15 Small Apartment Desk Ideas + Tips To Increase Home Productivity

Updated September 16, 2019
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Just because you are in an apartment and don’t have a spare office for your work-from-home or studio space, doesn’t mean you can’t make it work! There are plenty of ways to fit a fully functional office space in your apartment while keeping a minimalist design and avoiding too much clutter.

Looking at small apartment desks for your apartment is a great place to start building out an efficient, space-friendly office space in your apartment.

15 Apartment Desks To Consider

1. Leaning/Ladder Desk Leaning ladder small apartment desk

Leaning desks, or ladder desks, take up only about three square feet of floor space but offer up a lot more storage above than a regular desk would have. They are easily incorporated into your living room or bedroom as extra shelving and storage for decor or office supplies.

You can purchase a chair just for this desk, or if it’s easy, a dining chair from your dining room can work on those casual work-from-home days. This is a great non-invasive apartment desk for a small space.

Since they just lean against the wall they can be easily moved around as well! No installation or heavy lifting is required.

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2. Narrow DeskNarrow bodied small apartment desk

If you work from home or have a portable office where you work from a laptop, a narrow apartment desk that is just 12 inches deep can work great as a small space office.

Sofa tables are often just a foot deep and have varying lengths and heights. They can be used as a combination sofa table, accent table, and desk all in one. They don’t stick out from a wall very far and are still a good height to sit at.

Integrate one into your living room and you have a perfect apartment desk space for whenever you need it!

3. Desks with Built-insSmall apartment desk with built in compartments

Apartment desks with extra storage or built-in hutches can give lots of storage without taking up more space. You can choose open-designed shelving or cabinets and drawers, depending on the aesthetic of your home.

They can hold everything from a computer tower to books, notebooks, writing utensils, and some house plants to bring a little life to your workspace.

Pulled-out keyboard trays and drawers help save space and hide the clutter of cords, mousepads, laptops, etc.

4. Floating Deskfloating small apartment desk

A floating desk can be as simple as a few shelves installed to create a desk or as fancy as this cool curved floating desk. A floating apartment desk can be installed at any height, in any room you want your workspace.

The floating desk allows for more open floor space for rugs, storage, chairs, etc. This floating desk, in particular, includes built-in cable and wire management to keep the space clean and clear of clutter and keep them from hanging down in a mess under the desk.


5. Glass Top Desk

Small apartment desk with flat top

A full glass table or desk, or one with a glass top can be a nice addition to your apartment workspace as it’s not a heavy piece of furniture. Seeing through it gives the illusion of it not taking up any space.

A dark wood desk is going to look a lot bigger compared to a clear glass desk. It won’t block sunlight, you can see all your surrounding furniture and decor through the table, and it’s also very easy to clean.

It won’t hide wires as well as other apartment desks, but if you work from a laptop or small desk computer this may not be a problem for you.


6. Convertible DeskConvertible small apartment desk-

Imagine a cabinet, chalkboard, dining table, apartment desk in one. It’s true! A convertible desk is an apartment dweller’s dream. It has the potential to be the most functional piece of furniture you own.

It’s a desk when you need it to be a desk, a chalkboard to disguise the mounted desk, and shelving inside that will stay put when you convert it between the two. This can function as extra dining, or even your main dining area if you have extra small space.

Take out the shelving inside and mount a monitor inside that can be swiveled out when in use.


7. Table with Storagetable with storage small apartment desk

Similar to a convertible desk, tables with extra or hidden storage can be highly utilized to make workspaces while not sacrificing room to store things or integrate decor. Working from the couch can be fun, but maybe not the easiest to work from your lap or the coffee table.

If you get one of these lift-top coffee tables though, your couch can become your office! The top effortlessly lifts up and towards you, creating a nice workspace to write, type, or eat even if you want, from the comfort of your couch.

The top that lifts up, reveals storage underneath where you can store your work supplies, pens, pencils, even your laptop. Works great as a special hiding spot as well!

8. Laptop TableLaptop table for small apartment desk

Sofa end tables can work great as mini little workspaces for remote days from the couch as well. They work great as side tables to your sofa, chair, or bedside. They are the perfect height to have a TV dinner or set your laptop in front of you no matter where you’re sitting.

They are highly portable and hardly take up any space. Laptop tables might be the best option for those living in small spaces as they are incredibly multi-functional and take up hardly two square feet of floor space.

9. Shelf Standing Desk Shelf standing small apartment desk

If you find yourself not wanting to sit at a desk, or you don’t have room for an apartment desk, a sturdy shelf installed in the wall can work perfectly as a casual standing desk. With approval from your property management company, of course, you can easily install a floating or bracket shelf at the proper height you need to utilize it as a standing desk.

It should be at least a foot deep and be able to withstand the weight of your laptop/computer and the pressure of you typing. It may not be the first choice, but it is definitely space-friendly and integrates well in any room.


10. Lap DeskLap small apartment desk

The lap desk is the breakfast in bed of workspaces, which sounds awesome in my opinion. They are the workspace you can have that takes up the least amount of space possible, aside from just having your computer in your lap itself.

Whether you are working from bed, the couch, a bean bag chair – the lap desk can go ANYWHERE you want to sit and work on your computer. This one is a far cry from early models of lap desks – it’s made of beautiful wood grain with a wrist pad that holds your laptop up, a mouse pad, and even tablet and phone stands so you can keep everything in place as you work.

