We have an awkward corner in our kitchen, right near our table and next to the back door. It had been occupied by a pie safe since we moved in 9 years ago. It started out as a great location to store our large serving dishes we used when entertaining, which we loved to do. Once Mischief was born and the serving dishes started gathering dust, they were banished to the basement. The pie safe was repurposed to become a home for her art supplies. Over the years, her love of art grew, and along with it the volume of art supplies. Once we added Mayhem to the mix, we needed a better space for their messy projects than the kitchen table. Last Christmas, our gift to the girls was turning our den into an art room. This got the art projects off the kitchen table, and retired the pie safe from art supply duty. Instead of just filling the pie safe back up with something else, I took the opportunity to re-imagine our awkward corner into a space more suited to our family’s current need…what I jokingly call the “corner office”. It’s certainly not the gleaming, spacious corporate version of the corner office, but I love it just the same. I use it daily, and no longer procrastinate the bill-paying and email-checking tasks I used to dread when our computer and office supplies were isolated from the family hub in our upstairs guest room.
This is an old project, so sadly I don’t have any great before shots for you of the jumbled mess of art supplies spilling out of its shelves 🙁 I did, however, manage to find a few of the work-in-progress photos to show you how this all came together.
Find a desk surface to fit the dimensions of our corner. In addition to measuring your space available, think about how you plan to use your space before developing your list of requirements for a desk. To give you an idea of what to consider, here were the ones I developed:
- At least 17″ deep, to accommodate an existing printer, but no deeper than 20″
- Tall enough to tuck a chair or stool under, to keep the path to the back door clear when not in use
- Long enough to fit our computer, printer, and dog treat container, but no longer than the available 59″
- Made of materials and a finish to compliment our existing decor, since this can be seen from the entry way and kitchen.
We opted to splurge on the console desk for this project, making it our Christmas gifts to one another. I'm sure furniture wasn't at the top of his list, but The Hubs was a good sport about it. I took the center leaf of our kitchen table to a local furniture maker, and worked with them to create something for my exact dimensions that mimicked the style of our table. We opted for a simple console table to give us the most flexibility. If down the road we move, or our needs change, this console desk can easily be used as a side board or as a hallway console table. There are lots of stylish and affordable options out there, though, so don't feel like you need to go the custom route.
Hide those ugly cords. Since we didn't opt for a traditional desk, the mess of cords was rather unsightly. I ended up mounting the surge protector and a wire basket to the underside of the console desk. That got the cords out of the way and got our external storage drive off the desktop, freeing up valuable real estate. If you want all the details, check out my Corral those Computer Cords post.
Use the wall to make the most of your available space. Mount a 2 month calendar solution, a la Pottery Barn's Daily System. My version is made using calendar print outs, an IKEA picture rail and frames for a fraction of the cost of the inspiration version. I added to that a couple matching frames to gain a cord board and message board. I also included a mail cubby and containers for pens, pencils, scissors, dry erase markers, and eraser. Again, all the details (and a free printable of the calendar) are here in my DIY Daily System post.
Add additional storage (unless of course your desk included what you need). I found a set of drawers at Pier 1 that fit perfectly under my desk, and still left plenty of room for a seat. I added a wire file organizer to the bottom drawer to create a small file drawer for important papers. The wicker drawers don’t open and close very smoothly, but since this isn’t my work desk and I wasn’t going to be opening them constantly, I prioritized form over function in this case. For the upper drawers, I repeated a project shared by one of my favorite organizing bloggers, Jen, over on her blog iHeartOrganizing. I held back some cardboard boxes from the recycle bin, cut them down to drawer height, and added some contact paper I had on hand to create a custom (and FREE!!) drawer organizer. There is a great tutorial on her site, you can check out here.
Add a great seat, plop down, and enjoy your new highly organized, highly functional "corner office". I am currently obsessed with the whole vintage industrial look, and took the opportunity to sneak some into our home. I also decided rather than a chair with a back, a stool would be the best option for tucking out of the way and under the desk. There are several similar stools at popular retailers. After checking them all out, I landed on the one from World Market. It had high-quality, sturdy construction at a price I thought was fair.
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