Posted on

3 Ways to Design a Modern Office for Small Spaces

Tight on space and looking how to optimize your office to be both functional and chic? We have three office design ideas for the modern office, no matter how small.

Whether you’re trying to create a productive coworking space for a team of six or carve out a home office space in your one-bedroom apartment, the best modern office design ideas often come down to knowing how to make the most out of a small space. 

We spend a third of our lives working in an office, and a well-designed space that mimics the feel of an open office layout can help workers feel calm, energized, and focused at work.1

In this guide, we’ll share our favorite modern office design ideas for small spaces and walk through several tips to make any office space feel big, bright, and beneficial.

#1 Identify Your Workspace Requirements (and Challenges)

When it comes to designing a small, modern office space, it can help to know what you need for an efficient work day—and what you don’t. Try to imagine everything you do in a work day, and make a list of what you need to accomplish each task. 

For some people, that may be decking your desk with a:

  • Notebook
  • Smartphone
  • Laptop
  • Chargers
  • Pens

For other people, they might need organizational storage space for paperwork, multiple monitors, or additional seating for clients or team members. 

That said, when coming up with the design concept of your office space, you’ll want to take stock of your workplace and identify:

  • What office ideas or features you love and want to emphasize, such as wall-to-wall shelves or a nook for your desk
  • How to maximize the natural lighting with a mirror, paint color, or furniture arrangement
  • Your design restrictions, such as an extra chunky desk or a floor plan that makes it difficult to add multiple pieces of furniture  
  • How to create privacy for team members, if you’re working in a separate office space, with room dividers or booths

Taking a minimalist approach can help to make your workspace feel more spacious. If you have limited floor space, opt for vertical storage. If your office doesn’t receive natural light, paint it a bright color that opens the space. If you’re looking to expand the space, add a mirror on the opposite wall of a window to create more dimension.

Whatever your situation, taking the time to name your office needs and your office challenges at the start of your design process can help you focus on the must-haves for your small space. 

Choose chairs for your team to tackle their workdays in comfort. Shop Chairs!

#2 Make Your Work Space Feel Open

The same interior design principles home decor experts use to make a living room look bigger can also apply to office interior design.  

To help your office space appear more spacious, try these tips: 

  • Choose light, soft, neutral colors for your furnishings and your wall color.2
  • Avoid visual clutter by choosing one or two decently sized furniture items instead of several small pieces.2
  • When possible, choose glass, clear, or translucent materials to help create an optical illusion of spaciousness.2
  • If you pick out beautiful workplace tools (say, an attractive box to store paperwork in, or a small vase as a pen-holder), then those tools can double as decor for your workspace.

You can also help maximize your workspace by creating defined zones, both in terms of where you store certain work equipment and where you want to work, whether it’s in front of a window or facing a wall for maximum productivity.

#3 Choose Smart Office Furniture

When it comes to designing your office space, we recommend deciding on the type and placement of your desk and chair first. Once you’ve made that decision, you can start adding the details to personalize your productive office design.  

We’ll walk you through three of our favorite modern office table design ideas to help you find the model that works best for you.

Multipurpose Office Spaces

If you’re trying to fit a small office space into your home, consider creating a multipurpose area that allows you or fellow team members to easily transition the space to meet your needs.

To create a fluid home and office space, consider the following: 

  • Multipurpose furniture – Whether you use a folder organizer and a mousepad to transform the kitchen table into your desk or select a multipurpose chair that fits as flawlessly in a bedroom as it does at a desk, using multipurpose furniture can help you make the most of your small space.3 
  • A moveable desk – If you love having space to spread out but don’t have room for a full office set-up, consider a moveable desk. When not in use, you can place it discreetly against the wall. When in use, roll it up to your favorite couch or chair and get to work, without having to feel like you’re hunched in a cramped corner. 

  • Multipurpose furniture can also help you keep your space visually cohesive, so that you’re working in a room that feels good to be in.

    Open Plan Office Space

    If you’re trying to create an open feeling while fitting multiple desks into a small space, try ditching the cubicle dividers. 

    Instead, try a multi-person desk, like the 120 think desk. You want something that gives each team member their own clearly delineated space, while also making it easy to facilitate conversations and collaborations. 

    As an added bonus, the lack of visual dividers can help make the whole room feel bigger.

    The versatility of cubicles can provide for both a more open work environment and one that values privacy. For more information on cubicle sizes and styles, make sure to check out our resource center to learn more about how you can manage your office space.

    Divided Office Space

    While some teams prefer an open multi-person desk with no visual barriers, others prefer the privacy—or suggestion of privacy—that cubicle dividers can give you. 

    If that’s something your team wants, consider: 

    • 24” Think Desk Bundle – The opaque, taller fabric dividers in this cubicle model can help each of your team members create their own physical space—and thus mental space to focus on their work. 
    • 120 Jot Desk Bundle – The frosted glass dividers help create the suggestion of privacy for your team, while still keeping lines of sight open to make collaboration easy.

    Once you’ve decided if you prefer glass dividers, fabric dividers, or no dividers at all, you can start looking for desk shapes that work best for the size of your team, and the shape of your office.

    Design Your Small Office Space with Juniper

    When it comes to designing a small office space, opt for a minimalist design, neutral colors, and multifunctional furniture that promotes productivity.

    At Juniper, we’re all about finding the simplest, fastest, most reliable solution for your office design. 

    With over 100 years of experience, we’re ready to help you take your workspace to the next level, whether you’re designing an office for 500+ employees—or designing the perfect small office.

    Start your design project today or browse our collection of office furniture


    1. Forbes. How Your Office Space Impacts Employee Well-Being.
    2. The Spruce. 11 Easy Ways to Make a Small Room Look Bigger. 
    3. The New York Times. How to Cram a Home Office Into a Small Apartment.