Create A Great Place To Concentrate

Even the smallest spaces can be reworked to allow for a space to study. It just takes some thinking outside the box, planning and ingenuity. Here's how to do it.

Use those nooks and crannies

A lack of space can leave you stumped for creating a special nook. One thing people living in small spaces must do is make use of every nook and cranny, and think outside the box in terms of using vertical space, wall space and even doors.

"One of the most under-utilized areas is the space under stairs," says Brandon Smith, ASID, of Southgate Residential. "With a little creativity, that odd little triangle can become some of the most useful space in your house." Case in point:

Small study space

Image credit: southgateresidential.blogspot.com

Bedford rectangular desk set, potterybarn.com, $895; Swivel armchair desk chair, potterybarn.com, $399; Warwick black floating shelves, $34 per 36-inch shelf, homedepot.com

Use a spare closet

A closet can be another great resource for creating a study space in small living quarters — provided you can use other areas for general storage. Lisa Breckenridge, a blogger at Small Place Style, cites the photo below as one of her favorite ideas for small-space study/office duty. "This gives you a desk, which everyone needs, in a designated area," she says. "Then you're not using valuable space on the dining table or trying to juggle everything on the floor or your bed."

The study space pictured below not only makes good use of the closet itself, but it also incorporates the doors as usable storage areas.

Small study space

Image credit: smallplacestyle.blogspot.com

Bigso white storage boxes (on top shelf) $13 each, containerstore.com; Paper sorters (above desk) $35 each, containerstore.com; Stockholm drawers, $20 each, containerstore.com; Star vista chair, $130, target.com; Gallant drawer unit on casters, $169, ikea.com; Shelving and peg boards, owner's own

Utilize that blank wall

Breckenridge also advises rethinking every spot in your home when trying to fit in some office or study space. "Think about using that blank wall when you first walk in the door, for example," she says. (Lisa's own "blank wall office space" is pictured below.) "And don't feel like you have to have certain things in certain rooms. A home office can be in your bedroom if it works for you. Decide how your life flows and design your home around you."

Small study space

Image credit: smallplacestyle.blogspot.com

Cubbies, desk and chair, owner's own pieces; Similar cubbies available for $90 at potterybarn.com

Dual-purpose work areas

Breckenridge also recommends allowing certain furniture and rooms to serve double duty, especially when the results look as good as the picture below. Here, a sofa table in the living room doubles as a desk/study area. Sleek, simple lines and neutral colors keep the space from looking too cluttered.

Small study space

Image credit: apartmenttherapy.com

Andover desk, roomandboard.com, $999; Chair, discontinued — for a similar look, try the white Oh! chair by Karim Rashid for Umbra, $40, containerstore.com

Whatever your space restrictions, creative thinking will go a long way in creating an effective study space. You may even find you prefer it to a separate room. It's amazing how comfortable even the smallest space can be when it's done right.

More office inspiration

Designing a residential office space

Turn a small space into a home office

Styling a small workspace

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