17 Surprising Home Office Ideas

Whether you want to keep this important space upbeat, or private, or multi-functional (or all three!) here's how to do it.

Corner home office space with navy blue wall
Photo: Mark Scott/Ideal Home/IPC+ Syndication

Think you need a spare room or a huge bedroom to set up a workspace in your home? You're wrong (although both sound quite nice). Brilliant work-friendly spaces can emerge from a spare corner, a few inches of a wall, or other areas you never thought to explore. Sounds too good to be true? Take a peek.

01 of 10

Room With a View

Green and white room with desk in front of window

A little sunlight shouldn't cramp your decorating style. Set a desk and chair in front of a window to help get the creative juices flowing. Keep the furniture in sync with the existing pieces (here, it's black and blush), so it blends seamlessly with the entire look.

02 of 10

Studying the Blues

Corner home office space with navy blue wall
Mark Scott/Ideal Home/IPC+ Syndication

A few key pieces (desk, chair, floating shelves) can transform a quiet sleeping space into an efficient work area. If space permits, try to keep two distinct zones by setting the work area away from the bed. The trick is making sure all decorative elements (color palette, furniture finishes) play well together.

03 of 10

Primary Palette

Kid's white, red, light blue work space
Joanna Henderson/Ideal Home/IPC+ Syndication

Go bold. Think bright. If you want to carve out a space for your child to get homework done, keep the color scheme cool, invigorating, and fun. Add shelving and functional storage accessories that work with his or her style.

04 of 10

Corner Confidential

Corner desk

Got a corner? Work it. Even a formal living room can accommodate a work zone. Sneak in a table, chair, and a few office accessories (task lamp, storage bins), so you have a designated spot to work on an assignment, write a letter, or read the paper.

05 of 10

The Great Wall

White Home Office

When you're short on space, a bare wall can be a valuable asset. Consider building up (rather than always extending wide). Simple, easy-to-install floating shelves or bookcases are a practical way to maximize your office area.

06 of 10

Split Personalities

Gray and white home office space adjacent to kitchen
Tim Young/Ideal Home/IPC+ Syndication

Kitchen on one side; office on the other. A simple architectural detail can divide a space without making it feel out of place. Keeping the color palette consistent and neutral will allow you to bring in all sorts of utilitarian pieces like file cabinets, storage containers, and shelves for organizing items.

07 of 10

Blue Crush

Home office space with navy walls and red accents
Simon Whitmore/Ideal Home/IPC+ Syndication

Dare to add color? Just do it. If your space is on the darker side (navy walls, metal cabinet, wooden accent pieces), then rely on your chair and table lamp for the sharp bursts of color.

08 of 10

Secret Project

Shelving unit transfomed into office space with curtain
David Parmiter/Ideal Home/IPC+ Syndication

A nook is really all you need to make a spot work for you. A spare surface can easily transform into the most productive place in a home or apartment. Installing extra shelving reinvents this living room into a working (or studying) space. Hanging a decorative curtain can give you extra privacy for those late nights when you need to step away.

09 of 10

Divide and Conquer

Pink desk space in child's room
Mark Bolton/Homes & Gardens/IPC+ Syndication

The space once called your office is now filled with toddler toys, a crib, and possibly even princess décor. You don't have to abandon your workspace–just share it. (Way to model this important ability for your children!) Be creative about your set-up, and no one will ever notice that your (pink!) desk is part of your daughter's room. Count on this workspace growing with your child and eventually turning into her area for reading, writing, and tackling algebra homework.

10 of 10

Side by Side

Long white desk on white wall with two chairs
Douglas Gibb/Style At Home/IPC+ Syndication

One wall can be easily divided into two productive spaces. A smart design choice would be one long desktop (it should be large enough for two people to comfortably work side by side) and sleek roll-up chairs.

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