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Living room wall transformed into a clever home office space

At first glance it looks like an elegant bookshelf in the living room. However, once the functional and stylish sliding doors are pulled open, they reveal a practical home office. Read how Elfa transformed minimal space into a complete work area for the Ling family.

By: Charlotta Flinkenberg  Photo: Nina Karlsson

The Ling family’s house from outside.

One upshot of the pandemic has been the opportunity for many people to work from home. And now, after the pandemic, there are advantages to having a well-organised, practical workspace in the home – even if space is limited. About a year ago, the Ling family decided they needed a home office.

– “We had started spending more time working remotely in our previous home, so we already had some experience of it. Then when we moved a few months ago, we knew that we’d need an office set-up in our new home,” says Malin Ling.

Malin in front of a computer at the kitchen table with one of her sons in the background.

However, the problem was a lack of space. They quickly realised that temporary workstations with laptops and papers scattered across the kitchen table or on the sofa were both impractical and untidy.

– When I spotted Elfa’s announcement on Instagram that they were looking for families in need of a home office, I thought “Yes, that’s something for us!”.

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Ultimately, the family recorded a video showing what their house looked like and explained their wishes.

The challenge for Elfa was to create a space where the adults could work and the children could do their craft activities. We didn’t want it to look messy either. It was important that the space could be concealed in a simple way.

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The family was selected for a makeover and the Elfa team set to work. One of the living room walls was chosen as a suitable place for the project. It is a rather long and narrow area that you might not normally associate with a home office. A lot of people think that a separate room is necessary for a home office. But not all homes have that extra room, but thanks to Elfa’s flexible storage systems, it is possible to find alternative solutions. 

Christine Dalman puts melamine shelves on the hang standards to create the family’s home office.

– The aim was to create an all-in-one home office and integrated storage. We needed to use some of the wall space in the living room for storing other things than typical office items. As these were more decorative things that are pleasing to the eye, the Elfa team decided to place them on the top shelves.

The Ling family’s living room with its sofa, after the home office was installed.
The Ling family’s living room with its sofa, before the home office was installed.

Swipe across to see before and after

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The sliding doors have semi-transparent sections, covered at the bottom and with transparent windows at the top, making them ideal for this purpose. When you don’t want the office area to be visible, you simply slide the doors shut.

– A combination of aesthetics and practical functionality is important for us. Since this is our living room, we wanted to achieve an aesthetically pleasing look without the office area staring us in the face when we’re relaxing on the sofa. The lighting in the ceiling track and behind the actual sliding doors creates an attractive and very elegant effect in the evening. 


Office chair and shelf system with melamine shelves full of books, box files, ornaments, a lamp and a computer screen.

What do you think of the results?

– Amazing! It’s great that we can close the doors on the office at the end of the day without first having to tidy away all the papers and binders. It feels like you go to the office but you are at home. It is so nice to have a dedicated workstation, especially when two of you are working from home. We are particularly pleased that the space is so flexible and dynamic. The light and air immediately flood in when you slide open the doors.

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Children’s activity corner with shelves full of files, boxes and ornaments, plus a storing board with pens and play stuff.

What do the children think?

– They love sitting alongside us, busy with drawing and other activities. They keep their bits and pieces in boxes and pencil holders that they hook on the storage board on their wall. And they can pop other small items on the shelf above the wall board. When my husband and I are sitting at opposite ends of our office, we can talk and enjoy each other’s company even though we’re busy doing our own things. It has also become a popular place to play hide and seek!

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What tips do you have for others who are considering setting up a home office?

You don’t need to have a separate room to work in. Make maximum use of longer walls in one of the rooms to create your workspace. We like being able to spread out over a long surface. Our home office is 3.5 metres long. Leave a bit of space rather than having storage down to the floor. This creates an airy feel and makes cleaning easier. Use the wall area up to the ceiling for even more storage opportunities. An attractive sliding door and good lighting add the finishing touch. This smart, functional home office has really brought the space together.

The Ling family - mum Malin, dad Ola and sons Ebbe and Nils - outside their house.

This is where we live

Malin Ling, 42, Sales Executive in the logistics industry, with her husband Ola, 45, Chief Analyst in the IT sector, and two children Ebbe 9 and Nils 7. The family lives in a house in Värmdö, on the outskirts of Stockholm.

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