Making It Work: 4 Secrets for Styling Small Workspaces

You want your work area to be a place that inspires you but also doesn’t get in the way of getting the job done. Whether you’re working from a bedroom, dorm, living room or even a closet, styling a small workspace can be challenging. But with the right organizational aids and visual insights, you can design a station that works for you.

Design and lifestyle expert Sarah Gunn is known for creating ideal spaces. Not only has she appeared on TV shows including Cityline, and in the pages of HGTV Magazine, Canadian Living and House & Home, but she also works with private clients to create spaces that are functional and inspiring. We asked Gunn to share her favourite tips for making a small workspace come to life.

1. Use your wall space

In a small office, making the most of wall space is key. “If you are a visual person, a bulletin board can be a great way to keep you inspired and keep things off your desk,” says Gunn. “Pin notes, important letters, or pictures.”

Adding personal items to your workspace is another way to mix business with pleasure. Wall-mounted shelves such as this set from Nexxt, are another great way to provide easy access to other essential office supplies and to display artwork. “Art is so important but it's also the thing most people miss when designing a room,” says Gunn. “Even in a [closet-like] space, it can be a budget-friendly way to add personality.”

2. Light up the room

Good lighting is another crucial element in making a tiny workspace feel friendlier. According to Gunn, you want good overhead lighting plus task lighting that you can customize according to your needs, whether for reading documents or typing at a computer. She likes options that you can dim or brighten to suit any situation.

Not only is good lighting more flattering on video calls, but it will also help you feel more focused. If you are working in a space that serves more than one purpose, like a dorm room, you’ll also want lighting solutions that adapt to all of your needs, like the Sheffield Home Amelie Magnifying LED Clip Task Lamp. This small light is not only stylish (it’s based on the classic pantograph lamp), but it also aims to reduce eyestrain with its 3000K colour temperature, which produces a soft, warm light.

3. Clear out clutter

You can have a workspace that is both organized and visually appealing at the same time. The trick, says Gunn, is to have organizational aids with a bit of flair. “If you like ceramics, for example, you can add a few pieces to your desk and use them to hold pencils and pens.”

Gunn is also an advocate of adding colourful accessories to liven up your workspace. In her own home, she has a bright blue desk. For rooms that serve multiple purposes, say a guest bedroom that doubles as a kids’ study, Gunn is a fan of furnishings like the Poppin Stow 2-Drawer File Cabinet in the white and orange colour way. “They’re fun to look at and they keep your desk clutter-free.”

4. Don’t be afraid to add pattern

Styling any space, especially a tiny office, may seem daunting, but the secret is to add elements that you love. Gunn’s favourite way to style a small space without sacrificing functionality is to add prints and patterns. “I love wallpaper. Even in a little corner, you can quickly cover one wall with some peel-and-stick wallpaper and it completely transforms the space,” says Gunn.

If you’re worried about overwhelming your work area with bold colour, prints or patterns, you can always temper these elements with minimalist office furniture. A piece like the MidMod by Union & Scale Fabric Manager Chair can provide a comfy counterpoint to a livelier print. The wheels on this chair make it easy to move around, while the neutral cream-coloured upholstery helps this seat transition between spaces in live-work environments.

Working from anywhere can present an exciting opportunity to carve out a place in your home where you can feel productive and inspired to do your best work. No matter the size of your space, it is possible to create a stylish and functional home office— all it takes is a little creativity.

By Staples Canada

September 10, 2021