Nestled somewhere between my kitchen and my dining area is a wall and a little less than 10 square feet of space. After a couple of months as a transient working on our dining table, bed, bedroom floor, and our cozy couch - I decided to make the most of this small corner. In terms of workspace realty, this area made the most sense. I have direct access to my kitchen, where I am most of the day. It is also across my daughter Natalie's play area, so I can keep an eye on her while still getting some work done. Not to mention, the desk can double as a serving station or buffet during parties since the dining table is only 3 feet away.
I prefer to keep my work spaces completely clutter free and bright white. Sort of like a blank canvas, it sets the stage for my ideas and I have the freedom to think without any distractions.
There were a lot of constraints. The desk had to be less than 20 inches in depth, and less than 6 feet wide. I searched high and low for a great white desk that would not break the bank and be a perfect fit. I am obsessed with white lacquer, which doesn't come cheap. I had a choice between something that looked custom and built-in or a freestanding piece of furniture that had more character and charm. Most of my choices cost way more than I had budgeted. Upon browsing through Ikea, I stumbled upon this new item- the Micke desk. It comes in two sizes. The depth was perfect, but the larger size wasn't long enough for what I needed. Ingeniously the line offers a freestanding set of drawers on casters that- when placed next to the desk, continues the work space. It's not exactly glossy white, but it was white and it had a great finish. I purchased the desk, and the set of drawers all for about $130. SCORE!
Ikea has a reputation for producing low-quality mass produced items. Style-conscious people shy away from the idea of purchasing pieces here out of fear from being "cookie-cutter". Since I am a big fan of high-low combinations, I think that by picking appropriate furniture from big-box stores and combining them with other pieces and accessories, you can come up with something that not only works, but looks unique as well. It's all about re-purposing and being creative. By making smart decisions on where to splurge and where to save, anyone can succeed in creating a functional, sophisticated and stylish space on a budget.
One rule of thumb I follow is to keep the focal point (be it a dining table, sofa, bed) in a room unique and special. All secondary pieces of furniture like chairs and accent tables can be a mixture of anything (be it something from Target or Ikea). This particular desk works in the space because it doesn't distract from our dining table, and it is affordable enough to replace often, if need be. Since it's a tight space, I just use one of the dining chairs when I need to work. It then parks right back under the dining table, and there's room to pass through to the kitchen. I prefer home offices to be less sterile and corporate and more relaxed and inviting. The use of a cozy slip covered Parsons chair in contrast with the sleek white desk creates a polished yet inviting place to work.
Picture rails on the wall above let me change out artwork easily and serve as an "inspiration" area with my pin-ups of tear sheets and magazine cut-outs. I like adorning my personal space with candles that I collect or vintage thrift store accessories. Lamps are a great way to add some personal style. Instead of using a typical task lamp, I found a great mirrored one in a unique rectangle shape. The canvas shade adds some softness to the overall look of the space and prevents it from looking too cold and industrial. Flowers always bring life to any room, and they make me happy!
I enjoy using unexpected things like a jewelry box, to organize items that would normally clutter a workspace. This white lacquer box blended in with the rest of my office perfectly.
Even my computer got a little face lift! My Macbook Pro is now sheathed in high-gloss white and blends into my desk when not in use. Oh the details! These little things that I obsess over...