The downstairs home renovation saga continues! If you have been reading along you know we have been renovating the main floor of our house. The 3rd and final stop is our home office. While the room is actually a bedroom, turning it into a home office seemed like a great idea since it is too small for a guest room and we have extra space for guests in the two bedrooms upstairs. With this simple solution I created a double desk setup. I had just enough space to create a dual home office with a few clutch IKEA pieces!
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IKEA Desk Hack
But let’s start at the beginning, shall we? When we first bought our 70s House, this room was basically ignored. From the beginning, we knew this room would be our office, but the only “office furniture” we had was an old overstuffed filing cabinet, a falling apart wooden desk I bought 10 years ago at a second hand store, and a cheap $20 bookcase.
This is definitely not what I had in mind for a grown-up home office space. We took on a lot when we first bought the house and were trying not to go crazy spending money on new furniture. So we put in a ceiling fan, painted the walls, and ignored the rest. This was going to have to wait for another day. Well, that day is finally here!
I have always loved the idea of having a “built in” office. Custom desks feel high end and I really dislike much of the home office furniture most stores sell these days. I feel like most office furniture is WAY overpriced particle board or super fancy old world, whiskey bar in a globe (not my style).
Not to mention a lot of office furniture doesn’t seem practical to me. No I don’t want a desk that has no drawers or file cabinets. Because then it’s just an overpriced table not a desk. But hey, that’s just my opinion. Hence the built in office concept.
The Hunt For A Real Home Office
I started looking online at places that do custom closets and cabinets to see what we were up against in terms of cost but most of these sites don’t actually list prices. Call me crazy, but wouldn’t this save us all some time and effort? My time is very valuable and I respectfully recognize that yours is too. Let’s do each other a favor and be upfront about things, shall we?
Anyway, with no real insight into the cost of such a project, we made a trip to Home Depot on a weekend and sat down with one of the cabinet people to price out a custom cabinet office.
In this design, we did an “L” shaped desk out of base cabinets with two banks of drawers, one cabinet with doors and one filing cabinet with two drawers, so four cabinets in total. We also selected a laminate countertop for a clean desktop look. This configuration would take up two of the four walls in our 10×10 office. The total cost, $3,000! And they were on sale?! Say what?
This bid was a very basic, bottom of the barrel cabinet. They were considered custom but I would use that term very loosely as the only custom thing about them was the height and the filing cabinet drawer base.
Normal base kitchen cabinets are 34.5″ high. A normal desk is about 28-29″ high. I wanted a “normal” desk height so I could have normal desk chairs on wheels. But $3,000 was not in the budget. Our max budget was half that at $1,500. Back to the drawing board.
Now I had to get creative. I literally thought about this office for about 9 months before I finally landed on the plan we used. You are going to laugh at me I am sure, but my favorite way to space plan is in Microsoft Excel. I know, that’s the accountant in me.
I basically make Excel “graph paper” by resizing all the cells into little squares. Each square represents one foot. I then use insert shapes to create the pieces I want to put into the room. This helps me determine if everything is appropriately sized. One of my biggest pet peeves is too much furniture in a small spaces.
I did this MANY times for our office. But the great thing about using excel rather than drawing is you can just copy and paste over and over and just re-arrange your digital pieces of furniture. A lot more efficient than drawing everything all over. I know you are probably thinking I should just use design software, but I haven’t found one I like yet, so maybe someday I will but for now I just think this is easier and free 🙂
When I do finally come up with a plan, I normally have to sketch it out so Barry can visualize it 🙂 So that’s what I did. I’m almost as good as Picasso, don’t you think? Haha!
Getting creative with IKEA Desk Ideas
The budget shopper in me went straight to IKEA when I found out my dream desk was way outside the budget. I am always down for a good IKEA Hack and there are so many IKEA desk hack ideas out there.
I looked at the IKEA Alex drawers for our new desk. The Alex units are often used as a home office desk, but I was not a fan of the open drawer pulls and I couldn’t see an easy way around that. Despite the IKEA Alex drawer hack being a good option, it wasn’t right for us.
I also looked at the IKEA Linnmon tabletop with metal legs or adils legs but that option didn’t offer much space for storage nor did it offer that custom, clean look I was going for.
