How to Set Up a Home Office in the Bedroom

For most of us, space is at a premium. Small space living is the new buzzword and anyone who has turned on the news or HGTV at some point in the last ten years may have gotten the idea that living spaces are shrinking. But you need a place to work and at some point, propping your laptop up on your knees in bed just becomes less and less fun

So, if you need a workspace in your home but don’t have a room to dedicate to your office, what do you do? You figure out a way to carve one into your bedroom in a way that doesn’t make your bed into your office.  

And, chances are, you have more hidden room than you think – it may just take a little creativity.  

1. Niches and Alcoves (AKA Nooks and Crannies) 

If you’ve really hit the jackpot, you may already have a perfect spot for your office or desk in the bedroom, without even realizing it.  

Niches or Alcoves (or nooks and crannies, as some of us might think of them) are architectural features that almost cry out for you to tuck your desk into them. You might have other items in those spots now – maybe a bean bag chair, a futon, or a storage chest – but finding the perfect spot to set up your home office in your bedroom is a lifestyle improvement that will make it worth it to rearrange your space a little bit.  

Oftentimes in older buildings, and sometimes in newer ones, niches and alcoves are just part of the landscape. Then you can really get to work configuring your newfound bonus space. Even better, you’ll get a little thrill seeing how perfect your desk looks tucked into a nook that looks like it was built just for that purpose.   

2. Get a Secretary Desk 

Secretary desks may be the original small space living solution. These desks are great at concealing clutter because they often have cubbies, slots and other organizing spaces inside to help make order of papers and desk supplies. Then the flip-down writing surface provides your workspace. When you’re done, just flip the writing surface up and lock it to save space and keep your work clutter out of sight.  

Libby Langdon, decorator to the Hamptons and author of the book, Small Space Solutions: Secrets for Making Any Room Look Elegant and Feel Spacious on Any Budget, says secretary desks can be a great small space solution, but she does have one caveat.  

“I do like a secretary if it’s well-sized and people will take the time to close it,” Langdon says. But she cautions that it’s important for people to see how they work and realize that if they are not the type of person who will close the desk when it’s not in use, getting a secretary desk may not be a great idea for them.  

A great example of a secretary desk that will help you organize, but still gives your room great style is the Swedish Classics™ Secretary Desk from Twin Star Home™. It has one flip-down surface for working and one section that flips up to reveal the cubbies and paper sorters that help you stay organized. Plus, it is power-enabled with two USB and two AC power ports inside the desk to make life easier. It also has two lower storage drawers, which can really come in handy when you’re already short on space, especially when putting your home office in the bedroom. In fact, when you’re mixing the uses of your space, you can even use those lower drawers for storing larger items like sheets, towels or sweaters – and then use a different kind of storage for smaller desk items. Maybe a file cabinet is the perfect item to pair with your secretary desk or a hanging shelf. 

3. Let your desk double as a nightstand 

In the bedroom, you can use your desk as a nightstand and put a nightstand on the other side of the bed. Langdon says to do this successfully, you want to get a desk and nightstand that are close to the same height for symmetry and use the same lamp on each side of the bed. Specifically, getting a nightstand that is about 28 or 30 inches high and a desk around 30 inches high will give a symmetry and balance that will be visually pleasing. Langdon says that using a desk on one side of the bed and a chest of drawers on the other side as a nightstand that offers extra storage, is another configuration that can be successful in small spaces. But again, keeping consistent styles and heights is important.  

“If you have a hodgepodge of styles, it will not be a great effect,” Langdon says.  

4. Home Office in the Closet 

Langdon says a closet can even be a great solution to where to put your home office if you have a large closet or if you’re going to put it in a guest bedroom.  

“A closet doesn’t have to be an enormous walk-in closet for this to work,” Langdon says. Especially if you use some of her favorite tricks. For example, Langdon says if you use a vanity stool instead of a chair with your desk, then the stool can tuck in under the desk when it’s not in use.  

“You can literally close the door and your office is gone,” Langdon says. “I’m a big fan of multi-functional furniture.” 

She also suggests that instead of a vanity stool, a storage ottoman on casters can serve the same purpose – tucking up under the desk when it’s not in use.  

You can even use full-length draperies to conceal the desk you tucked into your closet.  

Tucking a desk into a closet or small room is an excellent small space solution. So is creating a small desk underneath hanging bookshelves. 

5. Carve a Desk into Bookshelves 

Combining bookshelves with a desk can be a great way to maximize your space when putting your home office in the bedroom. If you’re hanging bookshelves on the wall, perching a compact desk underneath can be a great way to have storage at the ready for all the items you need while you’re working. Another option is to configure a small desk between compact bookcases to solve your storage solutions as well as offering a viable work station.      

In Conclusion 

If you’re setting up a home office in your bedroom, keep in mind it may grow and change. And, hopefully, it will grow as you grow. Whether you are starting a business from home and this is your first little outpost in what you hope will one day be a grand empire, or whether it’s the place you are organizing your life outside of work, it’s there to help you do the things you need to do. And that’s a great thing.