I recently got my home office set up in my own bedroom due to space constraints. In this article, I will share 12 tips I learned about how to set up a home office in a small space, especially without an extra room.
While the items are arranged in the most logical order I can think of, they don’t have to be used in any particular order.
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1) Assess Surroundings
In other words, decide where you want your home office to be set up.
Just deciding and getting a general sense of where and how big my working area laid the foundation to getting my home office set up. Without this step, there can be no home office at all.
Since I do not have much space, the only feasible location for me is to place my working area right beside my bed.
Other locations that you could consider could include:
- The closet
- In the hallway
- The living room
2) Plan The Organisation of Space
Planning the organisation of space is important when there isn’t much of it to work with in the first place – it has helped me to visualise the end product of how my work space will look and also prevent troubles that arise from a lack of planning.
To plan my space, I created a simple list titled “What I need my home office to do for me”. Within it, I detail the type of work that I need my home office to be able to facilitate, in this case, just simple computer work.
I also list down what categories of items that I will need my home office to store for me, such as, important documents and books.
3) Discard The Unnecessary
After the planning of the organisation of space, I now had a good idea of what are the essentials that I will need to keep in my home office. Now, the next logical step for me will be to discard the unnecessary.
There are 2 questions I’ve continually asked that has helped me in my decision making process for what to discard:
- Is this item likely to be useful to me in the future? If no;
- Does this item hold any significant sentimental value to me?
If the answer to both questions is no, then I either throw out the item, or give them away.
Through this simple process, I have donated more than 60 books and thrown out at least 3 big boxes of items that I no longer need.
4) Reuse Existing Furniture
Because I have limited space and budget, I reused furnitures that are in good working order as much as I could.
The furnitures that I reused even as I revamped my home office included my table and bookshelf. While I only reused 2 furnitures, they were both items that I would consider as the mainstays of my home office.
Consider the furnitures that you could reuse instead of buying new ones to add into your home office, not only will you save money, you will save yourself from unnecessary clutter from only adding on and not maximising to what you already have.
5) Keep Workspace Decluttered
Keeping my workspace decluttered has meant more space that I have to work with and more bandwidth for me to focus on what truly matters.
I’ve found that keeping my workspace decluttered is first a matter of design, then a continual decision to keeping it decluttered and simple.
Consider keeping only items that are essential to your work on your work table/home office and then making it a point to tidy up at the end of every day.
6) Buy Mounting Arms
Since I only have a small space to work with, space on my desk is space that I cannot let go to waste. A good way I’ve discovered to maximise the space on my desk was to purchase mounting arms that mount my monitor screen, laptop and phone above my desk.
The only prerequisite to getting mounting arms is that you’d need to ensure that your table has a ledge so that you can clamp the mounting arms onto your desk.
I’ve been using these monitor/laptop mount for the past 2-3 months now.
Not only have they been great at saving space on my work desk, they’ve also been great at giving me more options in terms of customising my viewing angles for my laptop/screen.
7) Get A Table Mat
A table mat allows me to clearly demarcate space – in my case, there are 2 main things that I do on my work desk. Computer work and studying/reading.
Having a table mat allows me to quickly switch between these 2 purposes and prevents clutter from building up in my already small amount of space that I have to work with.
You don’t need a fancy desk mat to achieve the objective of demarcating your work space.
8) Buy a Autoswitch Mouse & Keyboard
If you work with multiple devices, you might want to consider getting a autoswitch keyboard and mouse – these are bluetooth keyboards and mouse that can switch between devices (usually up to 3 devices) like laptops, phones and tablets at the tap of a button.
Because I work with multiple devices, switching between my wireless keyboards and mouse quickly has meant that I need to have 2 sets of keyboards & mouse.
With the Autoswitch mouse & keyboard by Logitech, not only have I become more efficient, I also no longer need to have 2 sets of keyboards and mouse.
Logitech has many models of autoswitch keyboards & mouse. But I’ve found the ones that are listed below to be practical enough and wallet friendly.
I’ve been using the Logitech K780 (affiliate link to Amazon) for more than a year.
Throughout this time, I’ve found it to be a reliable keyboard whose only drawback is its weight and the many nooks and crannies that it has that tends to trap dust.
The Logitech MX Master 2S (affiliate link to Amazon) works great as a productivity mouse that can switch quickly between devices.
Especially useful if you work with a lot of spreadsheets, the mouse has a vertical scrolling wheel that has come in handy for me.
It is also great for me that it has a rechargeable battery that lets me quickly get back
9) Consider a Laptop Docking Station
A laptop docking station helps with preventing clutter especially in a small working area by providing for more ports for charging – gone were the days where I have to prioritise connecting only the critical accessories into my machine.
Because more ports are now available to me, I don’t have to go through so much hassle with cable management. I basically plug in what I need once, and then am free to leave it alone for a long time.
While this WavLink laptop docking station (affiliate link to Amazon) I bought doesn’t allow me to charge my laptop, for the price it sells for, I think its value is justified.
10) Consider a Monitor Light
Getting a monitor light provided task lighting while not sacrificing the precious space of my table. Consider getting one for yourself if you have a second screen.
The good thing about having a docking station coupled with a monitor light is that I can power the monitor light through the docking station.
Just a simple monitor light (affiliate link to Amazon) but it saved me the space of a table lamp.
11) Minimise Appearance of Wires
In today’s day and age, having wires in our work space is inevitable and making the choice to keep them neat and tidy is one that we all can make.
Minimising/tidying up the appearance of wires in my home office is not only an aesthetic issue. For a small home office, it can be a safety issue too.
For my home office, I got some velcro strips (affiliate link to Amazon) to help me tie up and organise all the wires I have running around.
12) Keep Things Small
Since space is a big concern, you may also want to consider keeping things small while not sacrificing on practicality.
Consider throwing out/giving away more items until you have a reasonable space to set up your home office with.
Consider the downsizing the following items in your home office:
- Work table
- Office chair
- Monitor arm (Maybe instead of 2 monitor arms, just get 1 for your laptop)
That’s all the tips I have for setting up a home office in a small space. For more inspiration, you may wish to visit my productivity kit page where I share the items I use to enhance my productivity – you might gain an extra inspiration or two for your home office.