A messy desk is the sign of genius. At least, that’s what I tell myself because my desk is a perpetual disaster that looks like a tornado blew through. However, despite my current working environment, I do work best when things are tidy. Enter the DIY cloffice. It might be the epitome of organized efficiency.
Search for cloffice ideas and you’ll find plenty of inspiration. Stylish photos show off lilliputian spaces expertly finagled to fit everything you’d need in your office while keeping things uncluttered. Here, interior design experts weigh in on the cloffice—and the best cloffice designs for your space.
Who Needs a Cloffice?
While the cloffice is technically a mish-mash of the office and the closet, it’s not reserved solely for an empty closet, according to Austin-based Killy Scheer of Scheer & Co.
“The term can extend to carving workspaces under stairs and in corners of living rooms and dining rooms, too! It’s a great option for those who live in smaller spaces, don’t need to dedicate an entire room in a house to an office, simply don’t have space to spare, need to spend a lot of time on Zoom calls and want to be separated from the rest of the house, or kids’ homework stations,” she says.
Maureen Stevens of Maureen Stevens Design in New Orleans adds that the work-from-home mandates are partially driving the rise in interest. It gives people the ability to transform what would otherwise be an unused space in the home into a convenient workstation.
“Closets are usually a blank space with built-in shelves and closet doors you can close when you don’t want the ‘cloffice’ to be seen by your guests,” she shares. “Or if you want to show off your unique space, go doorless!”
When it comes to building and creating your cloffice, it all boils down to what you need out of the space.
“If the desk is really just a landing pad for paying bills, emailing…even for those whose jobs are remote and fully digital, you really don’t need much,” Scheer says. “If you don’t need to file papers, print, or store anything, a small desk (36 inches wide is the minimum), ideally with a pencil drawer and a quality light source, should do the trick. For those requiring more robust workspaces, a larger desk, perhaps files and/or shelving would be useful.”
Another thing you shouldn’t skip on is a quality chair. It serves a dual purpose, the first being comfort and ergonomics. The second is, of course, style. Stevens suggests finding an accent chair that is also comfortable so that it can complement the room when the office is closed.
Keep Things Light
Light is essential, and if you can have it, natural light wins out.
“Great lighting is always a must,” Scheer asserts. “If you have the space or opportunity, create levels with overhead ambient lighting and lower task lighting—and natural light is the best if you have access to it.”
Of course, there’s also the component of what keeps the lights on. Since many closets won’t have electrical outlets, you may need to get creative.
“I recommend adding a small four-by-six- or three-by-five-foot rug in the cloffice area. Not only does it indicate a designated space from the rest of the room, but it is also a fantastic way to hide those pesky power and ethernet cords until they reach the nearest wall outlet,” says Lance Thomas of Thomas Guy Interiors, based in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Make It Fun
Just because the office is in your closet doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Make your cloffice true to you and how you work. Don’t be afraid to run a little wild.
“Bold prints and textured risks can make for a very large impact in a small space,” Thomas says of wallpaper. “The best part is, the small amount of yardage needed gives all of the impact without breaking the bank.”
It can go beyond wallpaper, too, and the smaller size of the closet means the task to decorate isn’t overwhelming.
“You can dress it up with paint, wallcoverings, fun lighting, and creative built-ins,” Scheer recommends. “The best part is, you can completely close it up at the end of the day – those closet doors come in handy, but if you don’t have them, a curtain or screen will do!”