If you have been following along in my Instagram stories you know I embarked on a home office makeover during Memorial day weekend. This makeover was supposed to take only 5 days, but spoiler alert, things did not go as planned. BUT! I could not be happier with how it turned out and I am so excited to share it with you! This small office has severed us so well over the last eight years but it was time to spruce up our small DIY home office for two with an IKEA desk hack.
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DIY Small Home Office for Two with an IKEA Desk Hack
I have worked from home for a long time now, but ever since the year that shall not be named, we both have been working primarily from home. Which means I was very glad I decided to make this dedicated space a dual home office! If you missed the original home office install, you can check that out here.
Out of all the rooms I have tackled, I probably get the most questions about this one and how I set up my IKEA desk hack. So I am going to start at the very beginning on this one.
If you work at home or have kids that need a work space for homework, crafting, or art projects you know how important it is to have a dedicated room for these activities. Luckily our house has a fourth bedroom on the main level that is tucked away from the other bedrooms and we didn’t need a third guest room. From day one this room was deemed the home office. Except we didn’t have any real home office furniture, just a small old desk that was falling apart, a bookcase, and a filing cabinet.
After several years of ignoring this work area, I sat down to tackle this dilemma. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally came up with a plan for a shared home office, just in case. This is what the room looked like for many years.
Why an Office Makeover
After we both started working in here daily, we realized it could function a bit better. Between the addition of extra monitors (we both use two) and removing the bookcase to create more counter space it was starting to feel a little chaotic. Not to mention the rug had seem better days and I was ready for a new color scheme. While I loved the gray and yellow for many years, I was ready for a change. This was my home office design board for the makeover.
All of the original IKEA desk was coming back just with a different work surface.
Home Office Makeover To Do List
Scrape the popcorn ceilings. This should have been done years ago when I originally set up the double home office, but that didn’t happen, so here I am now wishing I wasn’t lazy then, lol.
Paint all the walls. As I mentioned above, it was time for a change. Even though this is a small space (only 10×10) I wanted to push the interior design a bit and go for some dark colors. Because the room gets a lot of natural light, I wasn’t worried about making the room feel small.
Create an accent ceiling. Despite creating many accent and wood slat walls over the years, I have never done an accent ceiling. Time to change that. And you will never guess what color I chose…..
Add a little extra storage. When Barry and I both started working from home he wasn’t crazy about the bookcase in the corner because it crowded his workspace so we removed it. Now I wanted to add a little extra storage to compensate.
Tackle the cord chaos and lack of outlets. The biggest downfall of living in an older house is that people didn’t have as many things to plug in when the house was built. Our home office only has three outlets and we have a lot of tech to plug in and cords to manage. And as we have added additional monitors and other technology over the years, it has become more difficult to manage the cords. But my IT guy (Barry) had a plan for that.
Update worn out items. Our home office is one of the most used rooms in the house. Our office hours are generally M-F 8am-5pm give or take. So when I say this room gets used A LOT I am not kidding. As a result, the original rug and office chairs have seen better days. I swapped the rug last year with the old rug from our bedroom, but it too wasn’t looking so hot anymore. Time for a few upgrades.
Add some new décor and art. Like with any makeover I tackle, the décor always gets an upgrade. The good news is I try to recycle items from previous rooms as much as possible.
Scraping The Popcorn Ceiling
This is not the first room to loose the battle with me over the popcorn ceilings, haha! And I have never regretted scraping the family room, the bunk room, the hallway, the living room and dining room, or our bedroom. It is a very messy process but oddly satisfying.
In the past, I have followed up by re-texturing the ceiling with a knockdown texture like the walls. However, my better judgement escaped me this time and I thought I could just paint and prime since I was adding an accent ceiling. Well….I was wrong. Very wrong. My 5 day timeline became 10 because of my poor judgement. You can watch the entire fiasco unfold in my office stories highlight.
What I learned from this.
1. Always re-texture before pulling up the plastic from scraping the ceiling. It isn’t fun, but 100% necessary.
2. Do not under any circumstances use anything but FLAT paint to paint a ceiling. Again, I learned this the hard way even though I knew better.
