Home office desk ideas – 12 ways to kit out your work space with style

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  • Whether you work from home on the odd occasion or spend much of your working week at home, organising a work space that suits your set-up is key. Home office desk ideas can vary from compact desks for laptop working, to storage-heavy set-ups that house larger amounts of kit and paperwork. Or even desk-in-a-cupboard options that keep everything hidden out of sight once the working day is done.

    Deciding on a desk arrangement will depend on whether you have a dedicated room or area at home in which to set up your home office idea, as well as how much space you have available.

    Home office desk ideas

    With many of us having to share our work space with other members of the family that are working from home too, finding ways to accommodate extra office furniture that looks homely and doesn’t dominate the space can be a challenge. Desks that make clever use of tight spaces are a sensible option for small home office ideas.

    ‘Choosing multi-purpose pieces is key,’ says Marc Epstein, Interiors Expert at CARME Home. ‘Whether you have a dedicated room to work in or are updating a corner of your bedroom, dining, or living room, it’s important to look beyond traditional furniture and consider designs with style in mind.’

    ‘Desks that double up as dressing tables mean that your work can be hidden at the end of the day. Enabling you to create an effective work life balance without the temptation of jumping on your desk just before bed.’

    ‘And technology-infused furniture is set to be a big trend this year,’ adds Marc, ‘with desks with built-in chargers and speakers so you can charge up your laptop or create a relaxing working from home playlist without having to move from your work station.’

    1. Go for a neat desk and storage set-up

    Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore

    For workloads that require lots of filing, paperwork and kit being close to hand, organise a desk arrangement that factors in plenty of easy-access home office storage ideas. Make use of the area above the desk with a wall of shelving and cubby holes that can be used to stash all manner of office essentials. Add a memo board that spans the length of the desk. Match its colour to files and storage boxes for a neat, colour co-ordinated look.

    Opt for a wall-hung desk like this one as a brilliant space-saver. Raising drawer units off the floor will give plenty of leg room and ensure that the area underneath the desk doesn’t look crowded and cluttered for a more spacious feel.

    2. Slot a small desk into a hallway

    blue and white hallway with white hutch desk and filing cabinet

    Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young

    If you don’t have the luxury of a spare room or dedicated home office, then stealing space from other areas of the home can be a canny way of working in a desk set-up. Look at hallway areas, upstairs landings, empty recesses and alcoves and you might well be able to carve out an office nook in an under-utilised area. You could even head outdoors with a garden office idea.

    A compact hutch-style desk takes up far-less floor space than a standard-sized desk. There’s still plenty of surface space for a laptop or somewhere to sit and do paperwork. Add a run of shelves above and fabric-covered noticeboards on the wall. Use a pretty pattern that complements the wall colour to keep the space from looking too spartan and office-like.

    3. Spread out with a longline desk

    lilac and blue home office with white long desk and floating shelf

    Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore

    If having plenty of surface space is essential (often a must in a craft room idea) or you need a desk arrangement that can accommodate two people, then consider a pair of side-by-side desks to create an extra-long desk set-up.

    Instead of using two individual desks, create a side-by-side arrangement. Use a longline length of worktop with individual filing drawers and cabinets at intervals underneath. Buy worktop by the metre to allow you to tailor the length of your desk to suit what space there is available for more of a bespoke feel.

    4. Double-up with back-to-back desks

    white home office with back to back desks

    Image credit: Ikea

    A dedicated room as your home office gives you free rein when it comes to deciding on the best working arrangement. This makes it easier to avoid home office design mistakes. If there are two members of the family sharing the same WFH space, then consider positioning desks back-to-back centrally in the room instead of against a wall as is standard.

    Positioning desks in the centre of a room can create a more sociable vibe and allows the space around the perimeter of the room to be better-used for storage. Make it more flexible by opting for height-adjustable desks that be set at the most practical height for each user.

    Buy now: Bekant desks, £160 each, Ikea

    5. Build your own desk

    under stairs area with desk and green storage units

    Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young

    Taking over an under-utilised area, such as an alcove, cubby or under stairs recess, is a brilliant way of creating a WFH nook if space is super-tight. All that’s needed to create a mini desk set-up is a length of worktop, cut to size and slotted into the space.

    Add extra office storage if space allows. Standard flat-pack kitchen cabinets are inexpensive, come in a range of widths and heights and can be slotted in underneath and around the desktop. Paint units a complementary colour and add contrast handles for a chic look that will blend in with the room’s decor.

