Home Decor

How to Turn a Closet Into an Office (a Cloffice!)

15 tips for making the most of your new, compact WFH space.

February  3, 2021
Photo by Elizabeth Garrett Kirby

If your work situation suddenly moved home last year, I’m willing to bet you tried to get by without a desk at first. But, as many of us have learned (myself included), it’s incredibly inconvenient to work on the kitchen table or counter because, well, you have to clean up your work space every day, and who really wants to do that? Personally, I much prefer being able to leave my laptop set up, notepads open, and pens scattered.

I’m guessing I’m not the only one with this struggle, either, as a new home office trend has gotten quite popular in the past several months, and it’s called the “cloffice.” The word is a combination of “closet” and “office,” and it’s exactly what it sounds like: an office built in a closet. It’s a great space-saving solution if you don’t have a dedicated home office space, and not only is a cloffice ideal for working from home, but it can also be used as a virtual learning space for kids.

Curious about what a great cloffice looks like? Here are our favorite takes on the concept, all of which are both chic and functional—and will make working from home a much more enjoyable endeavor!


1. Create Faux Sconces

As I was searching for Instagram photos of cloffices, I kept seeing people say that Nesting With Grace inspired their own projects, and while it may not have been the first cloffice ever, it definitely seems as though her chic design helped to spark the trend’s current popularity.

Here’s her original cloffice blog post, if you want to check it out—can you believe the whole project cost less than $200? We particularly love her “magic light trick,” which entails taping an inexpensive puck light inside a sconce, saving you the hassle of hardwiring a light fixture into your home. Why didn’t we think of that?


2. Go Doorless to Show Off Your Space

There seems to be two camps of cloffice people: those who want doors to hide away their mess at the end of the day, and those who want to display their beautiful work spaces. I’m definitely the former, but if you fall into the latter camp, take a cue from this cloffice, designed by Megan McArn. She used a bold wallpaper, floating shelves, and several photos to create a workspace that’s pretty enough to be part of the room’s decor.


3. Use a Custom Closet Setup

Do you have an extra closet organization system lying around the house? If so, you can use it to keep your cloffice tidy… just like Jennifer Gizzi of Making Pretty Spaces did! This cloffice is outfitted with shelving from The Container Store’s Elfa collection, which you can mix and match to suit your space. There’s even a little printer shelf tucked underneath the desktop for easy access.


4. Get a Bold (and Comfy) Chair

Your chair can make or break your office, and we think this blogger has the right idea with her plush pink seat. It looks incredibly comfy, and it also provides a fun pop of color against the cloffice’s neutral color palette. You can get all the deets on her setup (including how she made that pretty herringbone wall design!) over on her blog.


5. Dress It Up with Wallpaper

One of the easiest ways to make your teeny office space stand out is with wallpaper, as showcased in this minimalistic cloffice. Because it’s such a small area, you can use a bold or intricate design (may we suggest a tropical jungle pattern?) without it being overwhelming, and it will really help to tie the space together and make it feel fun.


6. Squeeze in All the Shelves You Can

Kayla of Chippy Charm turned a bedroom closet into a rustic cloffice (the before and after pictures are truly mind-blowing!), and we love that she didn’t just stop at one shelf. In addition to the desktop, her cloffice has two shelves that run the whole width of the space, providing plenty of room to display decor, as well as store office essentials and paperwork. She chose to tuck items away in black document boxes, but you could easily use baskets or other organizational products.


7. Mount Your Monitor(s)

Computer monitors take up a lot of room on your desk, and if you’re working in a cloffice, there probably isn't a ton of room to begin with. An easy workaround? Attach your monitor to the wall! Monitor mounts are incredibly affordable, and free up precious space, allowing you to spread out your notebooks and paperwork.

SOME MORE GENIUS...FOR YOUR EARS

8. Create a Built-In Desk (If You’re Handy)

A lot of cloffices feature a simple “floating” desktop—aka a single piece of wood mounted to the walls—but if you know you’re going to use the space for years to come, you might want to create a full desk inside your little nook. The doorless design in this IG post features a wide desktop, as well as several drawers and cabinets, making it truly feel like a small office.


9. Or, Just Keep It Simple

Not sure you’ll like working in a closet? You can test the waters with a simple setup like this! All they did was arrange a small floating desk and stool inside an existing closet, then hang a whiteboard on the wall. The closet still has its upper shelf and hanging rod, so if it doesn’t work out, the space can easily go back to storing clothes.


10. Make It Fun For Your Kids

If your cloffice is going to be a virtual learning space for your kids, get them to help you decorate it. We love the bright chairs and fun decorations in this design, and the simple cork board gives little ones somewhere to display all their artwork and other creations. And when it gets messy? Simply shut the door!


11. Give It a Pop of Color

Not only does this seemingly normal closet open up to reveal an office, but it also hides a bold pop of color in an otherwise neutral room. The brilliant shade makes the cloffice feel like its own individual space, helping to set it apart from the rest of the room—and it doesn’t hurt that it’s incredibly fun, either.


12. Leave Space to Push In Your Chair

A lot of cloffice designs use a straight piece of wood to create a floating desk, but if it’s too wide, you might not be able to close your chair into the closet at the end of the day. Enter this crafty solution from Vanessa Wearmouth! She cut a U-shaped nook into her desktop, allowing plenty of space for the chair to be pushed in.


13. Get Crafty with It!

Don’t want to spend too much on decor accents for your cloffice space? Take a cue from blogger Yaro Zuarich, who gave his cloffice a personal touch with baskets-turned-pendants. He thrifted the baskets for $0.50 each (what a find!) and then used metallic paint and hot glue to turn them into hanging lights for his little space. He also hung a pegboard in his workspace, which offers a versatile solution for storing all sorts of work essentials.


14. Use the Side Space

Most closets have hidden pockets on each side, and we love how this IG-er made use of the extra space. Her neat bedroom cloffice features two shelves that wrap around the whole alcove, as well as additional lower shelving just inside those side nooks. It’s the perfect spot to arrange books, keeping them accessible yet off of your workspace.

(Pst. If you love the look of this office setup, it uses the iconic Alex Drawers from Ikea. We’d recognize them anywhere!)


15. Leave Some Room for Clothes

If you have limited storage space in your home, you might not be willing (or able) to give up your whole closet to create a mini workstation—and that’s ok! This is a great example of how you can use a closet for both purposes. The custom built-in divider creates a desk on one side of the closet, while the other half has several storage cubbies and a space to hang clothing. It serves double duty and looks great while doing it.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • jpriddy
    jpriddy
  • tia
    tia
  • Arati Menon
    Arati Menon
Freelance writer, product tester & baking enthusiast.

3 Comments

jpriddy February 7, 2021
Really nicely done. All the suggestions seem reasonable and practical—I even spotted a wastepaper basket!
 
tia February 5, 2021
Thanks for this! The closet is the solution I was looking for. I've been trying to figure out how to get my work space out of my main living space and was coming up blank. But now everything is falling into place!
 
Arati M. February 4, 2021
I really love the ingenuity behind these ideas. Now if only my closets weren't stuffed to the brim, I'd finally have space for a WFH office (to replace my couch/floor/bed!)