How To Create A Closet Office - 5 Considerations

Are you like me, living in an apartment and desperate for a home office?  Do you work a lot at home or work full time at home? Have you found yourself standing in the doorway of a spare closet and day dreaming how to make better use of it.  Well, I have.  One option is to make that poorly or under-used closet a home office closet. I had once before removed the folding doors from a closet to a second bedroom and used it as an office.  It was, however, very utilitarian, not very inviting and worse very disorganized.  This time I want something really cool and inviting--and well organized!

Here's what I'll need to consider a closet office.  How about you?

  • Stylistic Ideas:  minimalist/modern, contemporary, eclectic, traditional--or just a lot of pizzaz 
  • Hide the closet office or not:  take the door off or leave it on; leave the door open or add drapes.
  • Space:  just how much furniture and shelving space is available in the closet
  • Lighting and accessories: ceiling or desk  top, very bright or ambient cozy, decorative accessories
  • Budget:  modules if renting or perhaps built-in shelves and cabinet if owner of the condo/apartment

And that's where the search for ideas for a closet office began.  Here are some illustrations I found.

Decor style examples:  traditional, minimalist/modern, eclectic -- and pizazz


Exquisite and functional!  The clothes storage and office comination is so well done.  Admittedly, reaching for clothes stored so high up is problematic for the not-so-tall people.  But it's a great idea for storing off-season clothes.

Frankly, for myself, I do love the pizazz such as these home office closets

I'm a sucker for cool and that's what I think about this office in a closet.  A traditional style desk armoire was placed in a closet.  Top shelves are used for storage while the desk armoire holds all the user's lovely collection items.  Small lamps offer task lighting and give it a cozy feel.  It looks like the walls are paneled and the shelves are wood.  However, the scheme could easily be adopted in other design styles.

Hide it or not:  take the door(s) off and leave it open; take the door(s) off and add drapes; or just keep the door(s) on and close the door(s) when the office is not in use.

source no longer available

source no longer available

Space and shelving:  just how much furniture and shelves can placed in the closet; keep what shelving is in the closet, replace it or just add more shelves

Two great uses of built-in shelves.  (I don't have room for extra seating but it would be nice.  Do you have room for a 'co-conspirator' on one of your projects or would you just like to slide over to a comfortable seat. )

source no longer available

source no longer available

How much shelving and file cabinet space is available?

Lighting and accessories: ceiling or desk  top, very bright or ambient cozy, decorative accessories

Closets most generally have an overhead light.  However, this is general lighting and can be rather harsh.  Adding task lighting like desk top lamps not only focuses the lighting but can also make the closet office feel cozy and very private.  

Budget:  modules if renting or perhaps built-in shelves and cabinet if owner of the condo/apartment

Finally, and most important, how to budget to create an office in a closet is a critical consideration.  I'll be taking the  approach to create a plan that reflects what I can do myself and what needs to be purchased. 

Considerations for planning:  

  • What's the primary function for the closet office: a place to pay bills, a place to work on hobbies, a craft, a to place study or just do computer work.
  • What and how much storage space is needed.
  • Will electrical work be needed.  Remember, it's easy to simply use extention cordes to connect eletrical appliances and wi-fi could resolve needed internet connections.
  • New furniture, shop at consignment stores or both.  Or just move furnishings from other parts of the living space.

In Summary

Every inch of space in small space living is valuable.  One way of making the most of the space, if there is spare closet is to convert it to an office or a storage/office space.  But before jumping into such a special project consider its budget, design and how space is available.  In addition to this, it really is important to determine exactly how the closet offic will be used.  If it's meant to be business or study or desk-top hobby space, then use it that way.  It could become a disappoint or expensive if it needs to be converted to a different function. 

You may also be interested in these posts:

This post is updated and moved from the January 2016 'annsliees' blog.