    6. Take over a corner

    white home office with grey corneer desk

    Image credit: Cotswold Company

    Carve out some extra office space by making use of an out-of-the-way corner to set up desk. A neat triangular-shaped desk or L-shaped arrangement will slot neatly into a corner and give extra surface space for a smaller footprint.

    Look for a desk with built-in cupboards that will allow bulky tech equipment or clutter to be hidden away. Plus a slide-out shelf that will conceal the keyboard when not in use.

    Buy now: Chester dove grey corner desk, £799, Cotswold Company

    7. Find the perfect fit

    yellow home office corner with wood and metal shelving and corner desk

    Tricky corner or awkward space to fill? Opt for a modular desk system that can be tailored to suit your exact needs in terms of size, desk space and storage. Build a whole wall of work space and storage, starting with one basic corner-shaped unit and adding sections on until you reach the required size.

    Make a style statement by painting the feature wall idea behind an open system like this in a cheery shade or bold contrast colour so that the frame and woodwork stand out against it.

    Buy now: Bronx oak effect modular USB desk, £550, Next

    8. Slot a mini work station into a living space

    white living room with ladder style wood and metal desk with plants

    Image credit: Dunelm

    Shared work and living spaces have become the norm with more of us now working from home. But it can be hard to switch off if the work area completely dominates a living room. Opt for a neat ladder-style work station that has ample space for laptop work. Style it up with plants, books and decorative bits and bobs so that it blends in with its surroundings the rest of the time. A tidy desk lamp makes a great home office lighting idea.

    Buy now: Fulton ladder desk, £149, Dunelm

    9. Try a desk in a cupboard

    office bedroom with desk in a cupboard

    Image credit: Manhattan bedroom, from £2000, Sharps

    Another option that will ensure that the desk set-up doesn’t intrude too much in a living room or dual-purpose space is to opt for a hideaway desk. Conceal a desk inside a cupboard or fitted wardrobe idea. You’ll have enough space for a pull-out desktop and storage, but the beauty is that everything can be hidden away behind closed doors at the end of the day.

    Hideaway desk options range from off-the-peg cupboard and desk combinations, to pricier built-in options that can be tailored to fit room specifications. These may include lighting and add-on storage elements. Alternatively, if your home has a large cupboard that could accommodate shelves and a pull-out desktop, it’s possible to convert it yourself with a little work.

    10. Opt for a mix-and-match desk

    garden office with wooden desk and trestle base

    Image credit: Future PLC/Jamie Mason

    Put together your own bespoke arrangement if you can’t find a desk that meets your specific needs. Ikea has a range of off-the-peg office buys that include filing units, cabinets and trestle bases that can be mixed and matched in a combination or configuration that suits. You could even look at a clever Ikea hack to achieve your perfect solution.

    Worktop is sold by the metre, allowing you to create a desktop to the size required, whether that be neat and compact or an extra-wide desk arrangement.

    11. Stay stylish with a discreet desk in a shared space

    white living room with wooden floating shelves and black dining chairs

    Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young

    If all that’s required is desktop space for occasional working, then a stylised arrangement won’t ruin the aesthetic of a living room the rest of the time. A stack of floating shelves, one above the other, creates a wall of storage. It doubles as a display space with papers and office bits hidden neatly away in smart box files. Then, just pull up a chair for the perfect laptop landing spot when it’s time to get down to some work.

    12. Squeeze a desk into an alcove

    blue bedroom with white floating desk dressing table area

    Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore

    Make use of an empty alcove idea or a tight nook if you’re needing to set up desk in a spare room that also doubles up as a guest bedroom. A narrow, floating desk won’t protrude into the room too much. And it can do double duty as a mini dressing table with the addition of a wall-hung mirror.

    Opt for a colour scheme in shades of blue, soft grey and blush. This creates a calming mood that will aid creativity when working but be restful enough for a good night’s sleep.

    What should I have on my home office desk?

    ‘Put away any non-essentials and prioritise what you have out on your desk,’ says Vicky Silverthorn at Youneedavicky. ‘Is it something you use frequently or only occasionally? I archive anything that I don’t need to put my hands on daily, such as paperwork and equipment, so that only essential items are out and things I use less frequently are put away.’

    ‘And make sure everything has a home – so tidying is something you do almost without thinking about. Desk tidies are useful if they suit your belongings, but not if they’re too small and fiddly. And don’t have excess supplies, bulk buying just creates the need for more storage.’

    How can I make my home office look good?

    ‘Change the scenery,’ says Vicky. ‘Clear your work space at the end of each day. If you don’t have a designated office and your desk is in a living room, change its look by putting a plant on top, or perhaps a scented candle or vase of flowers, something to symbolise that work time is over.