3. For small spaces the canned texture is actually way easier, but more expensive.
Black Accent Ceiling
This is probably the one thing I was most excited about in this room! Iron Ore is my favorite color and I couldn’t wait to paint the ceiling with it! I used it on the wine room ceiling and loved it!
I also added slats and led lights to the ceiling to really create a focal point of the room. The how to on this whole process is coming soon so stay tuned 😉
IKEA Home Office Desk Setup
This is the number one question I get about my home office. How did you set it up for a double desk and how big is the room? The room is 10×10 so I put a lot of Pinterest hours into scouring the web for small home office ideas that wouldn’t cost a fortune. And this is what I came up with.
IKEA Desk Hack Materials
2 IKEA Galant 2 Drawer Filing Cabinets
1 IKEA Galant 4 Drawer Cabinet
1 IKEA Galant Short Bookcase*
4 IKEA Besta Cabinets
2 IKEA 74 inch Ekbacken Countertops in Ash
2 IKEA 98 inch Ekbacken Countertops in Ash
2 Monitor Arm Mounts
2 Cable Storage Bins
Heavy Duty Velcro
1 1x4x8 piece of wood
Home Office Décor
*Quick note on this piece. They no longer sell it unfortunately. However, there are a few different alternatives available. The short version of the Galant bookcase sits in the right hand corner of the office and serves as the support and storage for that corner.
The other Galant pieces sit at 31.5 inches tall and 31.5 inches wide as does the small version of the bookcase I used. The IKEA Kallax is similar in size. If you add a small platform for it to sit on this piece would work well. You could also use legs in this corner if you don’t need the storage space or add another Galant drawer base, although I think drawers would be difficult to access. You could also build a custom bookcase.
Step 1 – Selecting and Assembling the IKEA Pieces
When I originally configured my large desk setup I wanted to maximize storge space while still having enough room to allow two people to sit and work comfortably. A U shaped desk design was the best way to accomplish that with my floor plan. At the time I selected two of the IKEA Galant filing cabinets because we had a fair amount of paper files. Now that I have purged the paper these drawer units are a great solution for bulky items like my tri-pod and photography lights. But the 4 drawer units might be a better solution for others depending on what type of items you store in your office.
For the countertops I originally selected the plain white laminate counters which worked well with my color scheme. But I wanted to change things up a bit and add some wood tones this time. IKEA carries both lines of countertops in a variety of colors as well as others. Their countertops are the best choice in my opinion because they are affordable and do not include a backsplash which would look out of place in an office.
NOTE: my countertops are still laminate for durability and the ease of cleaning but you could definitely do butcher block if you wanted.
Once you have selected your base pieces and countertops, assemble all the pieces.
Step 2 – Setting up the Base of the Desk
First, you will need to set up the base of the desk. Each side of the desk will need to be supported by a base unit. On the back wall I set up the four drawer unit and the small bookcase. I chose to put the book case in the corner for easier access to it’s contents. Note, my base units sit almost 8 inches off the wall. This is to accommodate the full 25 5/8 inches width of the countertop.
If you would like your pieces to sit against the wall you will need to cut your countertops down or make your own to be a smaller width. The only base unit that touches a wall is the bookcase in the right corner on the side wall.
I also do not recommend adding any of the drawers until you are happy with the placement of the desk. The drawers make the units much heavier and more difficult to move.
On my side of the desk (the corner by the window) there is 53 inches from the filing cabinet to the window and 59 inches from the four drawer unit to the wall. This gives me ample space to move around under the desk and plenty of desk space to work on. I personally love working in the corner like this. It feels very natural to me and I love to look out the window and watch the snow fall in the winter.
On Barry’s side of the desk (the right side) there is 39.5 inches between the bookcase and the filing cabinet base. This isn’t quite as much space as my side, but is still plenty of room for a second workstation.
Step 3 – Adding the countertops
I chose to use IKEA laminate kitchen counters for the desk setups. They are durable and easy to clean and I only had to trim them to size. You could make wood countertops as well, but with the price of wood I didn’t feel like it was worth the work. I used four countertops in total. I used two in the 98 inch long size for the desk on the right side and under the window. And I used two in the 74 inch long size for the left side of the desk and the end panels.
