You have a home office, it's quite nice and you do get things done, however, at times you can't help by think how nice it would be, if only you had a bit more space. Now, because you can't really expand the actual, physical size of your home, making your tiny office space bigger might seem impossible at first, but worry not, by following the tips outlined below, you can create the illusion of your office being bigger than it actually is, which oftentimes is enough.
That being said, you don't have to follow everything outlined below, just pick the points you like the best, and that you think pertains the best to your specific situation.
1. Take it easy on the patterns
Patterns make everything busy, and if you don’t have a lot of space (which you probably don’t, given that you’re reading an article about tiny office spaces), busy definitely isn’t what you’re going for. That means that wallpaper and furniture with bold patterns should be used sparingly, if at all. That being said, don’t discard patterns completely. Some patterns can help liven up the space and make it appear bigger. As a general rule, symmetrical patterns in monotone colors are okay.
More than 2 colors + lots of craziness? - I would personally reconsider my options.
2. Don’t be timid with the decoration
Just because your office isn’t the biggest, doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be boring and bland. In fact, picking a bold color for an accent wall, or adding a piece of furniture that stands out will help break up the space and make it seem like everything, even the small size of the room, is intentional.
However, don’t go overboard. Don’t paint every wall a different color and cram in a giant statue for each of the 12 zodiac signs, in order to really express yourself. Keep the clutter minimal with one visual focal point.
3. Go (as) paperless (as possible)
Depending on how tiny your tiny office space is, consider digitizing all your papers. This can be done with a scanner specifically meant for people who want to go paperless, such as the Fujitsu ScanSnap.
If getting rid of all your papers is out of the question, then find a place where you can file them away, as just a single piece of loose paper instantly clutters up your office space.
The image above is from this post which has a good review on a scanner / digital filing system.
4. Hide away everything once you’re done using it
Related to the point made above, hide away everything once you’re done using it. That means paper, pens, notebooks etc. As I mentioned before, one stray piece of paper instantly makes your workspace seem messy, which in return makes it seem smaller.Related to the point made above, hide away everything once you’re done using it. That means paper, pens, notebooks etc. As I mentioned before, one stray piece of paper instantly makes your workspace seem messy, which in return makes it seem smaller.
5. Let in as much (natural) light as possible
Open the blinds during the day when you’re working to let in as much natural daylight as possible. If your office doesn’t have a window, or the window is facing a wall/backyard/other dark place, use other means to add as much light as you can. This can be in the shape of LED spotlights, a combination of floor lamps etc.
Pick according to what type of light you like the best (eg. don’t pick ceiling lights if you hate overhead lighting, just because you’re desperate to brighten up your room) as well as which types of lighting are suitable for the tasks you’ll be performing in your office.
That means, get a proper task light for your desk, so you can see the documents well. Also consider using bias lighting behind your monitor to relieve/prevent eye strain.
6. Be organized
I’ve already covered this indirectly in point 3 and 4, however another point to add is; sort things based on frequency of use. Place the things that you use throughout the day closer to your desk and the things you hardly ever use further away. No point in wasting time getting up 34 times throughout the day because you decided to place the hole punch in the bottom drawer of the cabinet that’s furthest away from your workspace.
7. Hide the cables
That snake nest sitting beneath your desk is an eye-sore, no matter who you ask. There are several different way of managing your cables, this post here is a good place to start.
8. Add a pop of color
This is sort of related to point number two, but adding a pop of color to an office that’s mostly grey, white or brown instantly livens up the space and makes it seem more inviting. Also, some research has shown that certain colors help boost productivity. I’m not sure how much stock I would put in those studies myself, however I personally find that having a colorful painting above my computer has a positive impact on my workflow (ie it makes me more productive). Whenever I need a quick mental break I’ll look at the painting and then get right back to work. My current painting is blue and feature two fish.
9. Hide stuff in opaque boxes
Hide stuff away in boxes, but don’t go for those semi-transparent ones you can get almost everywhere. Yes, the clutter has been hidden away, but due to the sheer nature of the box, it’s not truly hidden, now is it? The fact that you can still see the stuff through the box, kind of defeats the whole purpose.
If you already have a lot of boxes, consider spray painting them.
10. Realize the power of light and dark
That sounds like something from a sci-fi movie, but anyway, light colors generally make things seem bigger, and dark colors make things seem smaller. That means that painting your office walls a light color can help open up the room, and picking furniture in darker colors, can help minimize the visual appearance of those items.