Simple Tips To Make Your Small Office Look & Feel Bigger

Just because you have a small office doesn’t mean that it has to look small. 

In this article, we’re going to give you a couple of simple tips and tricks to make your office space look and feel spacious. It’s kind of a superpower once you embrace these simple methods.

You have the ability to transform pretty much any small space!

After we touch on the methods, we take it a step further and touch on specific items that can be added to your office to increase the perceived size. 

Let’s transform that small office!

Key Takeaways

  • To make a small space look bigger, we have to embrace three major principles. These principles all feed off one another and we talk about them in more detail later in the article.
    1. Use lighter colors – Reflected light will reach more places and ensure your office doesn’t feel like a small cave. This goes for walls, furniture, decorations, etc.
    2. Embrace minimalism – Remove furniture & items you don’t absolutely need in the office. Replace bulky items with minimal versions to create a more airy space where the reflected light can reach.
    3. Maximize natural light – Keep all windows obstruction free to maximize the natural light that can bounce around your office.

Simple Tips To Make Your Office Look Bigger

Paint Walls With Lighter Colors

Office color is the first on this list as it can easily change the visual size of the room. Light colors here are your friend (this goes for furniture too).

Light colors bounce and carry light much further than darker colors. The more light that can bounce around, the more well-lit your corners and shadows are, giving the appearance of a larger room.

Darker colors don’t reflect light as much. That means the shadows or darker areas of your room are going to stay dark. A dark cave will always look smaller than a light-filled room of the same size. 

If you need specific color recommendations to make your office look larger, check out this article by a professional interior design company based in Florida. 

Declutter Your Office Space

The first step in making any room or area more spacious is to declutter. Decluttering can fall into many different categories.

The most important in my opinion is staying organized. Give your documents, office supplies, etc all a dedicated home. Keep what you need and toss out what you don’t.

Create a system that allows you to maintain an organized workspace. This means that everything should have a specific home. Files in an organized filing cabinet, pens/pencils in the pencil cup, etc.

Digitize what you can. The world doesn’t rely on printed paper as much as it once did. Digital files keep your documents safe in case of a fire, they are quick to send to others, and can be accessed from your phone!

Digitizing well means you won’t need that filing cabinet anymore! This frees up even more space.

Embrace Minimalism

Minimalism is your best friend when you are trying to make an office look larger. Many people think minimalism means you have to toss a bunch of your stuff, but this isn’t true. It comes in many different forms. 

screenbar halo lighting mode 3

Because small spaces have a limited area for storage/organizational furniture, minimalism reduces what we have to organize in the first place. We have a dedicated article at the desk level on how to organize small desks.

Minimizing Your Office Furniture

There are two questions you should ask yourself regarding every single piece of furniture in your office. 

Is it needed and/or can it be replaced with something simpler? Removing unnecessary items is a great place to start embracing minimalism. The last thing we need is furniture crowding our small offices.

Desks & chairs – those are necessary. A lounge chair and a spare couch – maybe not. Vet all of your furniture and confirm that you actually need it before placing it in your office.

Most furniture needs its own “personal bubble” of space around it to avoid looking too crowded.

Simplifying Your Office Furniture 

Simplifying office furniture refers to replacing super bulky furniture with a smaller version that gets the same job done. We also want to keep in mind the “lighter colors” theme from our fist point.

An example can be a super bulky office chair. A bulky office chair can take up a ton of physical and visual space. It likely can be replaced by a smaller and simpler version. 

Check out this executive chair for example:

COLAMY Office Chair High Back Leather Desk Chair, Flip-up Arms Adjustable Swivel Executive Chair Thick Padding for Comfort and Ergonomic Design for Home Office, Black

This chair above is very bulky and oversized for most people. It would take up a ton of visual space and physical space in a small office. It’s dark and not very “airy” which works against a small office.

A simpler chair with less bulk is certainly your friend here. Check out this ergonomic chair from Steelcase that will actually be better for your posture and is also very space efficient.

Steelcase Series 1 Office Chair

The same logic goes with desks. Does your desk have a ton of built-in shelves and just inherent bulk to it? Below is a very bulky desk that would work against you in a small office. 

Sauder Palladia Executive Desk, Vintage Oak finish

The desk above is thick, heavy, and has an enclosed foot space which creates more dark spaces. This type of desk does not help you expand your room visually. 

BON AUGURE Modern Computer Desk, Simple Wood Home Office Desk for PC Writing Work, Industrial Sturdy Home Office Desks (55 Inch, Rustic Oak)

This desk on the other hand is just a simple table top. It has a very open underside so you are able to see the light wall colors. The more ‘airy’ your furniture is, the more roomy your office will look. 

