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18 Small Guest Bedroom Office Combo Ideas (Designer’s Picks)

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  • This article was written by Lauren Copping – a professional interior designer – to ensure that the content is unique and factually accurate.

Turning your small guest bedroom into an office with a dual sleeping arrangement is a great way to maximize the functionality of the room.

However, cramming so much functionality into such a small space can be a challenge.

So how do you turn a small guest bedroom into an office effectively?

The most effective way to turn a small guest bedroom into a bedroom and office combo is to save space whilst separating the working and sleeping functionalities by using dividers, curtains, plants, staggered walls, nooks, and contrasting wall colors.

In the rest of this article, I have used my professional knowledge as an interior designer to give you 18 small guest room and office combo examples that you can copy and adapt.

If you strictly want to convert your guest room or a small bedroom into a home office purely for working – with limited or no sleeping functionality – then click the link below for a full walk-through guide.

Related: click here to find out how to convert a spare bedroom into a home office in 10 steps.

18 Small Guest Bedroom Office Combo Ideas

Here are 18 small guest bedroom and office combo ideas that you can copy or adapt as you see fit for your project:

1: Add a Bunk Bed With a Divided Workstation for Privacy

Small Guest Bedroom and Office Combo With Bunk Bed and Desk
Small Guest Bedroom and Office Combo With Bunk Bed and Desk (#1: archideaphoto – Envato)

I particularly like this bunk bed and workstation combination setup due to the visual barrier between the bed and the desk.

The modular wall pieces make this room flexible – providing privacy for each bed and the workspace.

In this setup, both areas can be used at the same time without disturbing each other.

Check out these space-saving Murphy/wall beds to use in your office.

How to Copy This Look:

To recreate this look, think about your dividers.

This setup is divided and framed by fabric-lined panels – or acoustic panels – that absorb noise in close proximity.

They create privacy for the sleeping spaces and also serve as a utility board for the workspace where you could pin up calendars, photos, or reminder lists.

When choosing your acoustic panels, make sure they correlate in color to the rest of the room.

I always suggest combining one neutral with a desaturated color and then creating interest by adding pops of vibrant color through accessories.

Try these 10 ideas for a toddler boy’s small bedroom.

2: Use Vintage Décor to Create a Multipurpose Retro Retreat

Retro Small Guest Room and Office Combo
Retro Small Guest Room and Office Combo (#2: Patrick Perkins – Unsplash)

Use 60s and 70s vintage furniture and décor to create a multipurpose retro retreat.

If your space is visually appealing, your guests will hardly notice that it also serves as an office.

In this space, style is everything.

Notice how the table and chairs are all similar in design, and the bedding references the color of the chair cushions.

Your guests can use this workspace corner for evening reading or morning coffee.

The bookshelf nearby can store your work supplies when the room is being used by guests.

Click here for 18 living room and small bedroom combo ideas.

How to Recreate This Look:

Retro furniture design gained its fame for a good reason: it’s just visually so nice to look at.

In fact, it has influenced the design industry in so many ways that we still see some of these traditional designs in modern furniture, even at IKEA.

Collect your own antique finds, or find re-makes through your local designer or online design sources.

Color coordinating any textiles is a must for this style.

Even if the room is lacking floor space, coordinated colors will ease the experience of the multipurpose room.

Follow these 7 steps to create a dark academia styled bedroom.

3: Use Curtains as Visual Dividers – Elegant and Private

Small Guest Room and Office Combo With Curtains
Small Guest Room and Office Combo With Curtains (#3: Hutomo Abrianto – Unsplash)

When you have a space with multiple functions, it’s best to differentiate these function zones from each other.

In the case of a guest room and office combination where space is limited, curtains are a great tool for this job.

In this example, curtains are hung all around the room, yet tied back to allow visual pass-through.

Even though the curtains aren’t blocking any visual pathways, they still infer the division of space by being anchored to a path on the ceiling.

How to Recreate This Look:

If your home office/guest space doesn’t have the floor space for more robust and obvious dividers, try mounting curtains to the ceiling for soft yet effective division of space.

I always recommend white or off-white curtains in a workspace, as they allow the most light into the room.

White, sheer material is also soothing to the mind in an environment and often relieves the space of any weight or distraction.

Place your curtain tracks or mounts in the corners of each functional space.

