21 Desk Ideas Perfect for Small Spaces

DIY, Built-in, and Vintage Options

small desk

 Alison Jennison

Whether you moved your work from an office to home or just need a place to web-surf, pay bills, or scan emails, you will be more productive with a well-designed office workspace. But what if you don't have room for an actual home office? It won't be a problem if you can find the perfect small desk.

To offer you inspiration, here are some great small space solutions, from floating furniture to standing risers.

  • 01 of 21

    Floating Window Desk

    Corner desk in front of window
    Pause Design

    This window niche sure is pretty, but its angles created an odd nook that wasted space. Enter Pause Design, who turned this funky spot into a functional work area with a custom-built floating desk shaped to fit the space. Odd angled corners like this are awkward fits for most commercial furniture pieces, and a custom-built hanging desk like this one is the perfect solution. 

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  • 02 of 21

    Midcentury-Modern Style

    Midcentury home office in living room
    Marion Alberge

    Low-slung, midcentury-modern furniture works in small spaces because pieces like these do not carry much visual heft. This vintage 1950s desk in a Paris ​apartment decorated by Marion Alberge is a terrific example. Its beautiful wood finish and compact design made it a chic fit for the small living room. A tall, vintage bookcase used to hold office supplies completes a perfectly functional home office space. 

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  • 03 of 21

    Tiny Alcove Workstation

    Turn a tiny hook into a home office
    Megan Georgopoulos

    Making every inch count in a teensy dwelling can be tricky. In this trailer home, interior designer Megan Georgopoulos rises to the challenge by filling an empty alcove in the bedroom with a tiny built-in desk and a cork-board bulletin board. 

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  • 04 of 21

    Lucite Desk

    Lucite desk in danish danish room close up
    Tara Benet

    In small spaces, large pieces of solid furniture can be oppressive, so why not go invisible?  Consider getting a desk made of crystal clear Lucite. This one in a New York City studio apartment by interior designer Tara Benet seemingly disappears into thin air. A small pink file cabinet serves both as office storage and end table. 

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  • 05 of 21

    Wrap-Around Counter

    Wall mounted wrap around desk no brackets
    CDK Architects

    Instead of trying to squeeze a traditional desk into this tiny home office, the design team at CDK Architects installed a wrap-around, hanging wood counter. Doing so made more room for bookshelves and other storage solutions that were added later. The open floor space beneath a free-hanging desk or counter allows chairs to move around freely and provides places to tuck file cabinets and storage boxes. 

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  • 06 of 21

    Floating Drawer

    Floating drawer shelf desk
    Sarah Barnard Design

    In this blue kitchen renovated by Sarah Barnard Design, a floating desk drawer with a quartz topper counter creates an office nook perfect for referencing online recipes or serving as a home message center. 

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  • 07 of 21

    DIY Murphy Desk

    Small white desk
    Apartment Therapy

    The Murphy bed is the smart piece of small-space furniture that inspired this DIY folding desk by Apartment Therapy. With legs and work surface all attached to hinges, this wall-mounted desk folds up and fits flat against the wall when not needed. 

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  • 08 of 21

    DIY Desk Riser

    Copper Standing Desk DIY
    Man Made DIY

    Medical experts agree that a standing desk is darn good for your health. This copper desk riser project by Man Made DIY shares how you can turn any table in your home into a standing workstation. To get crafting you will need two essential tools: a copper pipe cutter and screwdriver. The pipes, fittings, and table surface are available at any home center.

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  • 09 of 21

    Wire Frame Shelving

    Wire frame desk in bedroom
    Alvhem Makleri

    A board added to an inexpensive wire frame shelving unit becomes a surprisingly stylish desk in this Swedish apartment seen on Alvhem Makleri. Wire shelving standards, brackets, and shelving can be purchased at any home goods store or home center. Anchor the backs of the shelving standards to the wall, attach some shelves and a desktop, and presto—a home office space. 

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  • 10 of 21

    Repurposed Vintage Table

    Vintage end table upcycled to desk
    Merci-Ancsa Decor

    We love cheap, vintage pieces loaded with character. Here, an old wood table with a beautiful patina gets put to work as a desk in this apartment decorated by Merci-Ancsa Decor. A table of almost any size can work, from a simple living room end table to a long dining room side table. 

