My partner and I live in our tiny house on wheels and work from home full-time in our dedicated tiny home office; that’s us in the picture!
This guide is for you, if you want to explore office options for your tiny house or explore a purpose-built, standalone office space for your backyard.
In this in-depth guide, I will introduce you to:
The 2 most common tiny house office options
The best tiny office design layouts
The most important features in your tiny office
Once you have learned the basics, I will give you actionable Next Steps to start designing your own tiny office!
What is a tiny house office?
A tiny house office is either a dedicated room, or area in a tiny home you live in OR a small permanent or portable office that’s purely designed for working from home.
Benefits of a tiny home office
A tiny home office brings a world of advantages to your work and life:
1: A purpose-made work space
A tiny home office shaped around your work routine and the compact size encourage you to keep things tidy and organized, reducing clutter and creating a more productive workspace. This is crucial when working from home. You can also enjoy the perks of natural light and beautiful surroundings, fostering creativity and well-being.
2: No more tiresome commutes
This comes with working from home. You get to work from the cozy comfort of your own space, saving you both time and reducing your carbon footprint. We used to drive 1 hour to work every day. Now we use the time on things we love doing!
3: Reduce long-term cost
Building your tiny office will be an up-front investment, but over time you will spend less money on commuting, or even renting a work space.
Whether it's a peaceful backyard office, a mobile workspace, or a part of your tiny home, a tiny office lets you shape your work environment to suit your daily work life!
Tiny Office Options
There are 2 common tiny house office options to choose from. Each option is for a very specific lifestyle! A "Standalone Tiny Backyard Office" and a "Tiny Office as part of a tiny home".
Standalone Tiny Backyard Office
A purpose-built backyard office is great if you either don’t have enough space in your home or you want a distinct separation between work and leisure.
Usually, it just contains your work space and storage.
For added convenience, it can also house a small bathroom and kitchenette, especially if it is located further away from your home. There are two kinds of standalone tiny backyard offices.
Tiny Office On Wheels
This is a portable tiny home for your office space built on top of a tiny house trailer.
It allows you to easily position it on your site and you can reposition your office in a better location if you wish.
It’s great if you know you will move in the near future, or intend to sell the tiny office at some point.
Depending on your location and zoning rules, a portable office can require less or no planning with local councils especially if it does not have a bathroom, kitchen and sleeping area.
A small footprint will also reduce cost for the trailer as it will require smaller weight ratings and less axles.
Tiny Office on a Foundation
This is a permanent tiny home for your office space built on a foundation in your backyard.
Most of the time, this will require a permit with your local council. However, as it is built on your site, it has the potential to increase the value of your property.
Additionally, it might be easier to include permanent plumbing connections for a bathroom and kitchenette when applying for a permit.
A foundation can be concrete, piles, ground screws, or any other foundation common in your area and is mostly cheaper than a tiny house trailer.
Tiny Office As Part Of A Tiny Home
This is a dedicated office space to work from home in a tiny house you permanently live in, instead of building a separate structure as a backyard office for your regular home.
That's the kind of set up we have in our own tiny house!
The most important decision about your tiny house office is the type of space it will be.
If you work remotely from home, you'll be grateful for a space dedicated to your work. If you think an office would be beneficial but not essential, consider a smaller office that doesn't require a large amount of floor space.
Here are the best tiny house office design layouts:
Dedicated Office Room
A room separate from all other areas helps to have a more productive workday. It keeps your mind in one place and avoids distractions from others moving around the tiny house.
A dedicated downstairs office room keeps work seperate from your home-life, however, it will require a larger tiny house to accommodate the space.
A space-saving, dedicated office loft can have a similar effect as it is separated vertically from the rest of the tiny house. As you mostly sit during work, you don’t always need the full height of a downstairs office.
Our friends at Build Tiny have done an excellent job designing a space-saving office space in a tiny home loft!
Partially Open Office Space
A partially open tiny office space is an excellent option for those needing a proper workspace without dedicating an entire room. It helps avoid spaces from feeling small and take advantage of other rooms' natural light.
This is an ideal option if:
You live alone.
