A closet office? Say what? Don’t get your paper clips in a twist. Transforming an underutilized closet into a functional home office only takes a few simple tweaks. Even in the teeniest of spaces.
If you don’t already have a room available for a home office, converting a closet may be your best option. What about in the kitchen, you say? Shoving a desk into a corner of the kitchen will mess with the room’s efficiency. Not to mention create an eyesore. Well, how about the bedroom? Sure, if you want all your work stresses invading your dreams. Talk about a nightmare.
With a little ingenuity and a bit of work, a walk-in (or not so walk-in) closet can easily fit the bill for a practical, and may I say pretty darn cute, home office. Find out how to make over your closet.
Get the closet party started…
…in just a minute. First, you should consider a few factors before jumping into your closet renovation.
What's the shape of your closet? A thin rectangle? A square? A trapezoid with one slanting wall? Closets come in all varieties of peculiar shapes. Based on the shape of your closet, think about where you plan to place the essentials. Can you fit a pre-made desk in the closet, or will you need to assemble your own? Where should the shelves go? Will a chair fit? Do you plan on keeping the doors or removing them? Ask yourself these questions to avoid post-renovation frustration.
Remove the trimmings
Once you compile an idea of how you want the office to function, get ready to relieve some stress by tearing down your closet’s hardware. Use a little muscle to remove hanging rods, fixtures and any shelves that you don’t want to keep. Streamlining the closet will create a blank canvas for you to design your personalized office space.
That tiny dark nook that was intended to hold linens or hang coats could probably do with a perk up. Coat the walls in a zero- or low-VOC paint in a light, airy color, such as a soft blue. Avoid dusky hues to make the room appear larger. Since it is after all a closet, it can use as much optical illusion enlargement as it can get.
Get organized. Shelves are your friend when converting a closet into a home office. With limited desk space, you’ll need to store supplies elsewhere. Hang floating shelves to avoid the cluttered look of shelves with brackets. Not into the handy work? If closet size will allow, a cheap bookcase would create loads of storage space.
Now where the heck do you put all the stuff that was previously stored in the closet and now sits in a heap on the floor? Pare down, eco-gal. Follow our decluttering guide for some helpful tips.
Now the real fun begins. Choose furniture and accessories that fit your style and that will function well in tight spaces. Deck out the space with interesting vintage tins, photo boxes or glass jars to hold pencils, pens, paper and other office supplies. Repurpose or buy used accessories when possible!
Salvage any sturdy old board to use as a desk surface. You can create a floating desk, by purchasing a cable kit to install the board to the wall.
If you’re more clumsy than handy with the tools, opt for this easy solution. Find two file cabinets or other holders (use your imagination) of the same height. Assemble your do-it-yourself desk by simply placing the board across the two cabinets, leaving a space in the middle for a chair. Voilà. Instant desk.
Next, find a chair that slides under the desk so you can easily stow away your closet office if needed.
Ample lighting is a must for a closet office, where the dark recesses lack natural light. Find a small desk lamp that won’t take up too much space on the desk surface. Punch up the space with other small lamps if they fit on your shelves. If not, utilize your wall space with hanging lamps.
Doors or a curtain
If doors are too much of a nuisance, hang curtains that you can open and close easily across the opening to your closet office. If you choose to leave the doors intact, make use of their backs by hanging a calendar or a few inspirational pictures. Keep the doors or curtain closed when you’d rather not think about your work or open them to flaunt your creative office space.
Photos by Kirsten Hudson