A miniature office (just 52-square feet!) with maximalist style

A lesson in tasteful, personality-packed design.

How To Style a Small Office

When Ariene Bethe was opening a brick-and-mortar version of Dressing Rooms Interiors Studio, in Charlotte, North Carolina, she wanted people to feel like they were shopping her home. The Mid-Century house is chock full of finds that reflect her colorful global eclectic vibe. When she outfitting the space, she had no idea one of the most enviable spots would be its smallest—her 51.97 square foot office. 

The micro space is swathed in our rich Deep Dive and complemented by tones of brass, coral, and crisp black and white. If you’re looking for small office ideas, take note. The effect is major considering how minor the room is. The office is so small that the real estate agents didn’t even acknowledge its existence. 

Ariene was familiar with the space, but hadn’t set foot inside in eight years. The listing photos ignored the mini-space, so she had planned to utilize a larger room as her office. But once she walked in and saw the tiny room, her plans changed. 

“When I saw that space I thought, ‘Oh gosh this is going to be my office, isn’t it?’’ she laughed.

Styling A Small Office

For small office ideas, start with color

For Ariene picking paint is the first step in the interior design process. 

“Some designers will say, oh pick your pieces first and then pick the paint,” Ariene says. “I always pick the paint first because I think it sets the tone and the mood for the room. I ask my clients. ‘How do you want the room to feel?’ Then we choose a color the conveys that feeling.”

Yet, Ariene had found herself stuck on the color for this room. She had breezed through choosing colors for the rest of the space, but when it came to her own small office decor she struggled with making a selection.

“I knew I wanted a darker color a jewel tone to create a really elevated space,” Ariene says. “Clare’s curated colors made it easy. It took me three seconds to scroll and see Deep Dive, and I knew it would work.”


Styling A Small OfficeThe perfect palette for small office decor

“My style is global and eclectic,” Ariene explains. “ I like pattern and color and texture.”

That means that even though many would have looked at small office decorating ideas and gravitated towards keeping it light, Ariene didn’t think twice about not painting the room white.

“Oh god no,” Ariene says. “I never thought about painting it white. I feel like color brings out the character in the pieces. It just warms everything up. It warms the space up. It’s not that I don't like white. There are just so many other colors in the world. A little color brings a space to life and creates a mood and a feeling. The biggest way to do that is with paint on the wall.”


Styling a Small OfficeAlways consider scale when decorating small spaces

To keep the small office decor serene, Ariene chose to add in less pieces that offered larger impact. She opted for a miniature desk from IKEA that managed to offer a narrow footprint while still providing storage. Her Chinoiserie chair was plucked from home. To balance the off-center window, she added gold frames that give the small office an air of Hollywood Regency. The bold coral mirror is a nod to her love of playing with scale.


Styling a Small Office“I find myself gravitating towards the office,” Ariene says. “My first real week in the shop I found myself back there more than I anticipated. I had set myself up a place in the front of the shop, and I thought I would normally sit there, but I’m always in my office. I leave the door open and customers love to come back there and see it.”

The best part is that this won’t be the only Deep Dive you’ll see in a design project by Arlene.

“I have a lot leftover so I’ll definitely use it for something else”” Ariene says.

Stay tuned for her next project.


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