For people who work at home, space is at a premium. If you have a separate room set aside for your home office, you probably have plenty of space to work with for a desk and storage. (You know who you are. You have an area you can designate as your office and stretch out your legs.) For some others with less space, there products available to help manage working in a small to nearly non-existent space.
Desk Options for Small Spaces
If you don’t have room for a desk, but you need space to work from home, there are some really creative solutions for you to be able to carve out that much-needed space.
Wall Mount Drop Leaf Table
If all you need is a space for your laptop, the Haotian Wall-Mounted Drop-Leaf Table is a good choice. At a very reasonable price and a petite size of just 27.5 inches by 17.7 inches, you can install this small table anywhere in your house. (Yes, even in the bathroom.) Match with a Hercules Series padded folding chair, and when you are finished for the day, you can fold the table down and stash the chair behind a door or out of the way.
If you need a little more desk space, Haotian also offers a Wall-Mounted Home Office Workstation. Measuring about 29.5 inches wide and 23.5 inches deep. When folded down, the unit protrudes only about 2.5 inches away from the wall. Both options are made of solid wood and come with mounting hardware.
Wall Mounted Convertible Desk
If you have very limited space, or you just don’t want a huge desk lurking in the room, you may want to consider installing a fold out desk in a space where you can work as needed. When not in use, the tabletop folds up and stores out of the way. (Something like a Murphy bed, but better looking and probably more comfortable.)
The wall-mounted SEI Walnut Fold-Out Convertible Desk is a clever design that folds up to a box sized 22 inches wide by 58 inches tall by 6 inches deep when closed. When open, the table space folds out (and is supported by the hinged front piece) to reveal a small cork board and a few shelves and compartments for storage of a few files and some office supplies.
Be sure to properly install the wall mounted desk on a wall stud. The desktop can support up to 20 pounds when open. The unit is made of MDF and birch veneer in a nice walnut color and will complement many styles of household décor. Also, that for secure installation to wall studs, longer screws (than the ones included) might be needed.
Some feedback cautions that the MDF material can be a drawback, as it can crumble around the hinges with frequent use.
If you are a handy person, a quick search at Pinterest can provide you with plans to make your own fold out desk from sturdier materials!
A fashionable and very usable choice for a living room or bedroom is the Hawthorne Ave Computer Desk – White Ladder Style. This stylish desk provides a fold-down desk surface and 3 other shelves for storage. The white, black or dark taupe color choices and simple, clean lines will complement a variety of design styles.
If you have wall space but not a lot of floor space, a good option is a “floating” desk and/or shelves. This style of desk is mounted to the wall and has no legs. This is a design that can provide plenty of work and storage space while conserving space in the room.
An example like the Prepac Floating Desk with Storage, is only 19.75 inches deep from the wall, but it provides a desktop surface just right for a laptop. The desk includes a few shelves for storage of books or office supplies. Installation on wall studs provides strength and stability without taking up a lot of space.
Another example for a simple and elegant solution, is the Willingham Wall Mount Folding Laptop Desk. This is a combination of a fold-out convertible desk and a floating design. Installed on wall studs, this desk can support up to 30 pounds when open. The front door panel folds down to provide a desk space and reveals a few shelves and a small cork board.
The outside top of the unit can be used as a shelf to display plants, pictures or other decorative items. Under the hinged desktop panel, there is a drawer to store any office supplies you may need to keep nearby. When closed, this example unit measures an efficient 26 inches wide by 20 inches tall by only 6 inches deep!
There are many other options in all shapes and sizes.
Portable Folding Desk
If you don’t want any evidence that you work at home, you can opt for a portable folding computer table. An example of this design, is the very simple Tangkula Folding Computer Desk. In seconds you have a desk set up where you need it, and when you are done, you fold up and remove the table just as quickly.
For a slightly longer term solution, the Origami Computer Desk provides an attractive desktop space that can easily be folded up and stored under a bed or in a closet when you need to use the space for something else. This is a great option when you have company over to be able to store everything out of sight.
Decorating Around Your Hidden Work Spaces
If you have one of the desk options that folds up or down when not in use, decorate on and around the wall-mount. Don’t be afraid to make this a focal point rather than hiding it away like the norm. This allows you blend your desk seamlessly into your home décor to make the desk a statement. Now when you choose, the desk becomes apart of the home not just a desk.
