When the time comes that you need an office or other spare room, but don’t have a spare room, why not try a Cloffice (closet+office)? It is a great way to cleverly utilize the untapped potential in your home, whether you have a small closet, or you’re blessed with a mammoth walk-in closet. Currently, our cloffice is where we work, sew, wrap presents, and store our clothing. It’s one of the most multipurpose spaces in our home!
If spending money makes you cringe, just remember that buying what you need to create a clever workspace is much cheaper than buying or renting a larger home that actually has an office. And, you can always shop for used items to minimize the cost. Maybe someday we’ll have a “real” office, but, for now, the “cloffice” has come to our rescue, and perhaps something like it will also come to yours!
1) Choose Your Closet
Pick your closet by first considering your ideal working space. Do you need quiet or privacy? Or, can it be in a more public room? In many homes, the best option for a cloffice will be in the master closet or a guest room, given that they are typically more private than other spaces. You probably will need access to an electrical outlet, so confirm that you can either install an outlet or use an extension cord to get power to your closet.
If needed, keep Zoom calls in mind by picking a closet with a professional background. (Professional = no bed behind you!) A good background could be a neutral wall, wall art, or a well-styled bookshelf. A window in your background is not ideal because it negatively impacts your lighting, so do what you can to avoid that. It may take a little rearranging, but make sure that you can maintain your professionalism, even if you’re working from your closet. (Don’t worry, it’ll be our little secret. No one needs to know!).
2) Purge & Clean
Remove everything from your soon-to-be cloffice, then, pass on or relocate items that are not needed in your office space (get my free guide to purging your stuff here!). This process will give you a better idea of how much space you actually have to work with. You just might be surprised how big even the tiniest closet can be when it’s cleaned out! If you decide to keep your clothes in your closet, be sure that they aren’t in the line of the camera for Zoom calls and that they won’t interfere with the functionality of your new space.
3) Measure & Plan
With your closet all cleaned out, you can measure the dimensions (height, width, depth) to figure out what kind of desk will best suit your space and your needs. Do you need drawers or just a place to set a laptop? Determine what you will need out of your space and plan accordingly. Get the desk with the least depth possible that will still meet your needs in order to have as much wiggle room as possible. Fortunately, there are many creative desk options that can fit just about anywhere once you know what amount of space you’re working with.
3) Find a Desk
If you’re working with a smaller closet, try mounting a floating desk or make a cheap DIY floating melamine desk to fit your space. Keep your desk as small as possible while still meeting your needs in order to keep your closet from feeling too packed. You may be able to find something used, or you might find it easier to get something new online. If you are considering a desk with drawers, check that you have enough clearance to open your drawers once the desk is in the closet. Also, make sure that you will be able to actually get the desk into your closet by measuring the width of your closet door and any other tight spaces. If you can’t get it into your closet, it obviously will not be a good fit after all. We love this desk because it’s sturdy, cheap, and large enough for my husband’s monitors and my sewing desk! (Commissions earned.)
4) Get a Chair
Find a chair or stool that can fit under the desk (measure the desk chair opening and height and compare it to the chair’s dimensions). Since this is a cloffice, you will likely want something with a small profile so that you can easily close the door or slide it under the desk when not in use. If there’s no room for a chair in the closet, buy a coordinating accent chair that can be pulled up to your desk as needed, but that will look good sitting in the room on its own. Oh, and, especially if this is your full-time job work area, get something comfortable, will ya? You’ll thank yourself later, I promise!
This is your workspace, after all, so be sure to have plenty of storage for whatever you need. If you are just working on a computer, keep it simple and just get a place for a few pens and some paper. Utilize vertical space by installing floating shelves or wall-mounted magazine files above your desk (just be sure they are narrow, so you don’t bonk your head!) and use the top shelf of your closet to store bulkier paperwork and supplies.
If you’re strapped for attractive storage, but don’t want to break the bank… wait for it… Banker’s Boxes (see what I did there?) may be just the thing for you! Go super cheap with the traditional black and white boxes, or splurge (just a little because they’re still cheap!) on the designer boxes. These are pretty sturdy and are great for papers, fabric, memorabilia, or even books. (I have over 20 gray and white Banker’s boxes from Wal-mart! I don’t have a problem, I swear!)
Ah, yes, this may be considered an optional step, but why not add a photo you love or maybe an adorable plant? If your closet is dark, try adding a lamp or a mirror. Working in a closet doesn’t have to mean you have no style, my friend! Make a beautiful (even if tiny) space that brings you joy, so you can enjoy your time there.
Good work, my friend. Your creativity just bought you some more space in your home! Share your new space with us in the comments below or by tagging @HappyHomeHum on Facebook or Twitter.