Ask LH: How Can I Turn My Closet Into An Office?

Dear Lifehacker, My closet looks like a landfill. It holds a bunch of old stuff I don't need anymore, and I feel like I could use the space better by turning it into an office. I want to do it right — not just shove a desk inside and call it a day. What's the best way to turn my closet into a personal workspace? Sincerely, Confused Closeteer

Picture: Howard Sandler/Shutterstock

Dear CC,

You can turn your closet into an amazing workspace, but you have to clean it out first. It might all be junk to you, but you might be surprised by what you can sell and donate. Get rid of everything you don't need, and find new places to store important items. Clothing, for example, does well in a chest of drawers or on bookshelves (if you keep it nice and folded). Once you have everything out of the way, you can start planning.

Step 1: Get Inspiration and Plan Ahead

Closets make great workspaces, as we have seen many times in the past. Here are a few of our favourites that you can use as inspiration.

Once you have an idea of what you want to do, figure out all the things you need and make a list. Do you want to paint the inside of the closet? Do you want to put up wallpaper? Figuring out basic design elements, colours and so on will make it easier to find the parts you will need down the line.

Step 2: Add Power

You probably don't have power outlets in your closet. You will need an extension cable and a power strip at the very minimum to supply electricity to the gadgets you will be using in there. Find the nearest wall socket and run the extension cable along the wall. You could attach it to the wall by covering the cable with non-destructive painter's tape and then painting over it. If the desk you put in there has cable management options, don't plug in the power strip just yet. If you are just going to have it sit on the floor, feel free to do that now.

Step 3: Choose Your Desk

Closet workspaces obviously have a limited amount of space, but your options aren't as limited as you might think. For nearly every normal-sized desk out there you can probably find a smaller one. On the cheap side, the IKEA MICKE is a great choice. It only costs $59, comes with a drawer, and it has a hole for cables. It's narrow enough for most closets, as long as you have a reasonable amount of depth to fit it in.

An even cheaper option is simple to mount a shelf (or just a piece of wood) in the closet with a few shelving brackets. This should be more than enough to hold up a laptop or monitor, as well as a few other items. It also allows you to maximise the space in your closet.

Of course, anything that fits will do. If you have a small table lying around the house, you can just use that. Don't rule anything out. A closet isn't supposed to be an office, so just because something isn't supposed to be a desk doesn't mean you can't turn it into one.

Step 4: Use Your Walls

The closet may not provide much room, but it can offer quite a bit of storage possibilities. Just because you are turning it into an office doesn't mean you need to forego its natural talents. Most closets have quite a bit of room on the walls, so any wall-mountable storage tools can help you store office supplies, books and unused cables. Wall pots for plants make really good pen holders, and peg boards are really great for organising just about anything. Whatever you do, don't forget to utilise your walls. They are your best asset in a tiny workspace.

Step 5: Put It All Together

Once you have figured everything out, move it into your closet from back to front. Just like you got the power flowing earlier, you will want to handle as much of your cable management as possible before moving the desk in and putting stuff on your walls. Basically, anything that you want to hide needs to go in first. It's hard to change things in small spaces, so do your best to get everything in correctly the first time.

Putting together a closet office isn't too difficult if you just plan ahead and take the right approach. Good luck!

Cheers Lifehacker

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