12 Clever Kitchen Office Space Ideas for Productive Work at Home

Amber Guetebier
Written by Amber Guetebier
Updated January 17, 2022
Woman home desk laptop mug plant
Photo: undrey / Adobe Stock

You can have your cake and work too

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Working from home has its perks (ahem, sweatpants), but it can also be a challenge. Having a designated work space when you don’t have a spare room can lead to some pretty creative solutions. Enter, the kitchen office. From built-in office nooks to designer desks, here are 12 ideas for creating a functional office space right in the kitchen. 

1. Make It Personal

Home desk with laptop and sign
Photo: Heather V. Keeling

Just because your office is tucked into the corner of your kitchen doesn’t mean it can’t be cheerful and inspiring. This home office space by creative Heather V. Keeling was built during a whole kitchen remodel

“The blue penny tile is installed throughout the kitchen, so even though this desk is on the far side of the space, it all feels cohesive and connected.” Keeling says. The cheerful tile makes a picture-perfect backdrop for her personal touches, including her beloved plants.

2. Close Up Shop

Dark drawers wooden table pillow bend.
Photo: Kyleen Dzploch Photography

In the age of work from home, having a designated work space in your kitchen that is not obtrusive might seem like an impossible ask. But the secret to balancing a functional home office and a busy kitchen might be hidden in plain sight. When integrated into a kitchen design, office nooks built into cupboards with doors that close when the workday is over, create a seamless off-hours appearance. 

Molly Caitlin of Molly Caitlin Interiors made her home office part of a complete kitchen renovation, which took five months in total. The workspace features beautiful, antique-mirrored doors which open and fold to make the space accessible, but offer eye-catching design when closed. There are baskets and drawers to contain paperwork clutter and electronics, and, Caitlin’s favorite part, the library light above. Instead of being an eye-sore, the entire unit becomes a beautiful accent piece to the kitchen itself.

3. Reclaim the Space 

White marble table top chair and drawers
Photo: Lavender Lane Interiors

When your home office is on display even when you’re off the clock, it can interfere with that precious work-life balance. One way to make the transition from office hours to after-hours is to reclaim the space when you’re not working. 

Stash away any cords, papers, and electronics into baskets or drawers, then swap in some non-work-related decor. This built-in kitchen desk by Lavender Lane Interiors has several beautiful objects arranged on a breadboard, making it easy to move when needed. The addition of a comfortable but non-officey looking chair helps marry the decor even more. 

4. Everything in Its Place

Labeled organized bins and boxes
Photo: Everyday Order

The key to managing a workspace in the busiest room of the house is keeping your home office space organized. Even if your desk is the kitchen table, designate an in-kitchen shelf or entire cupboard to hold your office supplies. File everything in clearly-labeled containers to avoid “I-had-it-here-somewhere syndrome” during your next Zoom meeting. 

Professional organizers Everyday Order helped their clients dial in their work-from-home storage with eye-catching blue baskets the client already had, then added a few clear bins for everything else. 

5. Go Big and Stay Home

Desk chair computer shelf cabinets
Photo: Anthony Lewis Ltd.

Although it may seem counterintuitive to take up more space when planning a kitchen office, having generous storage will help reduce clutter and any work spillover from taking over your home. 

This built-in from Anthony Lewis Ltd., who crafts custom kitchens and furniture, took over an entire wall of the kitchen with cabinetry designed to match the rest of the kitchen’s cupboards. Adding something fun like an accent color or splashy wallpaper gives the area personality, while plenty of lighting and bookshelves directly above the workspace provides the homeowner with what they need for a productive, comfortable home office

6. Play with Light and Texture

A kitchen nook that flows seamlessly into the entire design of the kitchen will always be a welcome edition. Using cabinetry that matches the rest of the kitchen as well as coordinating countertops helps the desk area feel like it belongs there. 

Kitchen and bath designer Elina Katsioula-Beall put her own kitchen office nook to good use during the pandemic. The wood, which is veneered in “Sapele Pommele '' has a warm, inviting stain, making it glow when the light hits it. Her other trick? The wood has a natural vertical striping that Katsioula-Beall says lends the area “a sense of height and a streamlined look.”

7. Rethink Open Concept

Black floor white cabinet walls kitchen
Photo: West Coast Design

Having a kitchen office doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your open concept kitchen, you just need to re-think it. Once-desirable countertop seating and coffee bars have taken a back seat to inspiring kitchen desk spaces that are comfortable, convenient, and sometimes come with a view. 

This beach house kitchen from West Coast Design takes advantage of natural light with the placement of the desk directly under. Strategic shades can be pulled to reduce glare during the brightest hours of the day.

8. Find a Corner Office

Open plan kitchen corner desk
Photo: ppa5 / Adobe Stock

If your kitchen and dining room are essentially one big room, a built-in office nook may not be feasible. If you’re puzzling over where to place a desk that isn’t in the middle of the room, look for a short wall or partially-concealed corner, like this room that takes advantage of the wall on the other side of the kitchen pantry. 

Choosing a desk that matches the rest of your furniture will go a long way into making it feel more cohesive: modern desk design will look great in a contemporary kitchen; a vintage style may call out for an antique roll top. Adding shelves and artwork around the area will give the feeling that it is more home than office and keep the practical place from looking too utilitarian. 

9. Repeat Colors

Sunny window desk yellow chair.
Photo: Africa Studio / Adobe Stock

If you’re worried that your kitchen desk is making the space feel too cramped, you can try a designer trick that makes even tight spaces seem curated. Repeat a color from the kitchen in your designated office area, like the bright lemon yellow here. By adding the splash of coordinating color, you’ll pull the two spaces together, making it seem less haphazard and more thought out. 

wooden desk gallery wall art white desk clock
Photo: Photographee.eu / Adobe Stock

Unless you’ve done a full remodel and have integrated a designated workspace into your kitchen, the odds are you’ve found a spot and stuck a desk there. One way to define the workspace is by displaying artwork directly above the desk. Creating a gallery wall using images and frames that match in tone and style will give your eye somewhere to go during brainstorms and help invoke office “borders.” 

11. Invoke Mood Lighting

Tidy desk modern organized plants windos
Photo: DN6 / Adobe Stock

One of the biggest perks of working from home is not having to hunker down under fluorescent office lights all day. Placing your workspace near an open window allows you to take advantage of the natural light, which can be a mood booster. It also means you can share a little space with houseplants, which not only purify the air but are also reminders of beauty and growth. 

12. Save Space

Simple modern desk attached wall
Photo: Lumens

For the majority of people working remotely, an in-home office was not part of their initial home design. Necessity breeds invention, but that doesn’t mean it has to be big. If square footage is at a premium in your home, look for a wall-mounted desk with a low profile, like the Rail Desk from Lumens

This style of desk looks like a shelf when not in use, and if you do start up your daily commute again, it be used for kitchen collectibles or cookbooks. There are also a wide variety of small-footprint home desks that fold flat against the wall when not in use which can double as additional serving space when entertaining.

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