Guide to Office Design for the Small Office Layout


Space comes at a premium in a smaller office, meaning it’s more important than ever to consider your layout and the things you can do to optimise your floor plan. Today, we’ll be exploring top office arrangement tips to help you maximise your small office plan and create the perfect environment for employees and visitors alike.

Clever small office layouts leave no dead space, ensuring that every square foot of your office can be used to its maximum potential. Our small office layout ideas are here to help you make the most of your design and help your staff work at their best.

Maximising Your Office: Efficient Small Office Layout

Optimising a small office layout is an art form and a tricky thing to master. Not only does the design need to balance the needs of your staff within a limited amount of space – and often on a tight budget – it also needs to be done in a visually appealing way that reflects positively on your business.

Space economy is a must in a small office layout, meaning every item you put into your office must be carefully considered, weighing its benefits against the value of the space it will take up. The good news is, with a bit of office space planning and creativity, even the smallest of office layouts can become hubs of productivity.

Get the Most Out of a Small Office

Get the Most Out of a Small Office

Key Considerations for a Small Office Floor Plan

Just because your office is small doesn’t mean it can’t also be a comfortable and functional place to work. You’ll just need to be a little more efficient and careful with your layout and how you arrange your furniture.

While every layout will be different in its own way, there are some modern office design best practices that are common to most small offices. Here are some ideas and examples for creating the perfect office for your small team to work in.

Light: The lighter the space looks, the larger the office appears to be. Layouts that facilitate the flow of light – both natural and artificial – can make offices seem larger and more open. Clever placement of mirrors and furniture can also maximise light and save you money on power bills.

Colour: A great way of emphasising the sense of space in a small layout is to choose colours that brighten up the room. Soft and light colours such as white, light greys, pale blue, and pastel colours are excellent at making a small room seem bigger.

Line: Clever use of line is an often overlooked tactic for making an office feel larger. Choose furniture and decorations with exaggerated lines to create a sense of flow. Horizontal lines tend to make a space appear longer, while vertical lines can make it seem taller.

Storage: Clutter is the enemy of a small room, so be sure to offer adequate storage so unnecessary items can be packed away when not in use at work. This can help open up the space while minimising tripping hazards.

Movement: Facilitating movement can be particularly challenging when you have limited space. Be sure to establish clear walkways through the office so there’s enough room for staff and visitors to move around without bumping into anything.

Noise: It’s incredible how quickly noise can make an office feel small and cramped. Limiting noise in the office is essential to the comfort and wellbeing of your staff, as well as anyone who visits your office.

Privacy: Privacy is hard to come by in a small space, so you may need to get a little creative to help your teams work comfortably. Setting up privacy screens or desk mounted dividers is a great option for creating a little more division between workers without having to sacrifice the little space you have in the room.

Decorations: Your office is small enough without restricting further with objects that serve no purpose. Limit decorations to the wall or even the roof rather than cluttering up your office.

Safety: All floor plans should prioritise the safety of staff above everything else. This is especially true of small layouts where lack of space can increase the risk of accidents. Take care to keep walkways open, offer plenty of storage to minimise obstacles, and ensure that there’s enough space for staff to complete their tasks without risk to their health or safety.

Key Considerations for a Small Office Floor Plan

Emphasise the Sense of Space

Emphasise the Sense of Space

Building Flexibility into Your Office Design and Culture

Building flexibility into your office is an excellent solution for a small layout that’s short on space. There are many ways you can create a more flexible office, including:

  1. Dividing up your office using rolling partitions, screens, and folding room dividers which can be stowed away when not in use. This allows you to adapt your space at any time without ever committing to a single room layout.
  2. Using portable storage solutions that can be moved out of the way when you need to open up your layout
  3. Adopting a hot desking system rather than designated seating to maximise desk utilisation
  4. Establishing a minimalist style that leaves more space open and available at all times
  5. Considering an open or semi-open office plan

Space-Saving Solutions for the Small Office

Efficient space saving solutions are particularly important when you’re operating out of a small office. Not only can clutter be a waste of space, it can be an outright safety hazard. Here are some ideas for cutting down the clutter and opening up your office.

Open Office Plans

Touted as one of the most efficient options for getting the most out of a room, open office plans are designed to help make use of every square foot of space.

Digital Filing

Filing cabinets are big, heavy, ugly, and a huge waste of space. Rather than wasting valuable room, consider using digital filing and cloud storage solutions to reduce the amount of paper you need to keep in the office.

Adopt a Flexible Work Arrangement

Creating a roster in which staff can work from a home office is an excellent space-saving solution. By minimising the number of people in the office at any one time, you can free up a lot of room while supporting productivity from home.

