8 modern small office ideas to WFH in style

Modern small office ideas are all minimalistic, intentional, and elevated

Wooden desk with black office chair
(Image credit: Pottery Barn)

Implementing some modern small office ideas will help create a professional and sleek WFH space. When curating an office space, some design aesthetics lend themselves to small spaces over others. This includes modern design and decor, which has a minimalist look and works really well in compact areas as a result. 

If you prefer the modern decor look, consider ways you can make the most out of your room through the types of furniture you use, how you choose to organize (and, essentially, hide) your office supplies, and what your lighting situation looks like as all of these are essential to achieving a more minimalist and modern small office look. 

Up ahead, we share our favorite small home office ideas, plus expert advice on how to make an office more modern-looking. 

Modern small office ideas to try at home

Invest in some slick modern home decor to add to your small home office space. We spoke to experts and found plenty of ways to update your office so it's fresh and on-trend. But don't stress about the cost of an upgrade — there are plenty of ways to makeover a small office on a budget.

1. Keep wall art minimal

Plain wooden desk with framed photo above

(Image credit: 1st Dibs)

For a sleek, modern look in a small office, keep wall decor to a minimum. Instead of curating a gallery wall or adding a mix of wall art styles to your space, stick with one large framed print or canvas to give the space a touch of modern decor without feeling cluttered and crossing over into other style territories such as eclectic and bohemian. 

You can find plenty of modern wall art online, like this framed abstract art print from Society6.

"If your walls become overrun with art and other pictures, it can start to look cluttered pretty fast," says Emily Lambe, deputy editor of Real Homes. "Keep it simple with one stand-out piece of art or decor."

If you're in an apartment — not to fear. There are plenty of renter-friendly wall decor ideas like simple tapestries that won't cause any damage.

Emily Lambe
Emily Lambe

Emily Lambe is the deputy digital editor at Real Homes. She graduated with a degree in journalism from Rochester Institute of Technology and has been writing ever since. Emily writes about all things decor, fragrance, organization, and other home essentials. 

2. Opt for an extendable desk

Extendable wooden desk with white stools on each side

(Image credit: Target)

When working with a small amount of space, convertible pieces such as an extendable desk can really transform an office. For a modern style, you'll want to look for clean lines and a minimal design. There are plenty of modern desks available online, like our favorite Urban Outfitters desks that feature chic and on-trend options. 

"Picking the right desk if probably the most important factor in creating a small home office," says Lambe. "If you're in a really tiny space or you might be moving your desk around, an extendable option means you can customize it to whatever space you're working with."

3. Utilize a wall desk

Rack shelving desk

(Image credit: Nathan James)

Minimal small offices look really modern so incorporating furniture that fits the vibe is a must. A wall desk — which is essentially a desk built into a wall-mounted shelving system — can serve as a functional tabletop while helping to achieve a modern look in a small space. 

To up the ante, consider a white desk mounted onto a white wall to open up the room and create a monochrome look. 

This highly-rated Mercury Row wall desk available on Wayfair is super sleek but still contains a couple of drawers for storing all your essentials.

4. Create a built-in system

Office Nook

(Image credit: Wayfair)

If you don’t have a lot of space to work with and you want to create an office that feels modern, sophisticated, and functional, transform cabinets and shelves into a workspace. 

This helps keep clutter out of sight for a sleeker-looking design and gives you a designated space to get your work done without the need for a full-sized desk.  Plus, building a workspace out of your existing furniture is a great way to fit a desk into a small space.

You can simply add a wall-mounted desk like this floating desk available on Wayfair to any nook or cranny to recreate the look.

5. Consider your office chair

Wayfair office chair

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Your office chair can totally make or break a design moment. If you’re working with a small space and want it to have a more modern feel, it’s worth going for a desk chair that doesn’t feel bulky or take up too much space. 