The majority of the household leaves during the day.
You're not worried about sound privacy or background distractions.
Consider using dividing walls, half walls, nooks under stairs, walkways, or bookcases to divide the spaces while allowing light through.
Dividers help keep your workspace out of sight from relaxing areas to unwind easily.
Office Built Into Cabinetry:
Built-in workspaces are great if you don’t want to commit to an entire room for a home office but still need a workspace.
Just like Partially Open Office Spaces, they work well if sound privacy isn't a problem, or noise-canceling headphones are enough to keep your mind in one place.
They can easily hide away when you are finished with work to separate work and life. Additionally, any clutter from work disappears behind the door!
Fold Away Office:
If the flexibility of having a workspace at home appeals to you, but you don't want to dedicate a permanent space, a Fold Away Office is a great option. Workspaces utilizing a folding desk or drop leaf desk are great for offering a suitable workspace when needed, without taking up floor space when not in use.
Temporary Office At Dining Table:
If you work best in open spaces and don't need a dedicated desk, double using your dining table as a desk throughout the day saves tons of space. Double using spaces like this help reduce the overall footprint of your tiny house.
No matter which option you choose for your tiny office, whether it’s a standalone tiny home office shed for your backyard, or a tiny house with an office built into the design, you also need to choose what features go INTO your office space!
Keep in mind how many people will use the space and if it supports everyone’s workflows.
If you're designing for more than one person, make sure that you’re allowing for more space to fit everyone.
Below, I have jotted down essential components to help you shape the best tiny house office design!
A permanently fixed or in-built desk will not move significantly and allows you to organize your office space easily by building storage into it. It's a permanent part of your tiny office, ensuring that your workspace is always ready for use and fits your interior style.
However, the downside is reduced flexibility in office layout changes. It's a great choice if you have a smaller dedicated office space with a fixed layout or integrate the desk directly into cabinetry like in our Marlo tiny house design.
A regular free-standing desk will be cheaper as you can buy them from furniture stores and they can be placed wherever you like.
However, it may consume more space in your tiny office as it’s not a pre-designed part of your tiny office, has less storage, and might not fit the style of the rest of your interior.
Free-standing desks are a better option for an open space office in a standalone backyard office, like our Office Cabin Hideaway design.
Adjustable Height Desk/Standing Desk:
Adjustable height desks offer the best of both worlds, allowing you to alternate between sitting and standing work. While they provide versatility, they tend to come with a higher price tag because of the motors, making them suitable for you if you will use your workspace on a day to day basis.
For example, this is an adjustable height desk from Oakywood.
A lap desk is great if you want to work from your couch. It can be set up when needed and stored away when you're finished. However, it might not be suitable for a full day of work and is best for occasional use!
Dining Table as a Desk:
By double using the dining table as a desk, you will be able to save significant space in your tiny house. However, it will force you to rearrange your workplace multiple times a day and only really suits a laptop.
Here's the kitchen servery of our Aalto tiny house design being double used as a temporary workspace.
A fold-down desk is a very space-saving solution, ideal for tiny offices with limited room. When not in use, it can be folded down, freeing up valuable space like in our own tiny house design.
However, a fold-down desk / drop-leaf desk will force you to rearrange your space regularly.
When building a fold-down desk, make sure to get heavy duty hinges that lock into place so the desk doesn’t wobble.
Desk chairs are designed for long periods of work, providing comfort and ergonomic support. They are ideal if you work from home full-time and you want to have a proper workstation. The downside is that they take up space, and can look odd when double used for a dining chair
We have ergonomic desk chairs that we also use as dining chairs which work great for both use cases and look great. 😀
Stools are space-saving and easy to store, making them suitable for tiny offices with limited room. However, they may not be the most comfortable option for extended work periods, so consider this if you need occasional seating and don’t work from home full time.
Here's our Cabin tiny house design with a temporary workspace and dinging table with stools.
In-built seating like bench seats are great to build storage into your seat!
However, they might not be comfortable for extended periods of sitting, or need significant cushioning to be comfortable.