Attach framed artwork or pictures on the door that folds down. Get creative and decoupage your own collage or design. A great multi functional option is to DIY your own chalkboard, using a vintage frame, some scrap wood. There are now any one of many colors of chalkboard paint. (See Pinterest or Youtube for at least a million tutorials.) For a less formal approach, attach a whiteboard to the underside of the drop-down panel to be used when the desk is closed.
Deeper desk units provide space along the top that can be used as a shelf to display plants, pictures or other small items. With a little creativity, your guests won’t even know you have a desk until you unfold the work space to impress them with your unique home office solution.
Item Storage for Small Spaces
When you’re using a portable or minimalist desk, you still need storage options. You need office supplies and other items that would normally stay on or in a traditional desk. Keeping such items in portable organizers can make it quick and easy to set up or put away your work space.
Organize your supplies in a small tote with handles. An example like the Metro Designs Desk Organizer Tote to make it easy to relocate quickly. For the ultimate on-the-go storage convenience, the Deflecto Desk Supplies Organizer Caddy provides options for different sizes with lidded compartments, a caddy to hold the compartments and a handle to carry it all.
A sturdy organizer designed to hold items such as books and stationery supplies like a Desk Organizer and Mail Rack, will help keep items within easy reach while you are working. This will still be easy to move elsewhere when you are not working. For larger items, a clear plastic deep drawer storage box with handles can help to corral binders, notebooks or file folders.
Having a designated space elsewhere, to stash these portable storage items, enables you to break down your work space quickly and efficiently. This allows you to easily move on with the rest of your day.
Organizing a Work Space Without Drawers
Most desk options for small spaces offer a space to work, but not much in the way of storage beyond room for a few files and some writing implements. If your desk space has no drawers, what do you do with all your office supplies?
The very reasonably priced Amazon Basics Desk Organizer with two compartments on each side for vertical storage of pens, pencils, markers, highlighters or scissors and a ruler. On top are three small compartments for paper clips, thumb drives, binder clips or push pins. The built-in drawer is the right size to hold standard 3 x 3 self-stick notepads, and the whole organizer measures only 4.5 inches deep by 9.34 inches wide by 4 inches high, giving you lots of space to hold your often-used supplies.
The Greenco Desk Organizer Caddy has six compartments (including one drawer) for common desk supplies like pens, highlighters, self-stick note pads and more. The larger compartment in the back is big enough to hold a notebook or two for easy access. The drawer neatly contains small items like paper clips, and the unit measures a slim 8.75 inches wide by 5.5 inches deep by 5 inches high.
The Executive Office Solutions Organizer in Cherry Brown is an elegant wooden organizer that works as well in the office as it does in the living room. Measuring 9.25 inches wide by 7.75 inches deep by 5.75 inches tall, this organizer has room not only for pens and paper clips, but also bigger items like a stapler, scissors or a remote control or two. This organizer has one flat surface compartment (the right size for self-stick notepads), three vertical compartments, a drawer, and a rear compartment perfect for CD/DVD or small book storage.
A nice option for desktop organization and storage is DL Furniture’s Monitor Stand with Side Organizer. The monitor stand has two compartments and a third space underneath sized to store a keyboard. The side organizer has three compartments which provide space for office supplies, books, or files. There is plenty of room on top for a desk organizer to hold pens and other small supplies.
The monitor stand measures 20 inches long by 7.5 inches deep by 5.5 inches high, and the side stand measures 9.5 inches long by 7.5 inches deep by 11 inches high, with shelves measuring 9.5 inches long by 7.5 inches deep.
The Mind Reader ‘Perch’ Monitor Stand and Desk Organizer is a very reasonably priced option for a small space. Placing your monitor on top provides not only better ergonomics, but also adds three drawers with built-in compartments for your office supplies and accessories. Optional legs raise the unit up to provide an additional space for keyboard storage. The unit measures 12.9 inches wide by 13.5 inches long by 2.7 inches high. This provides a nice amount of drawer space in exchange for little desk space.
Adjustable Desk Top Bookshelf
A freestanding Desktop Adjustable Bookshelf can add some organization and space to an unused corner of your desk, or along the back wall. Find one or two pieces that are configurable to switch from a small rack to a longer shelf. This allows the bookshelf to be arranged at any angle to fit your space.
Make sure the shelves are adjustable to give you the most options. Going this route allows you to switch it up at a later date. A nice bonus of these products is that you can find them in many different colors and materials to match your space.
Wherever you have your printer, adding a printer stand is a must. Printer stands give you space to store your printer supplies and free up your desk and storage spaces.
