You don’t need a sprawling spare room to design a functional—and stylish!—home office. Just ask decor YouTuber and former Chatelaine home editor Alexandra Gater, who transformed an underused closet in her one-bedroom apartment into a cozy workspace with just a fresh coat of paint, a wall-mounted desk and a few clever storage solutions.
If your work-life balance is taking a hit at home, a dedicated workspace can help create boundaries. “If you stare at your work stuff all night, you feel like you should be working,” says Gater. Below, the decor expert shares her tips on how to turn any underused corner in your home into a productive WFH set-up.
1. Define your space
From a vanity table to a wall-mounted shelf, anything can stand in for a desk. If you work in an open space, paint the surrounding wall a different colour to make it feel like its own room.
2. Create a plan
“Before you start, take stock of what you need to keep in your office and find storage solutions that work for you,” suggests Gater, who installed a wide shelf above her desk to fit her printer.
3. Shop your home
A quick inventory of what you already own will almost always yield a few gems, from leftover paint to furniture. To brighten things up, don’t be afraid to borrow accessories from other rooms.
4. Use vertical space
When every square inch counts, make the most of your blank walls with space-saving hacks. Layer a few of your favourite things on a floating shelf to add personality without sacrificing precious desk space, or install pegboard with a mix of hooks and trays keeps everyday items—like pens, notebooks and tape—handy.
5. Make it cozy
Take advantage of the relaxed setting to light a scented candle or listen to your favourite podcast while you work. “Lean into the fact that you’re working from home,” says Gater, who likes to get an essential oil diffuser going to set the mood in the morning.