Don’t feel like you have to replace any furniture overnight. I always make my changes gradually so my wallet doesn’t complain too much. 

Decorations That Add Room To Your Office

Adding decorations is a great way to personalize your office. Keep in mind that minimalism does apply here as well! 

A wall crowded with decorations can look cramped compared to a single piece of art. We don’t want to cover up our thoughtfully painted light color walls.

Keep the decorations simple, but also substantial enough to satisfy your taste. After all, it’s your office. Ensure it makes you happy! 

Botanical Prints Minimalist Wall Art | Set of 4 Leaf Decor | Wall Decor | Watercolor Wall Art | Minimalist Wall Art | Minimalist Decor | Minimalist Wall Art | Botanical Wall Art | Eucalyptus Decor | A...

Check out this article on types of wall art that can make a room look bigger. You will notice that the artwork in this article is very minimal and simplistic. 

Manage Your Cables

Another component of minimalism is removing or reducing visual distractions. Try to keep any distractions under control, and only present what you want to see on a daily basis. 

One example of minimizing distractions is managing cables on computer desks. We have very detailed guides on how to hide cables at your desk.

Cables can get out of control very quickly. The fewer cable spaghetti monsters you see, the cleaner your office will look overall.

Keeping your office clean on a daily basis also minimizes visual distractions. Control your distractions, and you can make your office look clean and spacious. Little details like this add up significantly!

Maximize Natural Light

Windows play an important role in an office (if you have them). They bring in a ton of natural light, which compliments everything we have done so far.

The natural light comes in and reflects throughout the entire office. Remove anything that can crowd or block the natural light into your space.

Stay away from curtains specifically. To have curtains, you need curtain rods, and that can bring in the curtain a few inches inward. That takes away precious space from our small office! 

Instead, use a low-profile shade like the one shown below that actually fits within the window frame.

Blinds or shades are usually a better solution as they are inset on the window frame most of the time. 

Consider Mirrors To Add Another Dimension

Mirrors can very effectively ability open up spaces. They reflect your office and give the illusion that your office just keeps going through the wall. 

Mirrors are a great way to make a small space look large. It actually tricks your brain a little bit. 

Before placing a mirror, think about what you want to reflect. Imagine yourself walking into your office and sitting at your desk. Seeing the mirror from those two angles will be the most common.

It’s a good idea to have it reflect near your windows. This can make it seem like you have more windows and more natural light!

Mirrors will carry more light than any of our ‘light colors’ as well. It’s a direct reflection that will brighten up a room very well. 

Embrace Artificial Lighting If Needed

Not all offices will have a huge source of natural light. Some offices have no natural light at all.

If that sounds like your office, we will have to lean on artificial lighting. On a related note check out our article on how to decorate windowless offices.

My home office right now doesn’t have any huge source of natural light. That’s why I have three different light sources at my desk. One main light and two bias or accent lights.

Check out all lights in action in this picture below. You can find my lighting setup in my desk tour article here.

34 inch ultrawide monitor on ikea alex desk

If you see various areas of your office are low on lighting, fill in those shadows with natural light sources.

Think about adding lights that are not too bulky and can act as an accent. Lights that bounce off walls will also be highly valuable for a dark corner. It will again work with our light-colored office walls and furniture!

Use Vertical Space

When you have a small space to work with, you always want to utilize vertical space as much as possible.

This is the best way to get storage space without adding furniture. Wall-mounted storage keeps your items off the floor and makes use of that precious vertical space.

A few examples would be using shelves, grid wall organizers, wall-mounted cabinets, etc. Here are some examples available on Amazon.

Keepo Pegboard Combination Kit, 4 Pegboards and 14 Accessories Modular Hanging for Wall Organizer, Crafts Organization, Ornaments Display, Nursery Storage, 22" x 22", White | Peg Board
  • Organizer Your Home In Style: This pegboard for wall combination kit is versatile for many areas of your home. The pegboard display is great for wall organizing, craft...
  • Easy To Install: The combination set of our panel pegboard is high load-bearing and can hold up to 20 lbs, or more if secured with nails. With this white tool storage,...
  • Creative Combination: With our wall board organizer, you can set your pegboards up in a variety of ways for different needs. The combination set contains 4 pegboards and...
  • Life Time Guarantee: Please feel free to tell us what you think and if you come across any damages, we will replace it for free.
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I'm a big time workspace enthusiast who is constantly experimenting with my setup. Sharing along the way to help people make their own desk setups more functional and inviting, whether it be for productivity or play!

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