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  • 11 of 21

    Double-Duty Desk

    A small desk that turns into a bar

    Double-duty furniture can make life in a small home more fun and more functional. Case in point: this desk that transforms into a bar. The design by Instructable user JON-A-TRON includes enough space on the back side for storing up to 20 bottles, as well as a hidden recess for an ice bucket. At the end of a workday, close up the desk as you open the bar for business—a perfect way to end the day.

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  • 12 of 21

    Bar-Height Corner Desk

    Corner desk set up
    A Beautiful Mess

    Novice DIYers can turn an untapped corner into a home office by constructing this corner desk for two by A Beautiful Mess. The main ingredients include plywood and some shelving brackets. If needed, a few wall shelves could also be installed above the work table. 

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  • 13 of 21

    Ghost Table With a Ghost Chair

    Lucite desk with ghost chair
    Lindsay Macrae Interiors

    A Lucite desk is a good bet for small spaces. Adding a ghost chair as shown in this apartment by Lindsay Macrae Interiors will make your workspace nearly invisible. 

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  • 14 of 21

    Desk in a Closet

    A small desk in a closet in Scandi apartment
    Alvhem Makleri

    Thanks to inexpensive, wall-mounted shelving, this closet featured on Alvhem Makleri conceals a small desk and storage shelves. Your home office vanishes simply by closing the sliding closet door. Home storage retailers and home improvement centers offer a variety of products that can be adapted to this create a desk like this. 

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  • 15 of 21

    Live-Edge Wood Countertop

    Live edge wood countertop desk
    MW Architects

    Add a bit of rustic appeal to a small room with a live-edge wood work surface. Here, the designers at MW Architects used a slab of wood with holes and knots to create a narrow and rugged wall-mounted desk attached with angled wood braces. Such a work surface can be long and narrow, but still look great in the room.

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  • 16 of 21

    Flea Market Finds

    Vintage table stripped to become a desk
    Merci-Ancsa Decor

    This tiny desk is a tall vintage side table, which was picked up for cheap at a local flea market. To give the piece an edgy new look, the interior designers at Merci-Ancsa Decor stripped off the original finish.

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  • 17 of 21

    Home Office in Kitchen

    Tiny desk in washington condo
    Twelve Chairs

    Here are a few bright space-saving tips from Miggy Mason and Roisin Giese, the interior design team behind Twelve Chairs.

    • Before installing the tiny desk on the left in a client's condo, they added a cutout for wires to keep them from tangling.
    • The desk chair also functions as an extra seat for the living room.
    • Because their client needed additional space for eating and working, the designers added the compact kitchen booth with below-seat storage on the right—perfect for working luncheons or small meetings with a client or two. 
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  • 18 of 21

    Standing Desk Simplified

    Folding desk in tiny house
    The Tiny House Project

    Tiny house dwellers know how to make their skimpy square footage sing. In this fun-size abode built by Alek Lisefski, the blogger behind The Tiny House Project, a fold-down shelf works as a standing desk. ​​​​Attached with hinges and supported by a chain, when folded up the desk conveniently masks the home's circuit breaker panel. 

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  • 19 of 21

    Unfurling Furniture

    Folding work table in nyc apartment
    Raad Studio

    Two smart solutions, including a Murphy bed, turn the bedroom in this small New York City apartment designed by Raad Studio into an office during the day. The wood panel on the back wall is a desk with hinges that allow the work surface to fold out when needed.

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  • 20 of 21

    60-Second Desk

    Ikea desk from Shift Interiors
    Shift Interiors

    Making a small custom desk in a minute is a snap with this smart tip from ​Shift Interiors. Here, a simple wood slab placed across the top of two small cabinets instantly becomes a workspace with plenty of storage.

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  • 21 of 21

    Open and Airy Furniture

    Leggy desk and chair in nyc apartment
    Alison Jennison

    If you are shopping around for a small desk, interior designer Alison Jennison shares a few pointers in this living room.

    A chunky desk can crowd a small room. That is why Jennison selected a light and airy option you can practically see through. Because the desk chair is leggy, it, too, carries little visual weight. Small spaces call for furniture that is as minimal as possible.