Transitioning into the Work From Home (WFH) lifestyle might not be the most intuitive process for many of today’s office-bound workers. On top of taking on new challenges, tasks, and projects without the support of your colleagues, faculties, and essentials, finding a place within your home, apartment, or alternative living area can induce some unwarranted stress. That’s why the acquisition of a smaller, more optimized workstation should be at the top of your “to-do” list.
Instead of taking up a quarter of your living area with a large, oversized desk, you’ll be happy to hear that a handful of the furniture industry’s most prominent providers have put their time and effort into the production of smaller, more versatile examples. Whether you’re looking for a compact flat-top that revels in its simplicity, or a creative corner desk that’s been built to turn the nooks and crannies of your home into a well-outfitted work area, you’ll find that there are a handful of offerings that can, and will, fit the bill. Below, we’ve curated a list of some of our favorites, focusing on size, structure, and aesthetic principle above all else.
Mainstays Side Storage
Walmart’s Mainstays line might seem like a budget offering — and in many cases, it is — but don’t let that deter you from picking up one of your own for a college dorm, converted office area, or small apartment. At a meager $40, it has a lot to offer in terms of application, thanks to its tiered, organization-savvy side surfaces, sturdy metal frame, and laminated particleboard, keeping monetary investment to a minimum without sacrificing strength. While it may not be as notable as some of our other offerings on this list, it does well to blend industrial and rustic design styles, making it a tasteful addition to any small room.
IKEA has a furniture piece for every type of individual, area, or application, making it one of the premier outlets for affordable in-home offerings. For those who are making the transition to a Work From Home (WFH) environment or the everyday student who needs a compact place to study, the brand’s Micke desk is an attractive offering that won’t let you down in terms of style and functionality. Instead of adopting a complex layout that’s too busy for the more simplistic areas of the home, the Micke boasts a minimalist structure that’s been built to fit in just about anywhere, thanks to its modular frame. Need more space to enhance your capabilities? Pair it with some of IKEA’s Micke-series drawer or desk units to turn your in-home work area into a full-fledged office space.
Project 62 Loring Wood
Like the Walmart Mainstays line, Target’s Project 62 segment is an affordable (but tasteful) alternative to many of today’s more expensive in-home items. Take the brand’s Loring Wood desk, for example. It features a plain, front-loading layout that’s been conceptualized to keep all of your important office essentials
within arm’s reach, making at-home projects a breeze to complete. Pair that with the desk’s exceedingly large surface area, and you’ve got a functional work area that’s second to none in terms of usable real estate. Plus, it’s finished in a great-looking veneer, helping it to fit right in with other rustic furniture.
Corrigan Studios Bewley
Corrigan Studios’ Bewley is a unique corner desk that was designed to optimize your work area. Since it was crafted to fit into the corner of almost any small space, this compact offering features a functional desk area that can house a desktop monitor, as well as CD’s, notebooks, and pens, while an added top shelf has been added to bring some much-needed utility to its minimalist structure. Below, a sliding drawer offers storage for things like keyboards, additional writing utensils, or literature, allowing you to keep your work area as organized as possible, without having to rely on a large, overbearing desk that’ll take up a quarter of your room.
West Elm Ladder Shelf
West Elm is a trusted source for any and all home furnishings, and as we transition into the renovation of our Work From Home office areas, they’ve continued to support the cause. Since they understand that small, half-hearted layouts are something of the norm, the brand has decided to offer an interesting alternative to the traditional desk — a “ladder shelf” that brings a new meaning to “compact office area.” Boasting one of the most abnormal layouts that we’ve seen, this unique desk features — you guessed it — a ladder-style shelving arrangement, providing users with a primary desk area/nook that’s a fraction of the size of its contemporary alternatives. Plus, West Elm has also included some display shelves for your favorite flavorful items.
CB2’s Helix is strikingly similar to the West Elm Ladder Shelf in that, it too, boasts a unique, ladder-inspired layout. This visually-appealing offering offers the same space-saving functions as the aforementioned model but opts for more substantial walnut veneer shelving, a powder-coated metal frame, and hardware to mount it directly to your wall, giving it a durable, long-lasting appeal that’s sure to weather whatever it is that you put it through.
West Elm Mid-Century Art Display Mini
West Elm makes its second appearance on our list with the Mid-Century Art Display Mini — a two-tiered offering that’s sure to put you in the right mindset for your workday. Boasting a beautifully-tempered glass top and an engineered, walnut-veneer shelf, this attractive design piece brings a durable steel frame and powder-coated antique brass finish to the forefront for mid-century furniture aficionado who seek to bring some vintage flavor to their compact work area.
Poppin Black Key
Poppin’s Black Key desk is a small work area that’s been designed from the ground up as an efficient individual offering. To accent its durable powder-coated metal frame and legs, the brand has opted to include a wear-resistant powder-coated MDF desktop, rounded edges, and an ultra-simplistic layout, sacrificing the complexity and storage-savvy traits of other offerings for a more streamlined appearance. That being said, it’s as durable as they come, bringing a sleek and functionally-formidable presence to any small workspace.
Choice Fem Work
Choice’s Fem Work area might have an abnormal name, but when it comes to unique utilitarian design, it’s at the top of its game. Built as a multifunctional work area that was designed primarily for Work From Home applications, this modular wonder features a simplified, easy-to-setup layout that allows users to adapt almost any area of the home into a full-fledged work environment, thanks to its lacquered solid ash and ash veneered plywood construction. Tired of sitting down for work? Get up and flip the desk’s unique top shelf over for a more comfortable (and posture-approved) approach.
Urban Outfitters Mid-Century Fold-Out
Urban Outfitters might be one of the clothing world’s premier providers, but they’ve also got a wide range of in-home furnishing that stand toe-to-toe with their fashionable garments. The brand’s Mid-Century Fold-Out is one such offering, bringing a solid, durable design to the forefront for workers who want something that’s both capable and captivating. Each example is finished in natural mango wood and features a set of secret storage areas that are primed for the storage of pencils, pens, notebooks, and other items.
The Toboggan is the most outlandish desk on our list, but if you’re looking for an interesting item that’s more of a show/talking piece than anything else, you’ll be enthused to hear that it is, in fact, built for the mobile worker. Based on the recognizable sled design from years past, this eye-catching workstation features a versatile desk/seat layout, allowing users to shift their bodies in a 180-degree orientation. As a result, the original work area turns into a functionally-sound seating arrangement, thanks to its rounded back support.
Article’s Fantol rounds out our list as a quintessential take on the genre’s ladder-inspired offerings. Not only does it boast a set of substantial solid-oak gables, but it also includes a set of oak-grain cathedral patterns, two compact desk drawers, and high-rung storage areas for the careful exhibition of your favorite photographs, knick-knacks, and keepsakes. At 51 inches across, it’s not the smallest offering on our list, but thanks to its ladder-like design, it’s sure to take up a fraction of the space of its four-legged counterparts.
The 15 Best Ergonomic Office Chairs
Now that you’ve found the perfect form-fitting desk, don’t sully your experience with a run-of-the-mill seating arrangement. Head over to our guide on the best ergonomic office chairs to find the perfect, posture-approved item for your work area.