Turn your closet into a home office? Willingly forfeit precious closet space? For those who, from the title alone, think I’m crazy: Hear me out.
First homes – and first apartments – do not tend to be spacious dwellings. They’re yours, and you love them for that, but the lack of square footage poses a few challenges. Maybe you only have one bedroom, or perhaps you have two but have too many overnight guests to consider turning it into a dedicated office. Maybe you have roommates, making your bedroom the only private, quiet space available to you.
Whatever the personal conundrum, transforming a closet into a home office is a viable, creative, simple solution. Not sure what that looks like? Wondering how to get started? Still worried about losing closet storage space? Here’s a simple guide to get you going.
Bottom line: A functional office space is harder to come by than storage.
Storage can be eked out of dozens of other places, leaving a closet free to embrace a new function. Maximize every inch of under-the-bed storage space with sliding storage containers. Go crazy with storage ottomans, stackable baskets and fabric bins. Store in plain sight on shelves or bookcases.
For those giving up their only clothes closet? Your nerves and apprehension are understandable, but it’s not an insurmountable obstacle. From beautiful IKEA wardrobe hacks to open clothing racks to curtaining off a new closet area, there are plenty of functional, fabulous clothes closet alternatives.
Don’t start dreaming about design before you wrap your head around both your functional needs and physical realities. For example: Don’t set your heart on a low desktop supported by filing cabinets with a wide, plush rolling chair if your closet is so narrow you couldn’t fit the chair through the door, let alone have space left to extend the file drawers.
Start by planning your lower space first. If you want lower storage but have a narrow door, consider cabinets, turned so they open toward your legroom, rather than toward the doorway. The same can be done for drawers, provided you allow extra vertical room to view and access the contents.
Knowing what you need below the desk will help inform how high you place your desktop. If you absolutely must have center-facing drawers in a narrow closet, consider putting your work surface at standing height or slightly lower. Use a barstool with a back instead of a desk chair if you want to pair a comfy seat with a high workspace.
No matter how wide or narrow your doorframe, you can still make the most of your vertical space. Adding storage up the back of the closet – and even the sides – can provide more usable real estate than you may think.
Measure any books, magazine files or tall items, and then design custom shelving. Sturdy floating shelves not only look great, they also nix the need for space-stealing supports.
Hang calendars, storage rails, whiteboards, corkboards, pinboards or other organizational tools.
Closet too narrow for filing cabinets? No sweat. You can DIY a custom filing solution to fit your needs. Use a rail kit to make lidded baskets into movable, stackable filing cabinets, or combine office seating and storage by giving the same treatment to a padded, lidded ottoman.
Craving style but stumped by rental rules? No worries. So what if you can’t paint? Make a bold, striped pattern with tape, add easily removed starch wallpaper, tack up fabric or use repositionable vinyl.
Don’t be afraid to nix the door if it just isn’t working for you. Consider replacing doors with curtains or leaving the closet completely open. Crazy about curtains but can’t sew? Use a curtain rod with ring clips to turn a clean and sturdy drop cloth or a light and patterned sheet into custom, no sew curtains.
Whether you’re relocating your own clothes or converting a guest closet, design a space that functions well and makes you happy to work in it. Need more inspiration? Browse social media, blogs and professional sites and cherry pick ideas from your favorite closet hacks.
Is this your weekend warrior project? Let me know in the comments below!