8 Ways to Squeeze a Desk Into a Tiny Living Room—Without It Looking Like a Total Eyesore

published Mar 10, 2020
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

When you have a small living room, it might seem impossible to even think about adding a desk to the mix. Desks are often large and imposing—you can’t just stick them anywhere and call it a day. You have to find a spot that doesn’t compete with your main seating area or make the entire living room feel crowded. But if you think creatively about your living room layout and desk style, there’s often a way to organically work a desk into a small living room—yes, even a tiny studio apartment living room! It’s all about finding the style and positioning that best fits your room. Here are eight small living rooms that find will help you visualize ways to incorporate one into your own small space.

Credit: Simone Anne

Dress Things Up

Travel photographer Simone Anne works from home, so finding a desk that could contain all of her files and supplies was key—along with fitting said desk into her 650-square-foot apartment. To prevent the sitting area from feeling smaller than it already is, she placed her desk against the same wall as her sofa in a neat row-style layout. She used a plant on a stool to separate the two zones–work and play. Then she draped a bold mustard decorative throw on the back of her office chair for a fun accent that ties into the colors of her striped rug.

Credit: Max Maloney

Think Clearly

If your living room has an open layout, finding an available stretch of wall space for a desk can be tough. Utilize the oft-empty spot behind your sofa by placing a console table there, just as these San Francisco renters did. This model’s sleek, transparent finish blends in seamlessly with the existing decor without taking any attention away from the rest of the room.

Credit: Sarah ONeill

Mix and Match

This Berlin-based renter slowly transformed her apartment with clever DIYs and bargain buys, one of them being a stunning antique desk she found on the street for free! She added it to her minimal living room, which features a lone sofa and coffee table, and set it off to the side, where it helps frame the perimeter of the room without overwhelming it. The modern chair and fuzzy throw help make this old school piece fit right in with the more contemporary furnishings.

Go Vertical

When there’s little floor space for furniture, the only place to go is up, right? This New Yorker managed to squeeze a desk—with built-in storage, no less—into his 500-square-foot apartment by opting for a wall-mounted model. The best part? There’s ample room to work and plenty of shelves for office supplies or decorative pieces.

Complement the Surround

If you thought finding room for a desk in a 200-square-foot studio was impossible, think again. This renter did a beautiful job of maximizing her space while maintaining a clean and airy feel. With the exception of the sofa floating out of in the center of the room, the rest of the furniture utilizes the walls for placement, allowing the living area to feel open and walkable. A compact desk, set in the nook next to the fireplace, looks like an effortless extension of the room’s other built-ins.

Credit: Emily Barry

Bring in the greens

A corner desk seamlessly aligns with the entertainment console in this minimalist NYC space. Tucked away yet easily accessible, the desk is surrounded by a healthy array of vibrant plants that conveniently transform this work meets living space into a serene oasis. Another trick at work here? White furniture. Both the desk and the console’s front fade into the walls since they match it. Same goes for the side chair.

Connect Two Zones

Consider this yet another reason to invest in a space savvy vertical piece. Since the living room in this open-format Brooklyn apartment is directly adjacent to the kitchen, creating space for a desk was extra tricky. This renter solved that problem by finding an option that could live on the stretch of wall between these two major zones without overshadowing it hem. This piece is thin enough that it’s not obstructing the walkway, but it also features plenty of storage space, too.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Make it Double-Duty

Given the limited footprint of this Toronto apartment’s living room, the only feasible spot for a desk was, unfortunately, right by the front door. The solution was to place a table in the makeshift entryway, which could double as an eating nook as well. A compact, circular table paired with a handy wall-mounted task light makes late-night work sessions feel a little more feasible than just working on a sofa.