By Courtney Iseman

Published on January 30, 2017

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If you live in a studio or just don’t have a spare room in your house, working from home can mean building your empire while balancing your computer, notebook, and papers on your lap. You’ve probably noticed that you don’t feel your most creative or efficient with that setup. Work uncomfortably no more: You can have an office space that’s completely organized and chic no matter the size of your home—you just have to think outside the box.

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NICOLE FRANZEN

Separate Your Space

So, you don’t have the luxury of a separate room for your workspace. Make one. Create a divider that’s as much a decor element as it is a way to make your office feel like an office. Hang a curtain or pick a pretty folding screen for a “wall” that can be drawn back to open the room back up when you’re not working. Use old doors or windows in different colors, or build one. A bookshelf doubles as a stylish room divider while still allowing plenty of light to circulate throughout the studio!

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ISABEL WILSON FOR FREUNDE VON FREUNDEN

From Walk-In to Work-In

Small apartments can have baffling layouts. Your bedroom might fit nothing more than your bed, but you still have a walk-in closet. And one good purge could give you ample space for an office. Lifehacker offers up suggestions for closets of all shapes. Paint or wallpaper the inside to freshen things up a bit. Choose a desk or table that fits the space, or build a large shelf into the wall. What’s great about closets is that they tend to already have shelves higher up for your storage, though you can always add to them. When you’re not working, a roll or swing of the door makes it disappear. 

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DAILY SAVINGS

Total Transparency

If you prefer things to be more out in the open, nothing feels lighter and airier than the see-through approach. A clear desk or chair offer you the support and organization you need but keep the room feeling spacious. They strike the perfect balance between making an artfully modern statement and disappearing into the space—all while letting light pass through them so the work area never feels weighed down. Matching accents like desk lamps further refine the theme.

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MICHAEL WILTBANK

Chair as Statement Piece

If you don’t need the storage space, or if you just can’t sacrifice a seat with a back, your chair could be where you insert a stylish pop factor. If your workspace is all neutral, black, or white, choose a chair in a bright hue. Or go bolder with a print. Your chair is the easiest and most instant way to personalize your office area and make it feel anything but business as usual. If you can’t find a chair that feels “you” enough, try a DIY like this spray painted seat from My Little Green Notebook.

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Little Green Notebook

A Desk Doesn’t Have to be a Desk

When you’re trying to carve out an efficient workspace that’s still aesthetically pleasing, versatility is key. Think about other pieces of furniture that can be a desk while you’re working and a lovely addition to the room when you’re not. Upwork suggests using an armoire, which has the added bonus of storage space. A vanity works if you’re working in the bedroom (just have a storage system to keep your face highlighter separate from your actual highlighter).

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ASHLEY KELEMEN

Control Your Cords

The fastest way for a home office space to start looking disorderly is a jumble of cords. But what can you do when you need everything from a laptop to a printer to a lamp to a phone charger plugged in there? Check out these ideas for simultaneously hiding and organizing your cables, making them look decorative in the process. Put power strips in boxes with labeled holes for each wire, or place a power strip in the back of a desk drawer. You can even DIY a disguise for your wifi router out of a book cover. 

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ASHLEY POSKIN

Coordinate Your Office Supplies

The benefits of matching your office and storage supplies are basically endless. It gives you a clear and fuss-free place to start when decorating. It looks impossibly chic and clean. It keeps the space bold and organized, and because of how cohesive the finished effect is, your office area will look flawlessly pulled together even after a deadline-fueled all-nighter. Living Impressive recommends monochrome file boxes, folders, and binders to keep those papers tidy, while the Huffington Post found color-pop staplers, tape dispensers, and more to get those creative juices flowing.

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ELISABETHHEIER.NO

Storage

There’s no limit to what kind of supplies you can repurpose or DIY to make your office area feel totally you. This is your chance to add texture, color, print, shine, or all of the above. On myWebRoom, you’ll find ideas for painted mason jars as pen holders, printed paper-wrapped clipboards hung on the wall, and old windows as wall organizers. Wrap boxes in candy-colored stripes of duct tape as per Aunt Peaches, work an origami angle inspired by Brit+Co, or get crafty with a pocketed quilt organizer like this one from Design Sponge.

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BRITTANY AMBRIDGE

Have an IRL Pinterest

Bulletin and pegboards are another way to keep papers—ideas, notes, memos, inspiration, reminders, and more—organized. Pinning them up on the wall squashes the idea of clutter before it starts, and it keeps everything out of the way yet also out in the open so you don’t forget anything. Take the opportunity to keep personalizing that work area and DIY one in a fresh shape or pattern.

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BRITTANY AMBRIDGE

Tray Mobile, Tray Chic

One of the perks of working from home is that if you want a change of scenery, you can simply leave your desk for the kitchen table or the couch. Nothing makes that easier than a tray—it allows you to take your desk, or at least its essentials, with you. The tray does double duty, keeping you mobile and organized. Choosing one in a fun color, print, or metallic finish can seriously spruce up your desktop.  

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MICHAEL WILTBANK