In this example, there are curtains surrounding the bed, and also curtains on the other side of the workspace.

Get inspired with these 22 very small attic bedroom design ideas.

4: Create a Room-Width Workstation to Maximize Space

Small Guest Room and Office Combo With Full Width Desk
Small Guest Room and Office Combo With Full Width Desk (#4: Andrew Neel – Unsplash)

Adding functionality to a small or combined space is often easier than you think with the help of a simple DIY project.

In this image, we see a wall-width shelf or work surface that isn’t intrusive in the room, and yet adds several square feet of functional table space.

Also, notice the placement of the wall-mounted surface: it sits on the wall adjacent to the large window, meaning that the daylight will be well dispersed on the surface without creating too much visual glare.

How to Recreate this Look:

In your chosen space, pick a working wall.

As mentioned above, this should be a wall that has adjacent daylight or has a partial section that is a solid wall.

A common design mistake is to place a workstation directly in front of a window.

This is a good short-term work area, but if you need to complete focus work, I always suggest having a portion of the work surface backed by a solid wall to prevent light distraction and squinting at your laptop screen.

Be sure to design your work surface to be at least 18 inches in depth for optimal workspace.

Check out these 10 ceiling design ideas for small bedrooms.

5: Use Window Sills to Frame Your Work Surface

Small Guest Room and Office Combo With Desk In Front of Window
Small Guest Room and Office Combo With Desk In Front of Window (#5: Aaditya Ailawadhi – Unsplash)

If you live in an overcast climate, putting your desk in front of the window might be a good solution for your space.

We do tend to be attracted to daylight while working.

North-facing windows (in the northern hemisphere) have low light exposure, meaning that the glare from this direction will be minimal.

In this example, the occupant is making use of the window sill as a bookshelf, and the outer edge of the set of windows as a frame for the desk.

How to Recreate This Look:

This clean, natural look can be easily replicated with white or off-white walls, warm wood flooring or a natural jute rug, and a warm, wood tone desk surface.

Center your desk between your north-facing or shaded windows.

If space allows, use the sills to neatly display books, photos, or work tools.

To add a glow behind the desk, stick adhesive, adjustable LED lights on the back of your monitor for a nice glow in the evening.

Try these 7 ways to warm up your north-facing bedroom.

6: Use Greenery to Enclose Your Workspace

Small Office and Guest Room Combo With Plant Dividers
Small Office and Guest Room Combo With Plant Dividers (#6: Andreas Dress – Unsplash)

Go green with your space dividers!

Plants are a great addition to any space, but they’re even better if they serve the direct functions of the room.

This is a small workspace tucked into the corner of a room, and lightly hidden by a variety of plants.

The natural wood desk and warm-colored chair and desk pad allow it to blend in amongst the greenery surrounding it.

There is also subtle daylight coming in at an angle to the screen, preventing glare.

How to Recreate This Look:

I always advise the use of plants in a space because of their countless mental health benefits, but the most important piece of advice is to do the research on which plants will be best suited to your space.

Reach out to your local plant specialist about your goals, and explain the lighting levels and window placement in your room.

If lighting isn’t optimal for tall plants which will act as dividers, consider some sustainably made faux plants that will serve the purpose just the same.

Try these 20 African bedroom decor ideas for a bold look.

7: Mix Stylish Wood Furniture and Black-Framed Art

Small Office and Guest Room Combo With Wood Furniture
Small Office and Guest Room Combo With Wood Furniture (#7: Spacejoy – Unsplash)

Working additional functions into small spaces isn’t always easy, as the room can feel crowded very quickly when you start to add furniture.

In this space, the occupant has dedicated one corner of the room as a workstation.

This works well here because of the balance of wood tones with the dark wall frames that anchor the space, and the greenery incorporated for visual comfort.

How to recreate this look:

In your chosen corner, place furniture pieces with a very similar, light wood tone.

For a space like this, I recommend a desk, an ergonomic chair, and a storage piece.

The furniture should sit well against the off-white walls.

Anchor the corner by including a series of framed art pieces that will lightly fill the corner’s adjacent walls.

This will bring the focus of your eyes towards the desk when using the room as an office.

These 6 colors go well with dark wood bedroom furniture.