In-Built Seaint works great if you are using the dining table as your occasional or secondary work space like in our Marlo tiny home design!
Purpose-built storage cabinets help keep your office organized, providing heaps of space for office supplies and sometimes other personal items. If you work from home full time, dedicate a full cabinet in your tiny house office for office supplies. You will need it.
They can integrate well with the rest of your tiny house cabinetry design like in our Marlo design!
In-desk storage, like a shallow desk drawer, is a great space-saving solution, maximizing your workspace's efficiency. It's perfect if you prefer to have your supplies and files within arm's reach like in the Office Cabin Hideaway design.
However, it has limited storage capacity, so consider this for essential items and have a back up storage space somewhere else.
Storage boxes are portable and can be easily moved, offering flexibility. They are great for those who like to reorganize their workspace frequently. However, they have limited capacity, so you may need more than one for different categories of items.
Here's some minimalist storage boxes as inspiration that I found on Pinterest!
Desktop computers or Macs give you a powerful workstation, great for demanding tasks, and even gaming! If you work from home full time, they are a great option.
However, they require a dedicated space and always need a separate monitor, mouse and keyboard, so they work best for permanent work from home in your tiny office.
We have two desktop PC’s with their dedicated spots in our tiny office and they provide most of the heating we need in the winter, so they are not good for a solar powered tiny house!
A monitor complements your desktop computer setup, and is again great for permanent work from home. Even in a tiny office, it’s worth investing into a bigger high-quality screen as you’ll be looking at it all day!
The downside is that it will take up permanent space and need a bit of power to run.
We double use one of our monitors as our TV in the evening for extra space and cost saving. 🙂
Laptops work well if you don’t work from home permanently or like working in a cafe sometimes, and take it to meetings.
If you work from home often, but want the flexibility, I recommend having a monitor with a mouse and keyboard you can plug in to your laptop to work efficiently when you’re in your tiny office.
Laptops usually have more limited processing power compared to desktops and you might need to spend a bit more to get a fast machine for the next few years!
An external keyboard will be more ergonomic and faster to use than a laptop keyboard, and is a must if you have a desktop PC or Mac.
Only get a keyboard if you have a dedicated office space in your tiny house.
We both have Keychron mechanical keyboards, and they just sound and feel so satisfying when typing! (Our cat agrees.)
A computer mouse will speed up your workflow significantly. It’s a must if you have a permanent work space in your tiny office and even if you use a Laptop every now and then it’s worth getting. The speed adds up over time!
Webcams are essential for virtual meetings and video calls.
If you regularly have virtual meetings in your tiny home office, think about creating a professional set up with nice lighting, and a pretty backdrop.
Add some plants and decorations in the background so you don’t have to blur your background all the time…
Here's some inspiration of a beautiful home office setup for your virtual meetings from Design Milk.
If you have a permanent workspace in your tiny house, think about a spot where you can charge your phone, and potentially leave it out of sight! This will keep you less distracted at work. 🙂
This desk shelf by Grovemade is a great example of efficient storage to store devices, or any other desk clutter!
Add a desk map for nice ambient lighting, and especially if you write or draw to light up your workspace directly.
Integrated lighting can add nice ambience to your workspace, like LED strip lighting integrated into your desk, shelves or ceiling like in our tiny house we live in.
Having windows close to your office space allows natural light to flow in, creating a more pleasant workspace that keeps you awake and improves your mood and productivity.
However, it's essential to position windows properly to avoid glare on your screens and maintain a comfortable work environment.
Place your windows to the side or behind your screen so you can also have a view while working. If you place a window behind you, it will add extra glare and force you to shut the blinds often.
We needed to place our windows across from each other for our design, so we end up using our blinds more often.
Windows provide fresh air circulation, enhancing the office's atmosphere and are essential for maintaining a comfortable and healthy workspace. Place two windows opposite each other to create a refreshing cross draft, which is super important in a tiny space!
Place a fan on your desk, or install it closeby on the ceiling if you live in a hot climate. They will help you move more air around especially if you work in a very small space or loft. (Large ceiling fans don’t work directly in lofts of course). Pick a quiet fan if you will use it a lot.
