We recently completed a small home office desk makeover. And are more than pleased with the outcome considering it cost less than $100.
In our previous homes, we had a dedicated room as a study. We never had an issue with space and could close the door if it all got too messy! In this build (6 years ago) we aimed to downsize and live in a more modest home. So we forgo the stand-alone study and ended up creating a nook. While it was a great compromise, it is a little tight at times.
Space had always been an issue along with the fact that we used leftover Ikea Kitchen cabinets as a base. This caused problems with the finished height of the bench. I had to get a drafting chair to be high enough but then my feet dangled uncomfortable underneath. So while it was a thrifty way to create a space, it was never 100% functional.
Fast forward to 2021 with our daughter now 10 and wanting her own computer to play games on. And she is an avid lover of Canva and creating designs. But I was hesitant to put one in her room. I felt that was just asking for trouble down the track. Also, I am not the best computer sharer! So time to update our little study nook and make it work more for our family.
The goal was to make space for two desktop computers. Along with lowering the desktop and making the whole area more streamlined and neat.
This printable is a great tool to use when starting a project and brainstorming. It helps make a clear plan for what you are trying to achieve. Also, sketch out a vision of what you are wanting to create. Here is a quick Tiktok of me working on the design.
I started by roughly drawing the current set up. Then what needed to change and sketch out the final look I was going for.
Then I jot down the actual steps that needed to be done. This along with my colour choices and the items I needed to purchase.
What did we do?
First I did a cleanout of the draws and got rid of a lot of stuff I no longer needed. Why are there always a thousand cables that you have no idea what they go with? Losing quite a few draws in order to get leg space for an additional computer, I had to be ruthless. Not keep anything I was not using on a regular basis. I also had to be smart about storage. Mindful that I wanted it to look as aesthetically pleasing as I could as I did have glass doors to consider.
Side note: I don’t recommend glass doors in a study. It is hard to keep it looking pretty. If things don’t match or clash it can make the area look a lot messier than it actually is. Also not a fan of open storage as a similar problem. Or you have to keep things in boxes which makes access very hard on a daily basis.
Lucky for me, my hubby is a great builder and knows how to weld. We decided to create a purpose-built cabinet for the computer towers and printer to sit in. This was a simple design. Some mesh sides for air ventilation for the towers – this is extremely important. Adding a pull-out draw for the printer so I can access the scanner on top.
He welded it together and gave it a quick spray of matt black paint. He made the cabinet using our own required measurements. Ensuring to allow for the towers and printer to fit under the new bench height. And he allowed extra space all around in case we ever have to replace the equipment with larger items. (Sadly I forgot to take a good photo of this – sorry)
Then onto removing benchtop and Ikea cabinets. Which was very easy as the benchtop was just sitting on the cabinets. And cabinets were only fastened to the wall in a few spots.
We quickly sanded the top. It has a lot of pen marks, courtesy of our daughter and a black marker. Then reinstalled it at the correct desk height (thanks google). Using some timber to sit and attach the benchtop to. A coat of oil to protect it, although the oil was 6 years old and dubious of its quality. We also patched and painted the back wall.
Then it was just a matter of sliding the new cabinet in. Then the fun job of connecting all the cables back to their machines. We of course ran out of powerpoints and ended up buying a massive powerboard to accommodate all the new equipment. The best part was I forgot about a space for a bin. But luckily for us, it slid right in between the two towers. I was so happy and Rick acted like he planned that all along.
Then onto the fun stuff, arranging everything to look pretty! I wanted to keep it as sleek and simple as possible. Although input from our daughter included stuffed toys, posters on the wall, and a fluffy pillow. I negotiated all those ideas away and we added Kmart bamboo draws black desk stands and a desktop filing system that should keep all my paperwork in order.
All up we managed to make these changes (less desk accessories some of which I already had) for under $100. It helped that hubby made the computer tower stand. Overall it was a very quick and affordable project that has made a massive difference to our day-to-day life.
I no longer have to kick my daughter off my computer when I want to quickly send an email. She has her own desktop where she can play the horse games that she loves so much.
The major upside of all of these changes is we can now sit together while I am working. I get to keep a very close eye on what she is searching for, and talking to. This was one of the main reasons I never wanted a computer in her room. She does have a desk and space for a computer but I never felt truly comfortable with it. So now we can easily see what she is up to. Although she is a good rule follower, I feel she is safe online. An in part of the main family living space during her electronic time.
Watch a quick recap on my Tiktok and make sure you check out my earlier Tiktoks and follow me 🙂
What about you?
Do you have a dedicated study or just use an area of your living space? Do you use a desktop or just a phone and tablet? Leave any comments or questions below. Please make sure you follow me on Instagram or Facebook to keep up with our future projects.