Closet office ideas – 10 clever ways to create home working space
Be inspired by closet office ideas that are stylish, comfortable and highly functional
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Closet office ideas are a clever way to create the working space you need within your home. Design an office in a closet and you won’t have to dedicate another room to it, but you can gain an organized area in which to concentrate on the task at hand.
A closet office may be super compact or a larger space but, either way, it offers a desk plus storage in one location you can call your own – or share with other family members – with no need to clear away essentials at the end of working day.
Here we’ve put together home office ideas that take advantage of all that closets have to offer for the permanent or occasional home worker to inspire you.
Closet office ideas
Modern home office ideas are stylish as well as providing a highly functional work space within the home. These closet office ideas are no exception ticking the boxes for practicality, comfort and good looks.
1. Fit in a compact office
A home office setup needn’t be large to work beautifully. 'This closet office, hidden neatly behind a wardrobe door, is an ideal home workspace solution where room for a larger desk or home office is limited,’ says Katie Lion, senior interior designer at Kitesgrove.
‘The shelving is neat and functional, allowing for the closet to still be used for storage, while the bespoke chair is a versatile home office seating idea and comfortable enough for a day’s work or as an extra seat for cocktail hour.'
2. Keep the design fuss-free
'For a tiny office to be fitted in a cabinetry wall or closet, emphasize simplicity, neutrality and flexibility (with a dash of color in the finishing touches),' recommends Mindy O'Connor, principal of Melinda Kelson O'Connor Architecture & Interiors (opens in new tab). ‘Utilize closed cabinetry above to keep messes hidden, and create an open nook below to slide in a chair.’
Versatility is key when it comes to organizing a desk here. ‘These types of home office spaces often work best as a “hot desk”, with flexibility for family members' laptops and lots of plugging in options, particularly in drawer outlets,’ she says. ‘Then individual items can be tucked away or closed off when company arrives. Backsplash areas can be a great spot for learning a decorative photograph to give the nook some style.'
3. Match the closet doors to the rest of your home
We may be talking closet office ideas, but think home office paint colors that make one of these designs sympathetic to other interiors.
'This “closet-office” has a linear configuration,' says Philip J Consalvo, AIA, principal at PJCArchitecture (opens in new tab). 'It is concealed by two hinged doors that echo the vocabulary of the doors throughout the apartment. When the doors are closed, the space is concealed and is completely hidden as a storage closet might be. When the doors are opened and the space is revealed, it feels like it is part of the adjacent family room. The desk is comfortable and does not feel claustrophobic.'
4. Make a grand entranceway with an arch
The ability to leave it open to a room or close it off can be great for home office productivity. 'This office is located off of the master bedroom' says Lindye Galloway, founder and chief creative officer at Lindye Galloway Studio + Shop (opens in new tab). ‘The soft shades of beige and white tie it to the rest of the bedroom space, but the gorgeous arched doorway allows the closet to function as a separate office space.
‘It provides the perfect work from home setup by instilling the comfort of your bedroom in your office while also providing the option to close off the area for those days when you really need to focus.’
5. Consider a sliding barn door
A barn style door is a one of the most stylish closet office ideas. 'Having a designated space away from the noise and bustle around your home is essential, especially when also working from home,’ advises Karen Wolf, creative principal at Karen B Wolf Interiors (opens in new tab). ‘If you don't have an office or nook, it can be as little as a closet. Simply incorporate a sliding barn door to create a wonderful room focal point.’
6. Highlight the desk space with a brass trim
Make your home office desk ideas a focal point with a metallic trim. 'Sleek and stylish, this smart closet office is built into hidden wardrobe space,’ explains Jennifer Ebert, digital editor, Homes & Gardens.
‘The brass detailing is second to none and a fabulous idea, and it’s offset by the jet black wood at the back. There's a perfect sized space for a chair to fit – not always the case in some closet offices – and a place for files on the right.’
7. Don't be afraid to use color
Contemplating closet office ideas definitely doesn’t preclude the use of color. 'In our project JB Mews, we created a compact office at the back of the property in a small closet room,' says Tom Rutt, founder of TR Studio (opens in new tab).
‘Whether you work full time from your home office or just a few hours a week, it should be a space that feels productive and inspiring. With our client enthusiastic to use bold color, we covered walls in a purple linen wallpaper to add texture and paired this with Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab)’s Pelt paint on the ceiling, coving and on all of the woodwork to create a purple paradise for the client to work.
‘To add extra home office lighting ideas to the box room we also installed a further small window, positioning a bespoke desk with storage directly in front of window. The desk was crafted from solid oak to provide ample working space across one wall. On the opposite wall we installed full length shelving.’
8. Choose French doors for light and privacy
Doors featuring glass can be ideal for closet office ideas. 'This was a small closet off the dining room that we decided to turn into a study for our client by expanding and adding the French doors,' says Lacy Hughes, designer at Julian Design (opens in new tab). ‘This allows the owners to still have light and brightness even when they need some privacy while working.’
9. Avoid clutter in a closet office
Effective home office storage ideas are essential for a calm room. 'Clutter, particularly in a closet home office environment can be distracting, so give some thought to your storage needs,' says Debbie Leigh, design manager at ILIV (opens in new tab).
‘Built-in units work well, however if you have a limited closet size, try simple shelves to store books and display inspiring objects. Soft furnishings such as curtains, blinds and cushions will help bring comfort to the area and can be used to inject some of your own personal style.’
10. Make the most of vertical space
Even a small hidden desk area can include space to stash. 'Not everyone has the luxury of a separate room for a home office and with so many of us now working from home, the need for a designated area is more important than ever,' say Jen & Mar, co-founders of Interior Fox (opens in new tab). ‘A desk needn't take away from your day-to-day living space, and through a little creativity you can have the best of both worlds with an integrated design that can be cleverly hidden away.
‘Here, we did exactly that, with a compact desk created behind bespoke sliding paneled doors. Shelves were installed to make the most of the vertical space, allowing for books and work tools to be stored away. Don’t forget electrics, make sure outlets are within reaching distance so you can charge your laptop and plug your light in.’
Can you put a desk in a closet?
You can put a desk in a closet – and it’s a great way to add the home working space you need when you can’t give up another room or take work into the yard with shed office ideas.
‘The joy of this setup is that you can shut the doors on work at the end of the day,’ says Lucy Searle, global editor in chief of Homes & Gardens. ‘Opt for a sliding door that moves entirely out of the way for a more open feel when you’re using a closet office, or try bifolding doors instead as otherwise the space can feel too enclosing.’
What is a cloffice?
A cloffice is a combination of closet and office. To make a closet into an office all that’s really required is a desktop plus enough space for a chair but it’s possible to make a cloffice a whole lot more sophisticated than that.
Think shelving or cubbies above the desk to create storage and space for decorative accessories that make it a pleasant place to work. And there’s no reason not to own a cloffice that packs a decorative punch. Use color to transform the interior and make it an inspiring home office.
Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events. For H&G, she writes features about interior design – and is known for having an eye for a beautiful room.
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