Don’t just get any stand, find one that has drawers or shelves to help organize and blend with your space. The benefit here is you are adding additional space you didn’t have before. Less trips to the storage closet to find reloads for ink and printer paper doesn’t hurt. There are many options to choose from so don’t just pick that four legged stool. Find one that gives you the additional shelf space below to store paper, ink cartridges, or a stapler and three hole punch.
For older, heavier printers (are you still using a printer/fax machine?) There are many rugged options for Multi-Purpose Printers. There are options now that can supports well over 50 pounds (or one lightweight printer and a toddler). Just make sure your desk is up to the task.
One last pro tip. Make sure the printer stand has non-skid rubber feet or at least the option to add them. You will thank me on this, when you are pulling the paper drawer open for the thirty third time and your printer and stand is not coming too.
If you have limited desk space but plenty of wall space, think vertical storage.
Hanging Folder Organizers
For organizing often-used files, the Simple Houseware 6 Tier Wall Mount Document Letter Tray Organizer provides five tilted trays for easy access to file folders, and a flat bottom shelf for desk accessories. Organizers like this give you a lot of storage for a small amount of wall. The shelves are able to hold multiple file folders or small binders to keep your materials off your desk but still nearby.
A door option like the Homyfort File Organizer comes with 2 metal hooks for hanging over a door. The metal grommets at the top are also big enough to work with most hooks or nails for wall mounting. It is made from two layers of fabric with cardboard reinforcement. The six pockets are sturdy enough to hold binders, as well as multiple file folders or notebooks.
For even more storage of books and heavy files, think about floating shelves. Shelves allow the heavier storage for books and still enough room for organizing smaller accessories and other office supplies. Add your favorite decorations to blend in supplies with the space. Finally, don’t forget to add a basket or two for additional storage.
Shelf and Bin Organization System
A truly impressive system to get your limited work space under control is the Wall Control Office Wall Mount Desk Storage and Organization Kit. The metal panels come in a variety of colors measuring 16 inches wide by 32 inches tall. They are designed for installation on standard wall studs to provide maximum strength and stability. The kit comes with three panels, mounting hardware and an assortment of shelf and bin accessories.
There are additional options available to customize the space for your storage and organization needs. The panels accept not only the Wall Control slotted tool board accessories, but also conventional ¼ inch pegboard pegs and accessories. The possibilities with this system truly boggle the mind. The panels and accessories are metal. Also, the nice selection of colors ensures that it will look great in your home not just your home office space. This is a great option in a craft room, basement or garage.
Storage for a Desk With No Drawers
What if your desk has room for some organizers on top, but no drawers to provide real storage? If you need drawers, you have options.
Drawer Storage Units
The stack-able Mobile Vision Bamboo Drawer is part of a line products that mix and match to customize your space for your storage needs, while providing a professional looking work space. Measuring 10.75 inches by 7 inches by 3.25 inches high, each drawer is two inches deep. Enough room to provide storage for items and accessories from large to small. Stack as many as you need, either on your desk or on a shelf . This gives a professional look that keeps your supplies organized and out of the way.
For storage of small items, use a small standing drawer organizer. They have a small footprint but room to store a lot of small office supplies. The drawers are the perfect size for pens and pencils. Also, use them for smaller items like paper clips or rubber bands. Use it vertically like a tiny file cabinet, or take the drawers out and lay it down for side-to-side drawers.
The Sterilite Mini 3 Drawer Organizer is perfect for desktop storage, and can also be used on shelves to keep lots of smaller items organized. This inexpensive option is amazingly helpful. Smaller drawer organizing baskets from the dollar store fit inside just right to keep your supplies separated for easy retrieval. Label each drawer with the contents, and you will be able to quickly find whatever you need.
For under your desk or in a closet space, you may want to invest in some bigger Sterilite 3 Drawer Storage Units. These basic plastic storage units with optional casters can be found in any big box superstore for reasonable prices. These are 14.5 inches by 12.63 inches by 24 inches. You can stack a few wherever you need to organize your storage space. Especially on shelves or in a closet.
For really limited office space, find a small file cabinet and add wheels and a custom seat cushion on top. This allows a storage drawer and a file drawer, and is covered with a padded seat on top. When company visits, you can pull it out from under your desk to offer a seat to your guest. (Having them sit on your file cabinet might be useful in giving them the hint that you are busy at work). Also find one with locks to provide security for any sensitive files.