The right side of the room is where I started with the countertops. Note, I did not cut this one at all. I used the full length.
Next, I trimmed the left side and window side down with my mini circular saw. The the run under the window is 97 inches long and the left side is 61.125 inches long.
Pro tip: when cutting laminate countertops with a circular saw, you want to cut the countertop upside down to prevent tear out on the finished side. You will also want to tape the edges on both sides to keep the laminate from chipping.
I clamped a scrap piece of wood to the countertop to use as a guide. I must say, I was very nervous about this part but all the cuts came out very clean. I made sure to place my cut ends on the inside of the desk so they would not be seen. This countertop is finished on both of the long ends, however, the white ones were not. Pay attention to this if you buy the less expensive option because it will dictate what side faces out.
To support the countertops in the left corner, I decided to add a wall support instead of using legs this time. Legs are a great way to do this as well but after living with legs for multiple years, I liked the idea of this looking more like a floating desk in the corner. Also, I used to kick the legs all the time which was kind of annoying. This is what the leg set up looked like before.
This time around I cut some scrap wood down to fit the length of wall under the desk that was not supported by the base units. I used my stud finder and attached these to the wall in the studs with some 2.5 inch screws. The countertop now rests on these wall supports.
I am often asked how the countertops attach to each other. The right corner is sandwiched between two walls so they do not move and stay together on their own. But the left corner is floating and needed to be attached. I used a flat mending plate and screwed it into the bottom of the countertop across the seam. Just make sure you choose screws that are shorter than your countertop depth so they don’t go through the top.
Step 4 – Adding the End Panels
My main challenges with this setup revolved around the size of the base drawer units and the width of the countertops. They are not the same. I really didn’t want to rip down all the countertops because that seamed so wasteful. Not to mention it would take away valuable work space. So I decided to use one more countertop to make end panels to hide the gap between the Galant units and the wall on each end of the desk.
To do this I used one 74 inch long countertop and cut it down to size, in this case 31.5 to line up wit the top of the Galant units. You will want to cut these two pieces from either end of the countertop piece so that each end has a finished edge.
If you have baseboards already installed in your room you will also need to either rip down the side of the end panel or notch out the baseboard. The first time around I ripped down the countertop but this left a small gap between the wall and the end panel. So this time the baseboard got notched out with the multi tool. If you want to see all the behind the scenes on this, check out my Instagram stories.
I attached these end panels to the Galant units with heavy duty Velcro.
The best part about this solution is it allows me to hide cords and power strips behind the base units so I don’t have to see all the cord clutter.
Step 5 – Setting Up Multiple Computer Screens
After many years of working in corporate America, Barry and I have both become VERY accustomed to working with multiple monitors. And as we added more tech to the office, the amount of cord clutter grew and my stress increased and I knew there had to be a better way! That’s when I found these monitor arms. Many monitor arms have to be mounted on the back edge of the desk which didn’t work for this setup. These arms can be mounted through a hole in the desk.
Next, drilling a hole for the monitor arm. You will need a hole saw bit for your drill for this step. I used a 2 inch hole saw and taped the surface of the countertop to prevent chipping.
Once the hole is drilled you can attach the arm to the bottom of the desk. This part works best with two people. I held the arm above the desk while Barry tightened it below. You can see all the behind the scenes of setting this up in my Instagram highlights.
To attach the monitors themselves there are plates that screw into the back of the monitor that bolt onto the arms.
These are the best for a dual monitor setup! They make the office feel so much cleaner and are adjustable to your preferences. I have a 29 inch wide screen monitor and a 24 inch monitor on my arm and Barry has two 27 inch monitors on his. If you need multiple monitors, I highly recommend these!
Step 6 – Hanging the Wall Cabinets
When I originally designed this room, I only had one set of Besta cabinets over my work area. But with the new design and the elimination of the bookcase on Barry’s side of the office, I figured a little extra storage couldn’t hurt. My goal was to add storage that helps keep the clutter at bay. I don’t know about you but when my workspace is messy, my thoughts feel messy too. Having a tidy office keeps me more productive.