I also looked at multiple storage units including the Kallax shelves, but they just weren’t the perfect size for the limited space I was working with.
After dwelling on it for months, I took a step back and looked at it from a new perspective. Originally I was thinking I wanted an L-shaped desk, but it turns out this room is better suited for a U-shaped desk, utilizing the back wall of the room.
Once I realized this, I found several IKEA products that would work well for this IKEA hack desk. They weren’t the exact specifications I originally had in mind, but with a little manipulation and different IKEA parts, I could make our very small 10×10 room into a dual office!
In the beginning, I didn’t really think I wanted a dual office, but as Barry and I thought about it more, we changed our minds. We ended up using the following IKEA components to create maximum storage and a great place for both of us to work from home if need be. And let me tell you, in 2020 we were glad we did!
IKEA Pieces Used
1 Gallant drawer unit
2 Gallant drawer unit/drop file units
1 Gallant 3 shelf unit (it looks like they no longer carry this piece but you could use an IKEA Kallax instead)
1 Gallant 2 shelf unit (it looks like they no longer carry this piece but you could use an IKEA Kallax instead)
2 Besta shelf units with doors
4 Lilltrask countertops
3 Olov legs
All items were purchased in white to create a clean new look. The galant file drawer, drawer cabinet, and small galant shelf are part of the desk base that holds up the cheap IKEA desk top we created with lilltrask kitchen countertops. You could also use Karlby countertops for a different look.
In the lefthand corner of the desk under the window we used adjustable legs to hold up the counters and they attach from underneath. The countertops are a different depth than the Galant pieces, but by running the countertops down the sides, almost like a waterfall, it covers the space between the wall and gives us plenty of space to hide cords.
Full disclosure, I designed this office in 2015 and IKEA no longer sells the galant shelving unit (the large or small) on the right hand corner of the desk. However, the IKEA Kallax cube storage shelves are a good substitute.
I am currently working on a makeover of this room to update the decor and I will be sharing more of the actual setup as well as the behind the scenes in my Instagram stories. Don’t worry, this is still the desk of my dreams and I am only tweaking a few things 😉
Determining the actual setup was a great addition to the space but not the only thing we changed. This room also had the same awful vinyl flooring we removed from the half bath and hallway. We were so excited to see that go! Not sure when or if that was actually ever in style.
Anyway, before we could start any of the furniture installation, we had to lay the new flooring. I do not have any progress pictures of this because while we were laying the flooring in here, we were also having a new fence installed in our backyard and I failed to take pictures 🙁 I know……..I am a multi tasker and sometimes it doesn’t work out. Here is the office after we removed the old furniture, flooring, and re-painted.
And here is the office before we added the furniture.
Sometime during this project I re-painted the room with Mansard Stone by Glidden in a satin finish. It’s a dark gray providing a nice contrast with all of the white furniture I chose. I also had been dying to do a gray and yellow room so I pulled the yellow in with room’s accent pieces.
After two trips to IKEA (they didn’t have the countertops the first time we went) we had all the pieces and got to work on putting them together. If you have never put together IKEA furniture before, I would recommend at least one bottle of wine for this, maybe two if you have a lot to put together 🙂
There are NO words in the instructions only pictures. Undeniably, they do this because they would have to print them in like a zillion languages if they had words. I get it, but that doesn’t mean this is easy, hence the wine recommendation.
I will say the pictures for the simple pieces like bookcases and even their dressers like the Malm and hemnes dressers are pretty easy to follow, but the filing cabinets were confusing. I think several bottles of wine were consumed……Barry is smiling because he just started. See the wine glass on the window sill? I wasn’t kidding 😉
Once all the furniture was put together I got to work on accessorizing. Most of the items like office supplies are from Home Goods, like that’s a surprise! But the pair of lamps and rug are from Target and I ordered the office chairs from Wayfair.
A Real Home Office IKEA Hack
Now I LOVE this room! It went from being a room I rarely even entered to being one of my favorite places to get some work done. Not to mention it is one of the most functional desks! It has plenty of storage and allows to both work from home.
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If you love IKEA as much as I do, make sure you check out the rest of my creative IKEA hacks that take simple pieces to a whole new level!
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