Desk

Turn a small closet into an inviting workspace with just a few add-ons. This closet-desk hybrid has bright blue barn doors that can be pulled shut so you don't have to stare at work once your duties for the day are over. Inside, a floating workstation and shelves provide storage and a writing surface, while two sconces provide task lighting. Funky wallpaper adds personality and turns the "cloffice" into a fun focal point.

desk with four square bulletin boards with pops of color

2. Hang Bulletin Boards

Make a small desk seem bigger with the addition of cork or pushpin boards. Or look for small pegboards to affix small shelves for pens and pencils, chargers, or paintbrushes and free up precious real estate on the surface of your desk. With wall-mounted storage, you don't need much more than a lamp, laptop, and a few essentials on top of the desk.

Editor's Tip: When shopping for a small desk, consider models with at least a bit of drawer storage, which helps keep small daily essentials organized and out of sight.

white secretary desk with blue painted interior
Karla Conrad

3. Make Over Furniture

When you're tight on space, a secretary desk with a fold-down surface is a great option. The addition of casters allows the small desk to roll to where you need it. Move it out of sight when you need more floor space, or simply shut the desk and watch as your work mess disappears. This small desk style also features plenty of file space below.

desk shelf with gold stapler and office supplies
Adam Albright

4. Utilize Tiered Organization

Tiered storage creates additional vertical space on a small desk or in a home office with a smaller footprint. Place large items, like files or notebooks, on top, and small bowls of binder clips, paper clips, or other small items underneath. Some desk organizers also come with drawers to make the most of vertical space that might otherwise go unused.

nook desk built in with subway tile
Nathan Schroder

5. Convert a Small Nook

This small desk setup proves that you can carve out a workspace practically anywhere, even in a converted closet. To add personality to a small-space desk area, add wallpaper, a soothing paint color, or a peel-and-stick backsplash (or even real tile, if budget allows). Then hang floating shelves to function as a desk and bookshelf. Install an overhead light to free up space on your desk, then pull up a comfy office chair.

nook desk built in with geometric wallpaper
John Merkl

6. Add Custom Storage

A small desk can still have a ton of personality. Tucked into an archway, this desk is made up of a thick piece of wood placed on top of a single cabinet of drawers. But the star is the built-in shelves and the graphic wallpaper installed above. Graphic green herringbone paper highlights the storage area and the arch above the desk. Woven baskets keep papers and office supplies organized and a rattan chair with a cushion slides into the small-space desk.

green matching cabinets with white desktop in between

7. Form a Floating Desk

Squeeze a small desk between two pieces of furniture to utilize an area that might otherwise go unused. A sheet of plywood or butcher block can form an inexpensive floating desk. Use wall brackets to secure it, then ground the look with a piece of statement art and a desk lamp. Utilize the nearby furniture units, such as these IKEA armoires, to store office supplies.

weathered grey desk with modern lamp and art
Adam Albright

8. Repurpose Storage Supplies

One of the simplest ways to make the most of a small office is to keep it organized. Give Mason jars a modern makeover with chalk-style paint, and label each one so you know where everything is supposed to go when not in use. This leaves plenty of space for creating on the desktop and works well in a sewing or craft room.

mid century style green desk with blue armless chair
Adam Albright

9. Incorporate Houseplants

It might not make sense to have potted plants on a small desk, but hanging plants take up no surface space while still providing all the mood-enhancing benefits. Here, a rolling cart provides extra storage for a small desk, as well as an additional surface to organize paperwork. An array of succulents soak up sunlight in a nearby window for a small-space desk area with a view.

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