IKEA Besta cabinets can be configured in multiple ways and come in a variety of sizes. I chose the 23x8x15 because they are low profile but still provide great storage for smaller items like my camera. They are the perfect size for wall mounted cabinets. Just make sure to buy the rail system for it too which isn’t included since they can be used in multiple ways.
Step 7 – Managing the Cords and Cables
One of my biggest pet peeves is cord chaos. It stresses me out and reminds me of messy frat houses. Whenever Barry wants to add more tech to the office my first question is always “what about the cords?” Honestly, if everything could be cordless I would be a happy camper! To help manage the cords under the desk I used cord channels I bought at IKEA years ago.
Of course everything we plug in also seems to come with ridiculously large power bricks as well. For that I mounted these under desk baskets.
Finally, there are a variety of things Barry has to plug in on his side that create a ton of cord clutter. So I found this large basket with a lid to hide all of that on the bookcase. No more cord chaos!
A bunch of tech also got moved into the closet where Barry added an outlet and ethernet port.
Step 8 – Adding Décor and Finishing Touches
When designing this room the first thing I chose was the rug which set the black and white color palette. I also knew I wanted to bring in some wood elements which I why I chose the light wood counters.
But the most difficult hurdle I faced was choosing the chairs! I ordered three different sets before I found the one. It is surprisingly difficult to find rolling office chairs in a camel leather without arms. The chairs I chose actually came with arms that were optional but armless works better for us.
I debated long and hard on what I wanted to do with the black wall. I considered floating shelves to the right of the window but when I considered what I would put on them it started to feel cluttered to me as I didn’t already have items to display. So I decided to take a less is more approach and do a small gallery wall with art I found at Home Goods.
I added some new lamps and an essential oil diffuser for calm vibes.
I also added a few faux plants and a cozy spot for Marvin.
Creating a Dedicated Home Office Space
If you don’t already have a dedicated home workspace you are probably posting up in your dining room or at your kitchen table like we did while this makeover was underway. That is never fun. Here are a few options to create a new home office.
The best option for creating a home office is using an entire room. Working at home can be challenging because it is more difficult to decompress and truly “clock out”. Having a separate room for work keeps your work from spilling into the rest of your home and life.
If you don’t have a spare room for a home office, you can add a workspace or study area to a guest room in an unused corner like I did in the bunk room. If you don’t have the extra space for a small desk, you can use a guest room as a multi-purpose room by adding a murphy bed to create more floor space.
Another option is to add a small space between two dressers that can double as a vanity or a desk if you don’t have enough space for a desk or small table to work at.
No matter how you choose to create a home workspace, once you have one, you will be glad you do! The work-from-home lifestyle can be a difficult adjustment for some, but I promise having a comfortable place to tackle remote work makes all the difference.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much did this cost?
Originally when I setup the office it was about $1,000 with the white counters. But each year IKEA increases its prices and now with the countertop upgrade and additional storage Bestas it would cost about $2,325 for just the IKEA pieces. This is assuming using a Kallax in the right corner in lieu of the Gallant shelf they no longer carry.
Can I configure it in different ways?
Absolutely! This desk setup worked best for the shape and size of this fourth bedroom, but you could definitely do it differently to fit your needs. If you don’t need a two person set up, you could do this with less pieces and create an L-shaped desk or even just a straight long desk.
Can I build this with stock base cabinets from Home Depot instead?
Technically, yes. But your biggest challenge will be finding a suitable office chair. Stock base base cabinets are 34.5 inches tall before adding the countertop. Most office chairs will not adjust to a height to accommodate that. Most desks sit at 30 inches. If you don’t mind using bar stools as your office chairs, this will work. I personally wanted a rolling office chair and custom order cabinets were just too expensive.
How tall is the desk?
My desk is 32.625 inches tall including the countertop and 31.5 inches tall to the underside of the countertop.
Did you paint the handles on the Galant drawers?
No. At the time I purchased my Galant pieces the handles came in silver. Now they come in white or black depending on what color unit you buy.
Did you remove the locks on the top of the Galant units?
Yes! In order to install countertops flat you cannot install the locks that are included with the Galant units.
I still have some additional items planned to upgrade the door to the office and the closet doors on the other side of the room, so stay tuned 😉
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