If you have a need to store lots of files in a limited space, the Foremost Modular File Cube Storage System in black, honey, espresso or white can give you lots of options. Each stack-able cube is sized for file folders and can support 200 pounds when assembled. You can alternate with the Foremost Shelf Units to customize your storage space. Using these sturdy units, line up multiple drawers along the floor of a closet. This gives you a lot of file storage space while still having a flat surface along the top for whatever else you are storing in your closet.
Portable Carts for Home Office Storage
If you have storage needs in a multi-use space, portable carts for storage is the solution. With a portable cart, keep your supplies organized and move them from your workplace when you don’t need them nearby.
The Seville Classics Large 6-Drawer Storage Organizer Cart is a rolling metal rack with frosted white drawers that have plenty of space to organize all your office supplies. Use the unattached drawers for your supplies on the go. The tall metal handles make the whole cart easy to move around. Two of the four casters are lockable, guaranteeing that it will stay in place when you want it to. Seville Classics portable carts offer many options for drawer size and colors, enabling you to find a combination that works for you.
Another option the Winsome Halifax Cabinet 5-Drawers is a nice choice for good-looking storage with finishes available in white, black and walnut. Casters are included, but optional. If used, clearance from the floor to the bottom of the cart is just over two inches. The manufacturer suggests using two of these carts to support a table top. This allows you to create a desk with storage on both sides. For a higher desktop, use two of the seven-drawer carts. Assembly is required, but for the price, you get a nice-looking, portable storage option.
Maximizing Space on a Small Desk
We all agree, working on a small desk space can be challenging. With all your computer equipment and supplies, there is precious little space for anything else, even your coffee cup! Getting equipment up and off the desk surface is a great way to clear more space for working. Or more coffee.
Monitor Arm for Your Desk
The AmazonBasics Wall Mount LCD Arm enables you to get your monitor up off the desk while allowing easy positioning for ergonomic comfort. Installation is quick and easy, and the mount works with any VESA compliant LCD monitor measuring up to 32 inches. The cable management feature tucks unsightly cables away on the underside of the arm. The monitor is easily rotated for portrait or landscape orientation. Adjust the height or tilt with a gentle push. When not in use, simply push the arm back toward the wall.
If you are renting, or don’t want to punch holes in your walls, you can still use the Mount-It! Monitor Arm, which attaches to your desk (up to four inches thick) with a sturdy C-clamp and supports flat panel and LCD monitors up to 27 inches and 13.2 pounds with VESA 75 or 100 hole patterns. The spring gauge is easily adjusted to counterbalance various monitor weights and provides stability. Channels in the arm provide neat cable management.
Monitor Arms With a Keyboard Tray
Keep your keyboard and monitor both off the surface of the desk. Look no further than a monitor mount with a keyboard tray. Options are available with a desk mount C-clamp, or mounted to the wall depending on the style of the unit. The monitor and keyboard float above the desktop surface, easily extending and retracting to adjust to your needs. Most have quick release mounting brackets enable easy installation for any VESA compatible monitor.
If you want to have the option to work standing or sitting, there are options like the VIVO Black Sit-Stand Wall Mount Workstation. This sit stand option can accommodate a monitor screen up to 27 inches with standard VESA hole patterns. It supports a weight up to 17.5 pounds. A built-in cable management system keeps cables organized and out of sight.
Set your treadmill up in front of it and get a workout while you work. Switching between sitting and standing heights involves only small adjustments, so you can change positioning within seconds.
Mount your Computer to the Wall
To save even more space, the Universal Wall Mount CPU Holder mounts most desktop CPUs from five to eight inches wide and ten and a half to twenty inches tall, up to 35 pounds. Install this unit to any height to free up even more space on or under or behind your desk. Made in four different colors, this mount comes with a lifetime guarantee from the manufacturer.
For a complete desk-less workstation package, the Balt Wall Mount Workstation attaches to the wall and holds not only a VESA compatible monitor and standard keyboard, but also has a space for a CPU up to seven and a half inches wide. The keyboard tray has a mouse platform and padded wrist rest for ergonomic comfort. Mounting this on the wall for your computer frees up your entire desktop. With a comprehensive wall mount like this, you can create a standing workstation in a space as small as a closet.
While working from home can be a welcome benefit of your job, limited space can offer many challenges. A little ingenuity and some well-designed products and you can customize a home office work space. In the end, your space will be so comfortable and functional that everyone will want to use it. Just remember to enjoy your new home office work space. You deserve it.