10 Small Bedroom Office Ideas to Make Your Sleep Space Work Harder for You

published May 21, 2023
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There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic shifted the way many people live, including the way they work. With more folks working from home than ever before, the desire for space-saving, work-conducive bedroom office ideas has soared. And yes, you’ve probably heard that it’s best to keep your desk in its own distinct area at home, but if you don’t have the luxury of a spare room to use as a dedicated home office, the bedroom is a viable option. Here’s a collection of ingenious ways to make your bedroom work for optimal rest and job productivity. 

Credit: Marlee Bever

1. Swap a nightstand for a desk. 

Marlee Bever’s 600-square-foot studio apartment in Los Angeles, California, is small but mighty. During the Coronavirus pandemic, though, Bever made some changes to her bedroom in order for the layout to serve her better. “I decided to buy a desk and use it as a nightstand next to one side of my bed,” she says. “Although a desk isn’t necessarily a fun purchase, it was definitely necessary and added a little extra character to the room! Plus, it gives me more space to add little trinkets and books to stack on.” Because small desks are not that much wider than typical nightstands, this swap is a smart way to add in a workspace without encroaching on too much extra floor space.

Credit: Erin Derby

2. Use a ladder shelf as a work space. 

Two roommate designers, Pratika Appaiah and Mareya Stearns, have filled their shared 450-square-foot Lower East Side of New York City apartment with unexpected, multi-purpose finds. Case in point: Next to Appaiah’s bed sits a functional, sleek ladder shelf-desk hybrid — a piece of furniture you’d typically see in a living room. Not only does the ladder serve as a workspace, but it also functions as a nightstand, bookshelf, and plant holder. You don’t have to search high and low for this kind of functional item either; Wayfair has some budget-friendly options, while West Elm’s version is ideal for small spaces. 

3. Convert your closet.

In her small DIY-filled Chicago rental, interior designer Joanna Beach wasn’t afraid of outside-the-box decorating choices. Take, for example, the closet in her bedroom, which she turned into a mini home office. “During Covid, I made my bedroom closet into my small office space,” says Beach. “While I was knee-deep in the building process, I wondered if I really would want to work in that tiny space. But I actually have found that I love the little nook and have appreciated having a separate space for work.” The circumstances to repurpose this storage space as a desk area were just-right for Beach, though, so keep that in mind if you want to do the same. “The only reason this was possible for me was because my apartment has a very large extra closet off of the kitchen where I keep my clothes,” says Beach.

Credit: Chinasa Cooper

4. Commit to a color scheme. 

Everything has a designated home in Laura Mullaney’s well-appointed 250-square-foot New York studio. Serving as a bedroom, living room, and home office, this space feels cohesive and calm because Mullaney committed to a color scheme: bright whites and peaceful blues, with a pop of pink and gold for good measure. The breezy white walls, bedding, and major pieces of furniture make this space feel larger than it actually is, including the white desk and white office chair. This setup fades nicely into its surroundings, so you don’t have to feel like your work is calling your name after dark.

5. Rethink your definition of “office furniture.” 

Often, typical office chairs are bulky and uninspiring. When your office is in your bedroom, though, it’s especially important to branch out beyond run-of-the-mill office furniture. To that end, photographer Breeana Dunbar used Facebook Marketplace to find the vintage wood hall table that she repurposed as a bedside desk. The chair, which she found at a thrift store, was reupholstered by her parents at Rae-Line Boat Seats.

6. Utilize a secretary to camouflage your desk.

Interiors photographer and Apartment Therapy contributor Jaqueline Clair uses a Pottery Barn secretary desk in her 500-square-foot rental studio in New York City. The ingenious part of this iconic piece of furniture is that the tabletop flips down for a small-but-efficient work space — and it can also flip back up to conceal work-related items after hours. By placing plants, magazines, and art on the top shelf, the whole piece works as an additional spot for personal touches.

Credit: Erin Derby

7. Add art and find your best (working) light. 

In musical theater performer Bronwyn Tarboton’s New York City apartment, most things are salvaged and upcycled into beautiful, functional pieces. The IKEA desk in the corner of her bedroom, for example, was found on the street and paired with a desk chair that’s also a curbside find. Above the desk is DIY art made with joint compound over canvas. Placing a desk by the window makes your “office” feel bigger — even in a bedroom. This layout decision also gives your eyes a place to rest — and seek inspiration — when you need a break from the screen!

8. Stretch your desk legs.

The MITTBACK trestle legs from IKEA pair well with the LAGKAPTEN tabletop to provide ample storage space in the tiny bedroom office area of this charming Parisian rental. The A-frame shape is timeless and fits into this spot like a glove; don’t be afraid to go a little bigger with your desk in a bump-out or nook. This lends even a simple, budget-friendly piece a bit of custom-like flair.

9. Add a riser.

A desk with a built-in riser — or a riser that you buy separately and add on — can be a great way to create more surface area on a tiny bedroom desk. Not only does the riser serve as a perch for your monitor (which is great for your posture!), but the room created beneath the riser is also great for papers, folders, or laptop storage. In this 350 square-foot studio apartment, every inch matters. A narrow desk with a riser still gets the job done.

10. Work your wall space.

This Los Angeles setup, which is in the home of designer Jaya Williams, is ideal for two reasons. First, she’s leveraged the dead space in the corner of her bedroom by placing this drafting desk there. Second, she’s also teamed up the table with open shelving that climbs up her wall. That way, she has all the room she needs for storing reference books and displaying inspiring things like her crystals and favorite pieces of art.