Many staff are also much happier with their job when allowed to work from a home office workstation for some of the week.

Turn Your Office Into a Multi-Functional Space

Giving you the freedom to convert your office from an open plan, to a meeting room, to a collaborative work area, and then back again can be a huge space saving solution compared to having a permanent setup in your office. Mobile partitions and folding operable walls are a convenient option for creating a more adaptable space that allows you to convert any room in moments.

Make Use of Every Square Foot of Space

Office Noise: Minimising Excessive Noise in the Office

Noise is a problem in every workplace, but it can be particularly disruptive in small areas where even a little bit of noise can become a big problem.

Thankfully, there are many options for controlling noise in the office. You can install insulation to manage external noise, and fit your office with soft chairs, carpet, strategically-placed plants, and acoustic panels to manage internal noise. Soft surfaces offer sound-dampening properties by absorbing sound, minimising reverberation, and preventing amplification.

Chairs should also be fitted with rubber feet to help eliminate the unpleasant scrap of furniture across the floor.

Control the Noise

How to Design the Perfect Small Office Plan

Every office needs to be uniquely tailored to a business’ specific requirements, so the final layout will look different for everyone. To identify your perfect design and office layout, here are some simple steps you should follow:

Step 1: Identify the needs of your staff and determine which activities need to be supported in the office e.g. meetings, collaboration, remote work, focus-heavy projects, physical tasks, etc.

Step 2: Measure your space (including the height and width of doors) to work out exactly how much room you have to work with.

Step 3: Work out your budget. It’s all well and good to have an amazing set of plans for transforming your office interiors, but there’s no point if you can’t afford it. Once you’ve got a clear budget in mind, you can start making realistic plans as to how to make your dreams a reality.

Step 4: Consider how you want your customers to perceive your brand. This is an important step in determining your final style choices and the theme of your design.

Step 5: Create a shopping list of items you need to purchase, separating them into two categories: ‘must have’ and ‘like to have’. This can help you sort out your priorities and identify which features you may need to compromise on in your small office space.

Step 6: Start mapping out plans for your office layout. This can help you determine an arrangement that best directs the flow of foot traffic, giving you an indication of where to place each desk, chair, storage unit, and more.

Step 7: Your style says a lot about your brand, so now it’s time to determine which style will best reflect your brand’s identity. For example, if you wish to be seen as a modern and innovative company, a High-Tech or minimalist style using a lot of neutral colours, including black, white, grey, and even metallic accents can help communicate this idea.

Step 8: Research furniture that suits the style and colour palette you’ve selected for your office, paying careful attention to the dimensions of the furniture. You don’t want to buy something that takes up too much space – or won’t even fit through the door. Remember, your team will likely spend a lot of time using this furniture, so be sure to select pieces that are comfortable, supportive, ergonomic, and adjustable to suit every employee, regardless of age, gender, or body type.

Step 9: Maximising light and airflow is an effective way of making a small layout seem bigger and more open. Consider ways of enhancing natural light in your office, such as cleverly positioning mirrors to brighten up the layout.

Step 10: Now that you’ve purchased and arranged your furniture, you can start looking at the non-essential items you’d like to add. This includes paintings, photos, and other decorative items that help liven up the space. Again, be careful to select pieces that are consistent with your design. Abstract pieces that feature simple, geometric designs, for example, can look particularly striking in a minimalist office, but might look a little weird when introduced to a rustic space.

Tailor Your Office to Your Precise Needs

Tailor Your Office to Your Precise Needs

Getting the Most Out of a Small Office

Small buildings with a limited amount of space can present a unique challenge for businesses looking to create a functional and efficient work environment. But just because your office is small doesn’t mean it can’t still be a comfortable and enjoyable place for people to work.

Here’s a quick overview of our small office design plan tips for maximising your space:

Consider your budget, space, and requirements before committing to a design

Build flexibility into your setup to make your office more adaptable to shifting priorities and needs

Use clever storage solutions and cut down on clutter

Set up clear pathways and ensure that furniture doesn’t hamper movement

A lighter and brighter room tends to look larger than a darker one

Use soft furniture, insulation, acoustic panels and partitions to limit noise

Stick to the essentials rather than filling up your office with unnecessary objects

Clever use of line can make a small room seem longer, wider, or taller

Never compromise on safety. Ensure that your staff always have enough room to safely complete their work

Consider more flexible work arrangements, such as hot-desking or allowing part-time work from a home office space

Go digital with your filing to reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ you need to keep in storage

If you need to design a reception area, make sure to check out the simple steps to modern office waiting area design.

Enhance the Utility of the Room

Enhance the Utility of the Room