Adding an air conditioning unit is a must if you live in a harsher climate. It ensures a comfortable workspace year-round. However, it will increase energy consumption, and only work if you don’t rely on solar power.
Ensuring that you plan in enough power for your tiny office. If you work on a solar set up, consider working with battery operated devices like laptops, and don’t go for a power hungry PC and monitor.
The circuit that powers your plugs in your office should have a high enough AMP rating to run all devices at the same time without tripping your breakers.
Think about where your devices will be placed and have a permanent wall plug/socket nearby so you don’t have to run extension leads.
Nothing’s worse than cables everywhere!
Just like with power, you will use the internet most in your tiny home office workspace, so place the modem closeby that you can easily run a cable or have a great wifi connection.
If you will connect your tiny house office to the internet grid, plan ahead where the internet box will connect so you don’t have to cut a hole into the cladding and interior lining.
If you want to work from home from a remote location, check out Starlink as you’ll be able to get high-speed internet!
Last but not least, personalizing your workspace with decorative items like books, vases, pictures, and artifacts adds an aesthetic touch to your tiny office and will make it feel more relaxed and cozy!
It can make your workspace more enjoyable and reflective of your personality. However, don’t overdo it and clutter up your workspace completely. 🙂
We have a small open shelf with recessed lighting to show off some small cacti and books!
How To Make A Tiny House Office Space:
Now that you have learned about all the different tiny home office options, and the features you can include, it’s time to make your own tiny house office space!
Here are the best 3 steps to plan your tiny office:
Study your work routines & tasks
Before you jump into designing your tiny home office, it's essential to figure out the requirements of the office space. Your work routine will shape how your tiny home office will look like.
Whether your schedule runs from nine to five Monday to Friday, or you've got complete flexibility, this will impact your tiny house office design & layout.
To get started, understand what an average work day looks like for you!
To keep things simple, look back at your most recent work day, and record what you did.
For example, my last work day looked like this:
9:00am - 10:00am
10:00am - 10:30am
10:30am - 12:00pm
12:00pm - 01:00pm
01:00pm - 01:30pm
01:30pm - 03:00pm
03:00pm - 06:00pm
Prepare For Client Meetings
Blog Content Review
This tells me that I spend a lot of time writing blogs, and a significant time in client meetings. I also have some for a lunch break!
My office should have: A place to concentrate on blog writing to get into a flow state, a clean, professional set up for video calls, and a close by kitchen space to prepare lunch.
For a more accurate picture of your routine, I recommend using a time tracking tool for a whole week so you can understand your entire range of activities. I use Clockify to track my time!
For a more detailed explanation on how to design your tiny house or tiny office around your routine, here is our guide for Routine Centered Tiny House Design.
Get Tiny Office Inspiration
To design the best tiny house office, it’s a great idea to first find inspiration of how other people have designed tiny offices.
One of the best sources of inspiration is Pinterest. It allows you to quickly assemble a mood board and browse related designs. Here’s my Pinterest board for tiny house office inspiration.
To Create Your Tiny House Office Moodboard:
Create a Pinterest Board for Your Tiny Inspiration.
Browse for tiny house offices and find examples that appeal to you and that fit your work routine.
Refine your Pinterest board by removing any pins that won't make it into your design. You should be left with a total of 10-20 pins. (This will help clarify your ideas without getting overwhelmed by 100 different ideas. 😀)
This moodboard will serve as your own "Brief" to design your tiny house office!
Design a tiny house office around your routine
Now it’s time to put your preparation to work!
Get your inspiration ready, and start to come up with a rough concept for your tiny office.
To start designing. You need the right tools. I recommend using the 3D Tiny House Designer. It's the only tiny house design software made specifically for small spaces & tiny homes.
It’s super beginner friendly, and you can use the drag & drop tools to quickly come up with your ideas for your tiny office.
When you’re done designing, the 3D Tiny House Designer generates fully dimensioned PDF tiny house plans / blueprints for you with one click. 😀
Watch this video to show you how to create a tiny house design from a Pinterest board in the 3D Tiny House Designer.