July: Small Spaces Vol. 2: Tiny Stand-Alone Offices

Welcome to Volume 2 of July’s blog series on Small Spaces!

Today we’re going to talk about tiny stand-alone offices.  These are the kinds of configurations that work for condos, shared spaces, dorms or rented rooms (students, I’m talking to you!), or homes that just don’t have dedicated office space.  I’ve got some really cool ready-made products to show you; take a look!

Resource Furniture

By far, the coolest company around when it comes to versatile, space saving furnishings.  The Basso desk is a stand alone cabinet that can be built into a larger bookshelf, as shown, or be it’s own little work hub.  At only 13.75″d (closed) it’s perfect for narrow rooms.

The Basso desk open.
Home-Office-Closed Basso
The Basso desk closed.

The Papillon desk starts as a slim console table, perfect for an entry way, dining room or as a sofa table and expands into a 35″x59″ desk.  This is actually a fairly standard dining table size as well, so it really has 3 purposes.  And with a slightly lower than average height of 28.75″, it’s more ergonomic to work at than a regular dining table.

The Papillon as a console.
The Papillon as a desk, or dining table!


As my mom says “IKEA always solves a problem I didn’t know I had.”  A leader in well thought out, well designed home furnishings, IKEA has unique pieces for all budgets.

I am writing at this desk right now!
I’d take a photo of mine, but well, it’s not this neat!

The Hemnes secretary is a great piece that really doesn’t look like an office piece.  I have a funny little area in my dining room (it used to be the doorway to the living room before the previous owners took down the walls between the dining room and hallway) that this secretary fits perfectly into.  I also have an office in the basement, but there are too many spiders down there! A great looking piece, it hides all manner of mess and offers a decent amount of storage.

Cute and quirky!

The IKEA PS 2014 secretary is a cute little desk that comes in white and birch or orange and birch.  I’ve spec’d it for clients a few times, when they’ve had very limited space and it’s always been a hit!  It’s only 35″ wide and tucks easily into corners and other small areas.

At only $143 CAD for this combination it’s super affordable!

The Kallax unit, which replaces IKEA’s Expedit collection is incredibly versatile and comes in a large variety of mix and match sizes and items, from desks, to drawers and doors to boxes and casters.  It can be used horizontally, vertically and stacked.  I recently spec’d the largest unit for a client with a desk add on like this, but due to space restrictions, I suggested they cut the desk to a shorter size.  Check out IKEAHackers for great ideas on altering IKEA pieces.

Wall-Mounted Desks

Real space-savers, wall mounted desks are becoming more popular, especially when they have folding/hidden desk-tops.

Screenshot 2015-06-28 21.14.08
Sleek and modern, with a hidden keyboard tray.

This sleek desk available at AllModern comes in two finishes, rift oak and walnut and in a larger size.  The hidden keyboard tray offers additional working surface or display space.

Screenshot 2015-06-28 21.10.11
Fun and functional!

This desk, also available at AllModern, allows for lots of leg room, but also a decent sized workspace!

Who needs legs with a body like this?

The LAX desk by MASHstudios has fun little cubbies for quick access and a sturdy attachment point to the wall.  A beautiful piece that would fit any decor, it’s available through The Modern Shop.

Going Custom

If budget allows, consider going with a custom route to get the office space you desire.  Be sure to really think about your storage and workspace needs and work with a designer and/or custom cabinet maker to realize your vision.  Here are a few spaces I designed for clients:

A desk and storage solution in a small den.
Building a workspace into a kitchen is always a good idea when space permits.
This was formerly a closet in a downtown condo. Didn’t get any real after photos, though. 🙁
Sarah Kidder Design Old Barrhaven
Another integrated workspace as part of a kitchen renovation.

What does your office space look like?