Friday, October 28, 2016

15 UHeart Organizing: Making Big Things Happen in a Small Workspace

Home offices are one of my favorite spaces to organize, as even simple updates can dramatically change a person's work flow and attitude. And I have seen everything from full functioning rooms filled with wall-to-wall storage, to an entire office stored inside of a portable box. What everyone uses and needs to work from home varies, but that is what is so interesting to me. I love reading people's office storage stories, and finding out the specifics behind what works (and also what doesn't). And regardless if you have a designated room or use a small nook in your kitchen, just gazing at clutter free desks can be inspirational in so many ways. I know I am always inclined to go do a quick refresh of my work surface after seeing one online, in a magazine or even in a movie.

My lovely lady friends, Casey & Bridget of DIY Playbook, always have a way of making the most of limited space. I am head over heels smitten with their clean and beautiful aesthetic, and truly enjoy reading their tips for living small and carving out functional nooks around their homes. Casey doesn't have the space in her abode to dedicate an entire room solely to blog writing and bill paying, but she did manage to set up a room within a room. And it's beautiful. And minimal. And I love it. Here she is now with more details and tips.

We've written about our small space solutions here on iHeart Organizing before. You can check out our small space secret storage ideas in this post. But today, we wanted to tackle another small space issue, creating an organized and functional work area when you don't have a dedicated office space.

I live in downtown Chicago in a 2-bedroom condo (you can tour it right here); one of our bedrooms acts as a guest room, and the other is our master bedroom. Of course we would have loved another bedroom so we could turn it into an office, but unfortunately we just don't have that kind of setup. Instead of complaining about our limited space, we've attempted to make the most of it! That's why we added a small work area to our master bedroom.

Now I know what you're thinking... An office in your master bedroom? Isn't that a BAD idea? How can you create a calming oasis to rest, when you have WORK in your relaxing space?

The answer is 2-fold. First of all, this is really the only feasible spot for a desk and chair. So we've done our best to make it work for us. Second of all, if you create a work zone like ours, then I promise it won't be a chaotic mess in your master bedroom. Instead it will just be another cute nook that happens to hold some stylish desk supplies.


Tip #1: Find a Spot & Get Creative

We already told you our solution for our work setup. We had a blank wall in our master bedroom that was just big enough for a desk and chair. So I found a slim desk, a comfy chair (that could be used anywhere around the house!), and created my own little "office space."

Any small area in your home can work for this. I recommend choosing slim and streamlined furniture, instead of any bulky desks or chairs. If we have an extra guest for dinner, I can just use our office desk chair because it fits right in with the rest of our home. You certainly do not need an entire room for your office, just find a spot and make it work for you!

Tip #2: Keep it Tidy

The main reason this setup works for our household, is because we keep things very tidy. We have minimal items on the desktop and don't allow anything to clutter up the surface for more than a few hours. A lamp, monitor, a stylish pen holder, and simple accessories are all we keep out on a daily basis.

Inside the middle drawer, we stash our wireless keyboard, mouse pad, and mouse. Whenever I'm powering up the monitor for the day, I simply take these bad boys out and put them in the "on" position. Keeping the surface from becoming too packed really helps our work space look (& work) that much better.

Tip #3: Have a Paperwork Plan

The number one thing that can take any office space from cute to chaotic is excess paperwork. That's why you MUST have a paperwork plan when you setup your office space. We have a file cabinet that we keep in our guest room closet, and cute storage bins in there as well. These areas hold all of our important documents. Instead of letting anything sit out on our desk, we immediately file it away. Paying our bills electronically also cuts down on a lot of important papers.

Because our printer is wireless, we house it in our family room built-ins. That keeps our master bedroom work space from getting too clogged up with bulky items and electronics.

Tip #4: Hide Electronic Cords

Speaking of cords, when you have a sleek desk like ours you don't want to make it look messy with tangled cords all over the place. Because our desk is so slim, you can see just about everything going on under the desk. To cut back on this visual clutter, I used command hooks on the leg of the desk to hide the cord for the lamp (more on how to do that in this post). Since the lamp is a permanent fixture on our desktop, I hid the cord along the length of the desk’s back leg and base, running it all the way down and over to a nearby outlet. I simply placed a hook every few inches so I could string the cord along and secure it as I went.

We also have a large jute pouf that sits under our desk. It has multiple purposes. It adds some texture to the space, is a nice spot to put your feet up when you're working, and it also hides some of the electronic cords from the monitor.

Tip #5: Use Secret Storage

Clearly we have a big obsession with secret storage, as we utilize it in just about every single project around our homes. The most obvious way to keep this area organized is to utilize the storage in the drawers.

Our desk only comes with 3, but all of them work overtime to make sure this area stays functioning well. If you're buying a desk for your work space, consider finding a desk with even more drawers and storage. That way all of the clutter can hide away and be out of view.

Also, have your accessories work double-duty. This small box actually holds all of my business cards. So it's functional, and fashionable. Don't clutter your desk up with too many secret storage items, but do make sure that the ones you have displayed work for you.

So there you have it, tips to make your home work space work harder for you. Our office-in-the-bedroom situation isn't ideal, but it certainly works well for us! Sometimes you just need to get creative to find a solution for your home and your lifestyle. And heck, it certainly beats the "workspace" we were using before we brought this area into our bedroom (i.e. me sitting in the middle of our bed on my computer). My back certainly thanks me.


Hey There! We're Bridget and Casey, the best friends, Chicago gals, and editors behind The DIY Playbook. Even though we consider ourselves busy girls with full-time jobs, husbands, and never ending to-do lists, we believe there is always time to add personality to our homes. On our blog, we strive to inspire our readers to inject their sparkling personalities into their own spaces with affordable and attainable solutions. We heart Instagram, can't turn down a cup of coffee, have no clue what we're doing in the kitchen, and are beyond excited to be part of the IHeart Organizing team!


  1. Hello! Where did you get the shelf with all the frames on it? Thanks!

    1. Hi Sandy,

      I have seen the picture ledges at a couple of different stores:



      West Elm:

      Land of Nod:

      And I have also seen individuals DIY them:

  2. I actually really love this idea! Looks really neat, space saving and functional. don't think it really matters if it's in a bedroom. My little office space is a corner of our family room in the basement and I make it work for us :-)
    Edwige httop://

  3. So organized! I'd love to know where you purchased the little covers for the bottom on the chair legs.

    1. They are called Furniture Feet and we got them from Amazon! We were having so much trouble having the little felt pads stay in place on the bottom of the chair because of the vent, so these are a bit more heavy duty and have kept our hardwoods scratch-free.

  4. I love Casey's bedroom - it looks so tranquil and cozy!

  5. I'd love to know where the jute pouf is from! :)

  6. This is exactly the inspiration I was looking for!! Can you share where the desk is from?

  7. Beautiful! I am not sure if I can pull something like this with my glass top table that I am using as my work space :-(

  8. Lovely! Where is the computer tower?

  9. Fingers crossed I'm going to be able to pull of a tiny work space as well as you can once I move house!


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