It’s a genius design but mostly recommended for those who occasionally work remotely, or have a sick day. It’s not ergonomic, so wouldn’t recommend it for someone who works every day from home.


11. Mounted MonitorMounted monitor small apartment desk

Mounting your monitor on a wall or table can help free up counter or table space, while also being able to move your monitor out of the way when not in use. We found one that is a table mount that can attach to any table, and also has a laptop stand so you don’t need a ton of space to work with it.

Mount your monitor in a closet or cabinet to hide away when not in use, then simply hook up your laptop or computer to it when in use on a counter, table, or small desk.


11. Bookshelf DeskBookshelf small apartment desk

If you have or are going to have, a tall bookshelf in your apartment, you can get one that has removable shelves to make your own apartment desk built in your bookshelf. You can remove the shelves on the bottom half to make room for your legs and a chair. This will be the perfect way to incorporate something you already have in your apartment, and not take away any storage.

Keep your books on top, and work right there on the middle shelf! Install some under-shelf lighting to make sure it’s not too dark under the shelving.


12. Corner Desk Corner small apartment desk

Don’t have a ton of wall space to put a desk? No problem, utilize the corner! A small corner desk can be stylish, compact, and allow you to use every little square foot of your room. A small apartment desk in the corner will have enough room for a drawer, a lamp, some writing utensils, and your computer.

It has everything you need in a small little package. Put baskets or shelves underneath for more storage. If you want a standing desk you can easily add platforms to the legs to heighten it and give you even more flexibility for your apartment workspace.

Half circle tables could also work great as a small laptop desk or standing desk. If you’re lucky you can find old corner hutches and desks at antique stores. Otherwise, this corner apartment desk on Amazon is perfect for small spaces.


13. Drop-Leaf Mounted DeskDrop-leaf small apartment desk

You may have heard of drop-leaf tables or desks, but this is truly one of the most space-efficient pieces of “furniture” you can use to have your apartment as functional as possible.

With permission to install this into the wall, a drop-leaf desk can go just about anywhere. Your bedroom, front entry, closet, living room. Since it can be unfolded and hang down against the wall, it doesn’t need to be in the way all the time.

When you need to work you can pop it up, when you’re done fold it back down. It’s a great space saver!


14. Ladder Shelving DeskDIY ladder small apartment desk

Now this one is a bit more DIY. It involves using two ladders, whether homemade or purchased and putting a shelf between the two to create your own computer desk.

Using ladders as shelving is no new concept, but you just wouldn’t have them all go across. Just having one long shelf in the middle can give you the cutest little apartment desk workspace.

Though not as compact as others, if you have the space in your apartment for one wall that you are going to utilize for putting decor, working from home, and multi-purpose storage – this project is perfect for a cool aesthetic and you can be proud that you made it yourself!

Finding Yourself Struggling to Work From Home?

Here are a few tips that may help you stay productive working from your new apartment desk.

Set-up a Legitimate Working Space

Designate your office space with any of the above small desks. It’s important to have a specific area you can set up your computer, a lamp, some notebooks, a little plant, or whatever you may have in an actual workspace. You may want to plop on the couch and work from your lap—they don’t call it a laptop for nothing.

However, this can take away from the feeling that you are sitting at a desk and working, and you might get a little too comfortable. Your couch and your bed should be places where you sleep, rest, watch TV—not work.

Get Dressed!

You may find yourself wanting to dress in your coziest sweats as you work from home, especially during the times right now. But, getting up and getting dressed can help boost your mood and make you feel ready for the day.

Even just jeans and a t-shirt can help prepare you for a day or productivity, rather than rest and relaxation.

Stick to a Morning Routine

Hey ladies, doing your hair and makeup can help you look and feel good, not just for video calls, but on the inside as well. Sometimes getting up and maintaining that routine of getting done-up can be just what you need to feel motivated.

But feel free to rock that messy bun when you’re off your video chat.

Eat a Good Breakfast

It can be really easy to want to roll out of bed and right to the computer to start working, but making sure you give yourself time to eat a hardy breakfast can start your day off on the right foot. Being at home you may be more likely to skip breakfast, or snack instead of making actual sit-down meals, so a hardy breakfast of eggs, bacon, and toast can be a good thing.

It will fill you up so you aren’t distracted by a growling tummy, and it gives your stomach a nice base to soak up the pot of coffee you brewed for yourself.

Set Your Work Hours!

One of the biggest mistakes people make working from home is being too flexible with their work hours. Just because you’re at home, does not mean you can’t set strict office hours for yourself. Wake up on time, set an end time, and stick to it. Make sure you make time for a real lunch break in there as well.

Then, set your availability in your email or slack account to let colleagues know you have designated hours. This is ultimately important when you reach the weekend. The last thing you want is to have work bleed into dinner time, or into the weekend because you didn’t work within your forty-hour parameters. You will thank yourself!

Put the Phone Down

We are all guilty of wanting to check our phones constantly, especially in a time when we’re trying to stay connected to people during this pandemic. Unless you absolutely need your smartphone for work purposes, it should really be set aside, out of reach.

You may be surprised how the minutes spent checking social media or personal emails can add up throughout the day. That time is crucial to productivity and for your own well-being. So set it on another table, or in another room—when your workday is done, your phone will be all charged up and ready to go for you!

Find your Perfect Apartment Rental!

We want you to be able to have your home and workspace perfect and fit your style. If you’re in the market for a new apartment rental, please check out our open units, and contact us for a tour!

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