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How to create a home office in a rented home

Create an exciting and inspiring home office no matter how big the space, style or budget with these simple ideas

How to create a home office in a rented home

Brought to you by Houzz

David White & Mark Russell, Houzz Contributors

Whether you work full time from home or simply need a space where you can sit, relax and browse the web, having a dedicated little corner carved out in your home is a lovely thing. As two renters in London, we know it’s not always easy with limited space, not to mention a limited budget, so here are some simple and achievable ideas for creating an inspiring home office or handy work space.

Contemporary Home Office

Make walls work hard

Blackboard paint is a wonderful thing. We’ve used it in our flat and not only is it fun, it also means you can keep updating the wall with notes, ideas and to-do lists! Blackboard paint would work perfectly in a home office space – especially if, like us, you need to jot things down in order to remember them. You can grab a pot for as little as £6 to £12 from hardware stores.

Check out 10 of the best chalkboard ideas

Edwardian House, South West London

Utilise a nook

We’re not all blessed with a spare room that can be turned into a home office, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up the dream of having a dedicated work space – you just need to think laterally about nooks in your home. Perhaps you have an alcove that isn’t being used, a spot under the stairs, or an area within the kitchen that can be transformed into a daytime work space?

However small the area, there’s lots of compact furniture available that can fit into plenty of nooks and crannies. Our landlord installed shelving and a pull-out desk under the stairs that work brilliantly.

Palace Court

Don’t ignore the floor

With a home office, it’s really easy to concentrate solely on the desk and accessories and forget all about the floor. Adding a rug will zone the area and bring some warmth and comfort to a spot that might otherwise feel quite boring. Here you can see how a colourful rug has added a little fun to the white desk and chair, and it will keep feet nice and cosy, too.

Stay organised

By using labelled boxes, you’ll keep all your important documents easily to hand, meaning you can work in an orderly and organised manner. Colour-coding can help keep things even more accessible, and can transform an otherwise purely utilitarian item into something decorative and beautiful.

Home Office

Give your desktop some love

Painting or decoupaging a work surface will completely reinvent the space and can give a new lease of life to a drab old desk. Consider how you’ll be working on your desk. How much graft will take place there? Then consider your material. If you are likely to only ever rest your laptop on there, you can choose something soft, such as fabric, but for writing or crafting, make sure it’s robust.

Make your mood board a masterpiece

Whether it’s a cork pinboard, a whiteboard or a messy collage of ideas, make your mood board a focal point by turning it into a piece of art. By simply adding a cheap frame, you could completely change the feel of your room and even heighten your productivity and creativity, as you’ll want to keep adding to and looking at the brilliant ideas in front of you.

Frames can be found here, there and everywhere. Whether it’s a cheap purchase from a high street store or a budget find in a charity shop, focus more on the size, shape and style of the frame rather than the finish, as you can easily update it with spray paint.

SF Showcase 2014

Use clipboards in a new way

This is such a fantastic and cheap idea – clipboards can be purchased for next to nothing at any craft or stationery store. Fix them to the wall to create an ingenious display for ideas, memos and photos.

If, like us, you live in rented accommodation, check out Damage-free Hanging strips by Command – they are are ideal for projects like this. They’re like Velcro for the wall and don’t leave any marks when you take them down.


Recycle vintage pieces

We’re big fans of a charity shop find, and this desk is the kind of thing that’s right up our alley.

Scour your local neighbourhood charity shops and you can pick up a desk for as little as £10 (depending on condition, size and your bargaining skills…). Most of the time these beauties just need a bit of love, such as a lick of paint or varnish.

A Junk Room Turned Craft Room

Shelve your ideas

When you have a lot of ideas, it helps to have a lot of space to store them. But if you don’t have a lot of money, your options can be limited – built-in shelving just isn’t on the cards. A bookcase is the perfect way to keep you organised – and keep the room looking good. Ikea’s range of Billy bookcases starts at £15 and, with some smart organising and displaying, these can be turned into rather stylish additions to the room.

Peg it up

Pegboards were once confined to garages and sheds, used mostly for storing tools, but they’ve been reappropriated for the home and are quite trendy at the moment. They act as fantastic organisation boards, and look pretty cool, too. A small one will come in at around £30.


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