6 hidden small office ideas — work from home in style

You can make a workspace anywhere with these hidden small office ideas

White desk in closet with colorful clothes
(Image credit: Audrey Scheck)

Keep your workspace out of sight with some clever hidden small office ideas. If you live in a smaller space such as an apartment or condo, you might not have an entire room to use as a separate home office. 

Even if you live in a small space, that doesn’t mean you can’t work from home. You just need to be creative. Our experts have given us six awesome ways to make a hidden small office space in your home. Best thing of all? You can use furniture you already have, or if you're in the mood to invest a little, buy new multifunctional pieces. 

Real Homes spoke with a top interior designer to learn about her best small office ideas. While your small office will remain hidden, these fantastic ideas should be seen by all. 

Hidden small office ideas

Whether your company gave up its office space, or you're in a hybrid working model, you're one of many people now working from home. In fact, by 2025, it is estimated 32.6 million Americans will be WFH. 

Now's the time to optimize your home working space and get that hidden small office on the go. 

Austin-based interior designer Audrey Scheck tells me, “With so many professionals working from home, finding a home office solution is a top priority for many."

Audrey Scheck
Audrey Scheck

Audrey Scheck is an interior designer based in Austin Texas and the founder of Audrey Scheck Design. 

1. Use a console or side table as a desk

Dark wooden console table desk with black chair and basket

(Image credit: Pottery Barn)

Audrey suggests using one of the best console tables as a desk for a hidden small office. Having one table with multiple purposes, like this Threshold console table from Target, can also help you save cash while decorating.

She recommends putting the desk behind a sofa. “If space allows, opt to create a desk space behind a sofa. A console table can work as both form and function,” Audrey says. 

If it doesn’t make sense to do this in your home, you can use an entryway console as a desk or use a slim desk as an entryway console. Then, add the best office chair you can afford to the setup when you're working. 

The designer advises simply hiding away your computer when you aren’t using it. “Then you have a beautifully styled table in the evenings and on weekends.”

Alternatively, a side table can be positioned parallel or in front of a small sofa for a speedy soft office setup.

2. Create a cloffice

White desk inside walk-in closet with colorful clothes

(Image credit: Audrey Scheck)

Closet/office hybrids or 'cloffices' were a popular choice during the pandemic for people working at home. It's still a smart way to maximize space. 

“If your walk-in closet has ample square footage, consider carving out a section for a small desk,” says Audrey. “Closets that double as offices are lovingly called ‘cloffices,’ and they are a great solution if you need an extra workspace.”

Cloffices are a particularly good idea if your closet has a natural light source. If not, get a lamp like this portable mushroom lamp from Target, and work with the door open, so you aren’t in the dark.

3. Use your nightstand as a desk

Nightstand as desk with clear acrylic chair

(Image credit: Amanda Lauren Kass)

Bedrooms are a great place to create a hidden home office, but if yours doesn’t have a lot of extra space, using your nightstand as a desk is a decent last resort. This is also a great idea for anyone on a tight budget.

Audrey explains, “If you do not have enough room in your bedroom to fit a desk into a small space, opt for a parsons-style nightstand that can pull double duty as a desk. Simply pull up a chair and you’ll be ready to work,” 

We like this wooden mid-century nightstand from Amazon to double as a tidy little workspace in this ingenious setup, and we especially like the deep drawer to stash away your work things after you've logged off for the day. Just be sure to have a lamp nearby so there’s plenty of light to work. 

4. Use a Murphy bed

Small office with green shelves and rug

(Image credit: Audrey Scheck)

Audrey touts creating a multi-functional hidden small office and guest room with a Murphy bed - one that folds up into the wall when it's not in use.

“This will free up vital square footage on the floorplan to make room for an office space,” she says. “Opt for a desk that is easy to move for when the Murphy bed is in use.” This portable desk from Amazon is on wheels so you can move it around easily and a perfect signing for a multi-functioning room like this.

Murphy beds are an ideal choice for studio apartments where square footage is truly at a premium. Another benefit is that the separation it creates between life and work. When the desk is out, you know it's time to work. When it's out of sight, it's time to let your hair down and relax. 

There are many different types and styles of Murphy beds available, like this storage Murphy bed from Wayfair. You can easily find one to fit in your space and enhance the design of the room.

5. Turn a shelf into a desk

A cream built-in shelving unit with a laptop on the middle shelf, the bottom one removed to make space for a dotty black and white folding chair

(Image credit: Amanda Lauren Kass)

You don’t need a desk with legs to create a functional workspace. Any type of sturdy shelf can be a desktop but it works best with a built-in unit. Just add a chair when you want to work and take it away when you’re off the clock.

If you don’t have a built-in, consider installing a floating shelf. Don’t forget to properly anchor it to the wall for safety’s sake. Just avoid creating a desk using a freestanding bookcase because it could end up falling on you. 

6. Create a built-in desk

Built-in desk with bench and light blue walls

(Image credit: Taryn Leto)

One big challenge of living in a small one or two-bedroom apartment or condo is having your space grow with your lifestyle. 

If you suddenly find yourself needing additional workspace, interior designer Taryn Leto, the founder and principal designer of Tiny Haven Design suggests creating a workstation in your kitchen, or any place where you have built-in cabinets. 

She shares, "For a few projects, we wanted to increase the desktop workspace so we removed some of the lower cabinets and finished them out. We then added quartz stone countertop and created dual workstations — utilizing a freestanding desk with a built-in desk area behind it." 

The designer also recommends using a desk chair on wheels, like one of our favorite Amazon office chairs, to more easily access the space. 

Taryn Leto is the founder and principal designer at Tiny Haven Design
Taryn Leto

Taryn Leto is the founder and principal designer of Tiny Haven Design.


What are some ways to create a hidden small home office if you don’t have a lot of extra space?

There are quite a few ways to create a hidden small home office if you don’t have a lot of space. For example, you can purchase a Murphy bed with one side as a desk, use a nightstand, repurpose built-in shelving or create a 'cloffice' in your closet.

What should you do if you don’t have room for a traditional desk?

Any type of table can be a desk as long as you are comfortable working there. Try a dining table, shelving, or even a console table.

Just because you don’t have a separate home office space doesn’t mean you can’t be productive. There are lots of ways to create a hidden home office. 

Begin the process by decluttering your small space and then get to decorating. Doing  this first means you have the maximum amount of space possible to work with. And while you can refresh a small office without spending any money, picking up a sleek desk that can also be used as a table will blend your workspace into your decor and will serve as a decent LTI - Long Term Investment.

Amanda Lauren

Hi, I’m Amanda Lauren. I’m a design expert and interior stylist who writes for Real Homes, Forbes, Real Simple among other publications. I live in Los Angeles in the historic neighborhood of Hancock Park with my husband, and two dogs, Lulu and Milo. We also have a baby coming in spring 2023. I’m a big believer in finding beautiful things at all price points. There are so many places to find affordable things, you just have to look for them. If you don't find it at first, look harder!

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