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Styling a small workspace

Katarina Kovacevic is a freelance travel writer specializing in hotels and resorts. She's the author of The Food Lovers' Guide to Phoenix & Scottsdale and founder/editor of Style Jaunt, a blog about fashionable travel. Her work has appea...

15 Small office design tips

When you need to fit life, play and work into a tiny apartment, things can get messy. According to the experts, styling a small workspace is about both fashion and function. These small office design tips will make your life much easier!
Small workspace

Expert tips

Janice Simonsen, U.S. design spokesperson for IKEA

  • Maximize vertical space. Using wall space for storage containers clears up the floor and desk space of a small office for a less-cluttered look.
  • Go wireless. Endless cords and cables can add to a feeling of clutter and confusion in a small office. Use as many wireless components as possible.
  • Look for office furnishings that provide double duty, like a file cabinet that can act to hold your printer or scanner.
  • Splurge on seating. Even a small office needs a comfortable, adjustable chair that allows for proper ergonomic positioning for long hours in front of a computer.
  • Limit the color scheme. Smaller areas look crisper and cleaner when the color palette is limited to one or two colors, with tints and tones of each.

Diane Elkins, founder of Positive Workspace

  • Take a photo of your workspace and analyze it for clutter. Are there any dangling cords? Any piles that need to be tossed or stored? What stands out the most?
  • Clipboards are versatile, inexpensive and fun. They provide a visual reminder of current projects, and are a unique wall display and creative way to store documents.
  • Put unruly paper in its place. Opt-out of unsolicited mail via Catalog Choice or PaperKarma. Scan documents and save them as PDFs. Create a filing system for documents you need to keep.
  • We're driven by joy. Add happiness to your small workspace with simple touches. Fill a jar with brightly colored candy for a decorative piece that's also a treat!
  • Use scented candles or air fresheners to improve productivity. Cinnamon helps with concentration, lavender has a calming effect and peppermint is an energy booster.

Roderick Shade, owner of Roderick Shade Design

  • Buy storage bins with a decorative label holder for easy access to your files and materials. You think you'll recall later what you put in there, but it's likely you won't.
  • Measure the things you need to store and space shelves accordingly. Store items you need less often at the top and save one-third of your shelf space for new purchases.
  • Use mirrors to open up your small workspace. I designed a home office with a beautiful mirrored desk and also hung a mirror over it for greater effect.
  • Proper lighting is critical. In a small office, you need overhead lighting and task lighting. It lightens the mood and helps with focus and efficiency.
  • If your office doubles as another space, like a family or dining room, be sure you have a place in which to easily hide away your computer when guests are due.

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