8: Oppose the Bed and Desk to Keep Work Off Your Mind at Night

Small Guest Room and Office Combo With Opposing Bed and Desk
Small Guest Room and Office Combo With Opposing Bed and Desk (#8: dit26978 – Envato)

The placement of a desk behind the bed is an extremely effective layout if your space allows for it.

As you can see, the desk is not in the line of vision from the bed, meaning that when you are resting, your work surface is out of sight and out of mind.

From the workstation, the view of the bed is visually disrupted by the edge of the headboard.

This placement allows both functions to be mentally independent despite being physically connected.

How to recreate this look:

If you have the resources to do so, consider building a custom bed frame that also serves as a desk.

Get creative with built-in storage and lighting, and think about how you could use the space for both functions.

Alternatively, you can purchase a bed frame with a tall headboard that stands above the height of a desk’s surface.

The taller the more effective, in my opinion.

Your desk choice should work for you – if your headboard is tall enough, give thought to a sit-stand desk if this space will be heavily used as an office.

Click here to see the top 10 best headboards to buy online now.

9: Incorporate Your Desk and Wall Storage to Save Space

Small Guest Room and Office Combo With Storage Desk
Small Guest Room and Office Combo With Storage Desk (#9: Kelina Cyril – Unsplash)

Though it’s not common practice these days, furniture designed as part of the architecture is timeless, highly functional, and often a great way to create a calming environment.

This is a perfect example of a setup that can be applied to almost any room in the house, especially a guest room.

This workspace application takes up minimal space, yet provides more than enough storage for the typical home office.

This application often leaves plenty of floor space for a set of bedroom furniture.

How to Recreate This Look:

These applications are modular, meaning that they are completely customizable to fit your specific needs.

Companies like IKEA have modular systems for designing storage walls and workspaces just like this, and designers (like me!) specialize in laying these out in a functional and beautiful way.

I would advise considering the layout of the furniture in the rest of the space: how do you move through it?

Incorporate your work surface into the storage wall section closest to the largest open floor space.

For example, in the image above, the designer placed the desk in the middle so as not to be disturbed by the sofa to the side of the room.

These 10 colors go with black bedroom furniture.

10: Create a Cozy Work Area by Placing Your Desk Near a Skylight

Small Guest Room and Office Combo With Skylight
Small Guest Room and Office Combo With Skylight (#10: Lasse Jensen – Unsplash)

Skylights are beautiful features that provide an opportunity for a very special focus space.

Consider the image above; if the skylight weren’t present, this corner would feel very closed and compact.

Because of the natural light’s glow on this little work corner, it has turned into a pleasant, bright, yet cozy workstation.

How to Recreate This Look:

If your space has a skylight, find a workspace layout that works best for its position.

I also advise my clients with skylights to install a sheer shade over the window to block glare and allow the daylight to glow through.

Make sure to add a plant or two to really feel like you’re working outside in the treetops.

These 10 colors go perfectly with gray bedroom furniture.

11: Use Staggered Walls to Separate Work and Relaxation Spaces

(#11: bialasiewicz – Envato)

Spaces with nooks or corners offer endless opportunities for a functional layout, especially in situations where you’re combining functions in a room.

I like this design specifically because there is a clear separation of space communicated by the contrasting dark and light colors on the walls.

By painting the office nook walls white, and the bedroom/living area dark, the eye extends the room and perceives it to be more spacious than it is – despite the dark foreground wall.

This layout is also beneficial for visually compartmentalizing a room.

How to Recreate This Look:

If you’re fortunate enough to have a large nook or corner in your guest room (this can apply to basement guest suites, too), imagine your work setup in the nook.

Define this space with wall fittings such as a pinboard or artwork, and paint this wall a bright off-white.

For your guest space, paint the walls a darker color that will hug the space and add comfort.

Ground this area with an area rug, and accent with hints of the dark wall color. 

This is how you get away with painting a small bedroom a dark color.

12: Create a Sleeping Nook for Privacy

Small Guest Room and Office Combo With Sleeping Nook
Small Guest Room and Office Combo With Sleeping Nook (#12: bialasiewicz – Envato)

If generous space isn’t available, there are still ways to divide a small guest room or basement suite while maximizing visual space.

In this example, a storage wall is installed between the entryway and the sleeping area to create a bed nook.