Office chairs with open backs and even some mid-century modern accent chairs can work well in a modern small office while still providing ample comfort and support. We found plenty of great options in our best office chair round-up, including this cream and gold office chair from Staples

6. Designate your workspace with paint

Modern wall mural

(Image credit: Hovia)

Whether you have your own small office room or are transforming a corner of your living room into an office, creating a mural for your desk area can make a difference. 

This not only adds minimalist wall art details but also anchors your workspace and helps make the area feel a little more intentional and separate from other parts of the home. 

For a modern feel, stick to neutral colors like this warm beige color from Lick or this cool taupe color from Lick

7. Keep the clutter at bay

Office with plants

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Achieve a more modern feel with minimal decor. Offices are more susceptible to clutter, but it’s possible to keep it to a minimum if you’re intentional about storage and decor. Instead of displaying all of your supplies on your desk, keep items in a sleek cabinet, like this storage cabinet available at Wayfair, or a desk drawer. 

Then, add floating wall shelves above your desk and add a few home decor pieces, including figurines, a plant, and a small basket for easy access to supplies. 

"Floating shelves above a desk is a great solution because you can store all your office essentials while still creating a place for displaying decor items you may already have in your room," says Lucy Searle, Content Director, Real Homes. 

Lucy Searle
Lucy Searle

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property, and gardens for over 30 years. Lucy is now Content Director across Homes & Gardens, Woman & Home, Real Homes, and Ideal Home. Lucy is a serial renovator and also owns rental properties in the UK and Europe, so brings first-hand knowledge to the subjects she oversees.

8. Don’t forget the lighting

A crystal pendant light hanging in a navy blue living area

(Image credit: Dar Lighting)

Lighting can transform any space, including an office. Instead of opting for a more industrial-style lamp, choose a mid-century modern-style pendant light (or several) to hang over your desk. 

Round globe lights tucked away in a corner or on top of a storage cabinet can also help elevate the design and add to the modern feel. 

We found plenty of modern designs in our best Target lamps round-up, including this modern iron desk lamp by Lalia Home.


How do I maximize space in a small office?

If you want to make the most out of your office space — whether it be its own designated room or a small corner in your living room — consider going vertical. Alex Bass, an interior designer, art curator, and founder of Salon 21, says wall shelving, like this Threshold wall shelving unit from Target, is a great option for those with small spaces who wish to maximize their space. 

"Depending on your layout, an L-shaped desk is another option worth considering, as this can give you more tabletop space without taking up so much horizontal real estate," says Bass.

Alex Bass

Alex Bass is an interior designer, art curator, and founder of Salon 21, a NYC-based fine art and design studio that provides curated cultural experiences for the contemporary consumer. 

How can I make my office more modern?

“A sleek desk with storage to hide your things will make for a modern feel,” says Bass. She also recommends looking at lighting and incorporating a Scandinavian-style desk lamp, like this Mercury Row minimal desk lamp from Wayfair, to achieve that more modern minimalist feel. 

You can also opt for mid-century modern-inspired globe lamps, like this brass globe lamp available from Target, to elevate your space and make it feel more modern and sleek.

When decorating your small office with a modern design focus, the key is to keep things sleek, clean, and minimal. Instead of a gallery wall or cluster of wall art — which can look a bit cluttered — go for one large framed print or canvas painting. It also helps to choose small space furniture with sleek lines and mid-century modern-inspired designs, as this can help create a more timeless look. 

When in doubt, assess your lighting situation and look for ways you can bring in more modern decor through accent lamps, pendant lights, and other lighting moments in your modern small office. 

Jessie Quinn
Freelance Writer

Jessie Quinn is a lifestyle writer with words published in The Spruce, Byrdie, Well + Good, Shape, PEOPLE, and more. Jessie has a Bachelor's Degree in Fashion Journalism from Academy of Art University and leans on her background in fashion to inspire readers to hone their personal decor style as if it's their wardrobe. When she's not writing, Jessie can be found browsing the aisles of her local antique stores, creating DIY home decor projects, and taking care of her dozens of houseplants. Her eclectic decor style balances vintage, modern, and artisanal pieces that reflect her artsy style and love for handmade goods.