We all deserve a secluded space away from the noise and bustle of the outside world, a designated locale in which to put our heads down and get to work.
And for those of us who work from home, such a space is nothing short of a necessity.
However, not every home comes equipped with a spacious office or even a predestined nook and then what?
Welcome to the ingenious world of the closet office.
These top 40 best closet office ideas are proof of man’s brilliance when tasked with a seemingly insurmountable conundrum. If you find yourself with a spare or unused closet, why not convert it into a serviceable office space? As trendy as it is functional, the built-in closet office can be undertaken in a number of ways, no matter the size or style of the closet.
Countless shelving units and lighting options, as well as design inspirations for curating your office to your own personal taste and liking, are just a few of the perks to transforming your closet into a newly repurposed work space. No more shuffling papers at the dining room table or balancing your laptop in bed or in front of the television; now you finally have a professional-level, personally procured studio of your very own.
Whether you’re looking for something simple or more inclined to achieve the ultimate in office chic, this is your chance to seize a corner of the world in which to stake your claim and fulfill your purpose–and best of all, under your very own roof.
1. Closet Office Nook Ideas
Virtually any unused closet can be used to create your private office nook. From a small reach-in closet to a walk-in with a window, these under-utilized zones are easy to transform into your own happy little cubicle. All you need is a work surface, a comfortable place to sit, and a healthy dose of inspiration.
Which closet you choose will depend on the size of your home and the people you share it with. If your bedroom has more than one closet, consolidate your clothes into one and use the other for your office. If you only have one master bedroom closet, free up that space by purchasing one or two wardrobes for your shoes and clothing. If you have a guest bedroom that rarely gets used, upgrading the closet into an office turns it into a dual-purpose space. You can simply close the closet door on your office when you have overnight guests.
Closets located in living areas also transform easily into stylish office nooks. Even if you currently use these spaces for storage, it’s not difficult to find another place for the contents of an under-used pantry, coat closet, or linen closet. Groceries can be moved into kitchen cabinets, guests’ coats can be hung on a coat rack, and linens can be stacked in baskets on bathroom shelves.
After choosing your small work space location, it’s time to shift your thoughts toward design. What do you need to create a productive work zone? What colors, fabrics and accessories go well with your existing home décor? What accents best reflect your personality?
2. Lighting Ideas for Closet Offices
Adequate lighting is a must for work zones. If your closet already has a light fixture, try to use it. Replace a bare-bulb with a multi-light fixture that can be aimed at specific zones in your workspace. Or simply add a nice globe or shade to soften the shadows of a single-source light.
LED light strips installed beneath shelves or cabinets are a great way to illuminate your work surface without adding a visible light fixture. Chances are that you won’t find an electric outlet inside your closet for plugging in light strips—or your laptop, for that matter. If your budget is tight, a power strip and extension cord may suffice for connecting to a nearby wall outlet. However, for a truly well-lit closet office, you may need to call an electrician to add outlets and light fixtures to your new work zone. Recessed can lights add a wonderful amount of illumination to small work spaces and look good with just about any type of décor.
If you’re renting your home or apartment, look for battery-powered lights that can be mounted to the wall or shelf with removable adhesive strips. These come in an ever-increasing array of choices and are quite affordable. When your lease is up, simply take them down and take them with you.
3. Closet Office Door Ideas
Your existing closet door may work just fine for your home office, or you might need to consider other alternatives. As with most home design decisions, your choices are limited only by your budget and DIY skills. Consider the footprint of your home before settling on an office door.
Many closets come fitted with two or four panel folding doors. These can continue to work well, or you can replace them with more stylish panels that look better in your new space. Sometimes a simple hardware update is all that’s necessary to bring new life to your doors.
If your closet door swings in, there may not be room for it after you add your worktop and chair. In that case, you can remount the door to swing out instead. This is a good time to consider purchasing a whole new door that can serve as a focal point in your room. Look for frosted glass or mirrored panels, or paint the door a fresh new color.
If you have a particularly snug closet space—such as when you repurpose a linen closet—a sliding barn door can be a great option. In fact, this door style adds character to any room. You just need to make sure you have wall space at least the width of your door opening, to accommodate the track and opened door. Check out this video to learn how to install a sliding barn door yourself.
4. Built-In Closet Office Ideas
Built-in desks can be a great way to maximize your closet office’s potential. By custom fitting all the components of your office and incorporating them into the existing design of the room, you can minimize the amount of small gaps or wasted spaces that a standard desk or filing cabinet might create.
Pick one favorite color and use it to paint the area above your work surface. A darker shade like navy blue contrasts beautifully with white and natural wood trim and makes the area appear deeper than it actually is. If you prefer wallpaper, this can be a great zone to use an energizing pattern that might be too busy for a larger room. Installing shiplap or beadboard on the back wall is a great way to make the space feel homey and well-appointed.
