How to Maximize Small Office Spaces

two women working in a common area in a small office space

It’s no secret that most start-ups start out in teeny, tiny office spaces. Even technology powerhouse Apple started in a humble garage in the California suburbs.

But while some small businesses struggle in small spaces, others are able to make the most of the space and thrive.

If you’re an entrepreneur looking to launch a business and you have limited space to make it happen, don’t fret! There are dozens of strategies you can put into place to make sure that you’re utilizing the space you do have to its maximum capacity.

How to Make the Most of a Small Office Space

If you have a limited budget to work with when it comes to renting office space, or you feel your business is outgrowing the space you’re currently in but you’re not quite ready to size-up, you’ll want to read on.

Here, we’ll delve into a few strategies and tactics you can use to maximize your space – even when you feel like you don’t quite have as much as you need.

1. Make Common Areas Functional

If your space is made up of small offices, or if it’s an open office space featuring lots of cubicles, things can start to feel very crowded very quickly. Sometimes there’s no way around it – people need individual spaces to work. But when possible, it’s a good idea to make the common spaces in your office as functional and versatile as possible.

Conference rooms and common spaces should be set up so they can be used as workspaces when people need a change of scenery from their cramped quarters. Ensuring that shared spaces are strategically laid out can help you to make the most of the space and give employees room to stretch, both physically and creatively, making the small area seem more spacious.  

2. Get Rid of Things You Don’t Want or Use

As with any small space, clearing clutter from a small workspace can make a huge difference. Go through the space thoroughly, clearing out everything that you don’t use and no longer want. If there’s something lying around that hasn’t been used in the last year or two, get rid of it!

Donate what you can, recycle what can’t be donated, and toss the rest. Weeding out all the items that are stored but no longer useful can be a big eye opener, and can help to reveal extra space you didn’t know you had that can be used more productively!

3. Go Paperless

Believe it or not, paper actually takes up a whole lot of space. While it’s good to have physical copies of certain important documents and business contracts, you can save a lot of space – and a lot of filing headaches – if you make an effort to go paperless!

There are a handful of software programs that make creating contracts and getting them signed digitally by the appropriate parties a breeze. And once you have a digital filing and storage system in place, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to stay organized and to locate things when you need them! Plus, you’ll be able to get rid of those bulky filing cabinets and create extra space for employees to utilize.

4. Buy Small Scale Furniture

Don’t be in denial of the fact that you have a small space to work with. Instead, embrace the space and buy furniture that’s size-appropriate.

Large, bulky furniture can make a small office space feel even smaller. With that in mind, forgo the hefty traditional desks and stocky filing cabinets and opt for smaller scale furniture with more open silhouettes. Investing in new furniture can often help you make the most of your space you are in, at least for a while longer. It can be a cheaper and more feasible alternative to finding a larger (likely more expensive) space and relocating your business.

Thinking of buying used furniture to save money? Check out our blog about used office equipment for key things to consider. 

5. Embrace Natural Light

Have you ever worked in a workspace that had no windows? It probably felt pretty small. That’s because natural light works wonders when it comes to making spaces feel more spacious. Without it, small spaces can easily feel extra claustrophobic.

With that in mind, try to embrace whatever natural light is making its way into your office space. Large windows are helpful, but make sure your window treatments aren’t blocking much of the light. Try to keep blinds and curtains open as much as possible, adjusting them as necessary when glare and sun beams interfere with work. Making the most of the windows throughout the space can help to make even tiny spaces feel bigger, so it’s a helpful tip for organizations in small spaces to keep in mind.  

6. Stay Organized

This tip may seem like a no brainer, but it’s worth noting because it can be so impactful. Keeping your office space organized can make a huge difference when it comes to maximizing the space you have.

Staying on top of shredding old documents (if you haven’t gone paperless yet), getting rid of excess materials and furnishings, and even requiring employees to keep their individual workspaces well organized can make a big difference when it comes to making a cramped office space feel more comfortable.

7. Decorate Strategically

Just like with home decor, some strategic decorating can go a long way in an office. If you’re stuck in a small space, there are a few decorative choices you can make to help the office feel more spacious.

Wall to wall flooring can make even the smallest spaces appear larger. Mirrors can be decorative but also functional, and can serve to expand a space’s appearance as well. As mentioned previously, strategically selecting appropriately sized furniture can help you to ensure that a small space doesn’t feel overly cramped. Choosing your lighting and window coverings carefully can help you to make sure that your space is optimally lit.

Color is also an important choice when it comes to decorating a small office space. Need some help deciding the best color for your office? Be sure to check out our blog about office paint colors and their impact for helpful insight.

If you have a limited budget and want to make the most of it when it comes to upgrading a small office space, it might be worth it to meet with an interior designer who can help you outfit your office appropriately.   

Use These Practical Strategies to Maximize Your Small Workspace!

Don’t let the square footage be the only thing that defines your workplace. With these tips, you can transform your office into a space that feels much larger and more spacious than you ever thought it could.

Looking for office space near Boston where you can put some of these strategies to work? Be sure to check out the Lakeside Park! With affordable office spaces as small as 300 square feet and $16* per square foot for modified gross lease (including utility costs), office suites at The Lakeside Park are an affordable option for any business looking to establish a location in the Boston MA area.

And, with pricing this reasonable, you may be able to afford more space than you had originally anticipated for your organization! Interested in learning more? Contact us today! 

Looking for other ways to spruce up your current office space? Here are some more great tips for getting started and making the most of the space you have:

8 Ways to Make Your Workspace Healthier – Tips for upping the health factor in your workplace, whether you work in a huge office or you’re stuck in a cubicle.

Tips for Improving Your Office Environment – Easy ways to improve your overall office atmosphere.

6 Tips for Making Your Workplace Dog Friendly – Adding pups to the office is one of the best ways to improve it. Here are 6 tips for the pet-friendly transition.

*$13.50 per square foot base lease plus $2.50 per square foot for utility surcharge = $16.00 per square foot total

Editor’s Note: This content was originally published in July 2018, but has been updated as of October 2020.