Sleeping nooks are often helpful for sleep quality, and also serve as a great opportunity for creativity in design and wall colors or coverings.

The nook application is a great solution for a hybrid space with an office, because it hides the bed from view from three sides, allowing the office to be the focal point in the space.

How to Recreate This Look:

This look is clean and clear in its intention.

I’m not usually a fan of all-white spaces, but I really enjoy the balance of black and white in this room.

In terms of spatial planning, find your storage system for your dividing wall, making sure its dimensions fit well for your space.

The unit should run the length of your bed at the very least.

Accessorize with black accents and lighting fixtures, and add a thin line of black tape about 40 to 42 inches high on the wall.

This division line scales the white room and makes it more pleasing to the senses.

Here are 20 designs that make your small bedroom feel more relaxing.

13. Use Different Wall Colors to Visually Separate the Spaces

Guest Room and Office Combo With Contrasting Wall Colors
Guest Room and Office Combo With Contrasting Wall Colors (#13: bialasiewicz – Envato)

Sometimes compartmentalizing spaces only takes a simple differentiation in wall color.

In this bedroom and office combo, the occupant is likely to feel more at ease and relaxed when sitting in the area painted white.

It reflects more light and allows the soft color palette to come through.

In the dark space – the office – the eyes will be drawn to the computer screen as it’s brighter than the backdrop.

I would even argue that a dark backdrop to a computer screen is easier on your eyes because it dulls the reflection of the natural light. 

How to Recreate This Look:

If you are placing your desk and bed next to each other, map out the practical space needed for each setting on your wall.

I would advise painting the sleeping section a lighter color for the reasons listed above.

In the case that this is a combined space for non-computer work, you could flip the paint application to make the sleeping area dark, and the work area light.

Think about where you want the most light to reflect during the day, and that is where you should paint your white/off-white walls.

Try these 8 ideas for decorating the wall opposite your bed.

14: Use Floor-to-Ceiling Dividers to Differentiate Between Spaces

Small Guest Room and Office Combo With Floor to Ceiling Divider
Small Guest Room and Office Combo With Floor to Ceiling Divider (#14: bialasiewicz – Envato)

Ceiling-mounted space dividers, even transparent like this one, are minimal in their spatial footprint, and extremely effective for visually dividing spaces.

This sleeping space is sectioned off by the black-framed window sliders, layered with a sheer curtain for added privacy inside.

While sitting at a desk just adjacent to the plant on the right, your visual access to the bedroom is completely interrupted by the divider and curtain.

How to Recreate This Look:

In your guest room, choose the farthest wall from the entrance to place your bed against, then mount your dividing wall and supplementary sheer curtain to the ceiling.

Be sure to measure out the room for movement around the bed if space allows.

Place the workspace on the adjacent wall, perpendicular to the divider, and create additional division by adding a large, leafy plant.

Try these 12 ways to make your bedroom look indie.

15: Create an Artistic Feature Wall to Draw the Eye

Small Guest Room and Office Combo With Feature Wall
Small Guest Room and Office Combo With Feature Wall (#15: bialasiewicz – Envato)

This setup serves as an accent wall that holds the visual focus of the room while allowing the functional focus to be the bedroom area.

Notice that the rectangular shape of the bookshelves ties in with the frames on the wall, and the only organic shapes found are in the leaves of the plants scattered throughout.

This structured theme makes the accent wall a visual centerpiece.

How to Recreate This Look:

If you want the guest room to be the primary function of the space, then consider this option: find modular shelving to fit your space, then accent and surround it with a collage of framed art.

Keeping the walls light in color will allow this setup to stand out.

Balance the look with long sheer window treatments, and potted plants for greenery.

These are the 7 best and worst places to put bedroom shelves.

16: Use Bold Furniture to Create a Statement

Small Guest Room and Office Combo With Bold Furniture
Small Guest Room and Office Combo With Bold Furniture (#16: bialasiewicz – Envato)

There are several sure ways to make a statement in an office space – a bold layout and eccentric furniture are two reliable methods.

In this scene you see the desk placed at an angle, making it a centerpiece in the room.

The chair is bold in color and design, which creates a captivating focal point in this setting.

This would pair well with a minimal bed frame and neutral-colored bedding.

How to Recreate This Look:

Choose a corner in which to place your workspace, and pull your desk slightly away from the wall and place it at an angle.