Include plenty of storage shelves, baskets, and bins on the walls, to free up as much desktop area as possible. If you are an experienced builder or DIYer, you can build an entire desk and shelf system into your closet office. If not, you can hire a carpenter to install custom shelves and a built-in desk with drawers to hold all your files and supplies.
5. Walk-In Closet Office Ideas
Designing a walk-in closet office is more like designing a small room instead of a little office nook. Often, these big spaces have enough room to incorporate your office and your clothing storage together. It takes a bit of planning to pull this off, but it’s worth the effort. You don’t want to trip over your gym shoes every time you work from home, or end up feeling smothered, wedged between your partner’s business suits and your winter coats.
Creating zones is the key to making a walk-in closet office work. If your closet didn’t come with built-in wooden shelves, drawers, and cabinets, start looking online for large closet organization systems. Use baskets to organize sweaters and intimates on your shelves and take advantage of every method available to keep your clothes and shoes organized and out of sight. Then you will be free to use the rest of the space to design your office getaway.
Choose a generously-sized desk and a comfortable chair. Lie a luxurious area rug on the floor beneath your work zone and replace your plain overhead lights with a colorful chandelier or other ornate fixture. Accessorize your desk with a lovely lamp and framed photos of your loved ones.
If your walk-in closet has windows, consider how much life houseplants can bring to an office. Not only do they look beautiful, they add oxygen to the space and can be relatively low-maintenance. You can even place your desk beneath your window, to provide a beautiful view and literally put your clothes storage behind you.
6. Closet Office Ideas for Shelving
Because a closet office can be such a tight space, it’s important to make use of every inch of wall space. Shelves are one of the best ways to add a ton of storage to your cozy nook. If you want to DIY your closet office, your local home improvement store offers hundreds of easy-to-install shelving solutions. From minimalist floating shelves to rows of perfect book-height planks on brackets, there will be a shelf design perfect for your space.
Shelves can be painted the same color as your walls, painted an accent color, or even covered in wallpaper. If you find a beautiful wood desk surface, you can install richly stained, real wood shelves to match. Consider alternating shelves with file baskets that hang on the wall, or set baskets on each shelf to hold items you’d rather keep out of sight. Take your shelves as high up the wall as you can, to maximize your storage capacity.
7. Closet Office Cabinetry and Storage Ideas
Cabinets are another essential element in most closet office nooks. Although smaller fitted closets may not have room for any type of cabinet, most closet offices will have the space for at least one decent set of drawers. The most logical place for a small cabinet is under the desk.
Cabinets aren’t as easy as shelves when it comes to doing it yourself, but anyone can tuck a pre-made file cabinet or unit beneath a work surface. Make sure to measure your under-desk space carefully before ordering any type of cabinet that must fit there. Allow for ample leg and knee room for when you are seated, and enough space to roll your chair inside before you close your office at the end of the day.
Utilize a variety of boxes, bins, and jars to store your small office supplies. These storage pieces are a great way to inject your personal style into your home work zone. Make them as minimalist or as frou-frou as you please. Note that flat letter-sized trays are just as helpful for paperwork organization at home as they are at your place of business.
8. Closet Office Ideas for Seating
Comfort is always the primary consideration when choosing seating for any office. Considering the number of hours you’re likely to spend in your new favorite nook, you need something great to sit on. Of course, space may be an issue, and you may have to settle for something smaller or more austere than you would otherwise prefer. If you have a repurposed coat closet, you may simply not have room for the same type of rolling office chair that would fit into a huge walk-in closet. However, you can find smaller-scale office chairs that have all the features of larger models.
You may find that you already have a kitchen chair or stool that fits well into your closet office. If it’s made of wood or metal, perhaps shop for a cushion to increase your comfort level when perched there for several hours. A cushioned, fabric cube is a clean and simple addition to a minimalist closet office.
Drape a throw blanket or shawl over your chair to use during chilly mornings at your desk. Add a fluffy throw pillow to add some texture to your zone and use for back support as the day evolves. If you have the extra room, it can be nice to build a bench for additional seating beside your desk.
Closet Office FAQs
Green building practices are important to me. What should I ask my builder to be mindful of when he installs my closet office shelving system?
Ask your builder to only use products that meet all Environmentally Preferable Products (EPP) specifications. Doing so means that your office will be built with sustainable or recycled materials and finished with products that contribute to a healthy indoor environment.
I would love to convert my guest room closet to an office space, but I rent my apartment and move frequently. Is there a way I can take my office with me when I move?
Yes, if you build your closet office with free-standing pieces instead of built-ins, you can take it to each new home. Balance a wood work top on two file cabinets, or roll in a small student desk. Hang wire baskets on the walls instead of installing shelves, or use plank-and-bracket shelving that’s easy to take apart and pack when you move.