Find a chair bold in design and color – a piece that you normally wouldn’t picture in your home.

You’ll feel more drawn to the workspace when you see something that breaks up the visual cohesion in the rest of the space.

This is how you decorate a bedroom for a married couple in 5 steps.

17: Use a Cluster of Pendant Lights for Artful Lighting

Small Guest Room and Office With Pendant Lights
Small Guest Room and Office With Pendant Lights (#17: bialasiewicz – Envato)

In this space, the designer has chosen lighting and art as vertical elements to differentiate between the functions in the room.

Notice that a bold piece of art is placed against the white wall just above the bed, defining the sleeping space.

The staggered lighting above the desk defines this space, while also serving as functional task lighting.

How to Recreate This Look:

If you have a space where your desk and bed need to be placed against the same wall, this might be an effective solution for you.

Choose three lighting pendants similar in diameter, and mount them in a staggered formation above your workspace.

Make sure to place them close enough to the wall so that they don’t cast too many shadows over your workspace from your hands or other equipment.

Here are 8 ways to decorate a small bedroom with a high ceiling.

18: Tuck the Workspace into a Window Nook to Channel Focus

Small Guest Room and Office With Window Nook
Small Guest Room and Office With Window Nook (#18: halfpoint – Envato)

This is such a creative use of space for this unique window nook.

This setup can work well with any dormer windows or loft spaces with walls around the window access.

In this specific room, they have also built a seat against the adjacent windows, which adds a functional element while also increasing privacy for the workspace.

How to Recreate This Look:

In your small window nook, mount a work surface facing the largest window pane.

If you have enough circulation space and chair space in this corner, add additional privacy by incorporating a window seat like above, or a storage unit that adds a bit of privacy for the workspace.

Maximize daylighting by keeping window treatments minimal.

I usually suggest that clients use vertical pull shades for large windows like this.

Try these cute 31 college dorm room decor ideas for girls.

Conclusion: Separate the Spaces Visually

To create the best experience in a hybrid space, such as a guest room/office, you want to create visual differentiation between functions.

When this is achieved, occupants of the space are able to focus only on the spatial function that they need at that moment.

The best way to do this is with a color change or a physical barrier between spaces

Up next: this is the best natural mattress to use in your guest room.


Image Attribution and Licensing

Main image: ‘White wall bedroom and home office with poster’ by ismagilov (Getty Images) – used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement.

Image #1: ‘Teen room with bunk bed’ by archideaphoto (Licensed via Envato Elements)

Image #2: ‘Working from home’ by Patrick Perkins (Licensed via Unsplash)

Image #3: ‘Working space’ by Hutomo Abrianto (Licensed via Unsplash)

Image #4: Untitled by Andrew Neel (Licensed via Unsplash)

Image #5: ‘Apple Pro Display XDR Workspace’ by Aaditya Ailawadhi (Licensed via Unsplash)

Image #6: Untitled by Andreas Dress (Licensed via Unsplash)

Image #7: Untitled by Spacejoy (Licensed via Unsplash)

Image #8: ‘3d rendering interior and exterior design’ by dit26978 (Licensed via Envato Elements)

Image #9: Untitled by Kelina Cyril (Licensed via Unsplash)

Image #10: ‘Workstation’ by Lasse Jensen (Licensed via Unsplash)

Image #11: ‘Trendy workspace with two chairs’ by bialasiewicz (Licensed via Envato Elements)

Image #12: ‘Black and white open space’ by bialasiewicz (Licensed via Envato Elements)

Image #13: ‘Office with bedroom’ by bialasiewicz (Licensed via Envato Elements)

Image #14: ‘Back pouf next to bedside table with lamp in elegant bedroom interior’ by bialasiewicz (Licensed via Envato Elements)

Image #15: ‘Freelancer woman in home office’ by bialasiewicz (Licensed via Envato Elements)

Image #16: ‘Home office with brick wall’ by bialasiewicz (Licensed via Envato Elements)

Image #17: ‘Workspace in bright bedroom’ by bialasiewicz (Licensed via Envato Elements)

Image #18: ‘Portrait of happy teenage girl student sitting indoors in bedroom at home, using smarpthone’ by halfpoint (Licensed via Envato Elements).

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