Over the summer I decided our girls needed a dedicated space for homework. The papers and books and bags all over the kitchen island wasn’t quite working anymore and neither was dragging my MacBook all over the house to finish assignments.
I have a guest room converted into office space and we decided to convert a portion of my office to creating a space for the girls. This was a really simple and really easy DIY project thanks to Ikea rolling cabinets.
The tricky part of this DIY is the measurements of the space we were using. I wanted to use a back wall and I had tons of ideas of different desk surfaces and storage ideas but the issue that thwarted most of my ideas, was the closet along a side wall. Almost every ready made storage piece and desk surface is too wide and would partially block the closet. We could do a custom build with cabinets and shelving but I wanted something that wouldn’t be quite as permanent. Eventually this room will become my older daughter’s bedroom and I wanted something simple and temporary to use for the short term.
So we finally found this solution and it has worked out pretty well so far. It was also super budget friendly- coming in at about $280 total for two chairs, lumber and stain and the rolling carts.
I really wanted to use these Alex drawer units from Ikea in Navy blue and I planned to take off the casters and instead use real feet to make them look more like furniture pieces. The depth of this piece is almost 19″ and sadly we only have about 18″ from the wall to the opening of the closet door. So these pieces wouldn’t fit. Boo.
We finally settled on these rolling metal cabinets from Ikea that are smaller at 16″. I chose to use three to keep the space really light and because the kids don’t need a ton of storage anyway. (Seriously the more storage, the more junk they collect.) In a different size space, you can certainly use four or two for a smaller one person desk.
Next up was figuring out the desk top situation. I really wanted butcher block for the top and planned for it to just rest on top of the rolling cabinets. So simple! But the size of the butcher block at Ikea and other home improvement stores was far too wide and far too short for our awkward space. Yes, we could have purchased two pieces and cut them down and then butted them up against each other but the cost was more than we wanted to spend on the project. Butcher block is actually kind of pricey.
We decided on using (3) 2×6″ boards that were trimmed exactly to fit the space from wall to wall and stained. They rest right on top of the rolling cabinets. This solution was simple and fast and extremely inexpensive. You can mill the wood down to be perfectly flat (great video on this here)if you have a jointer that would make the desktop look really polished.
And I still have plenty of space all my own with a floating desk in the middle of the room.
I haven’t finished this space completely yet. I am still debating if I want to do vertical shiplap behind the desk or wallpaper and I definitely want to paint the closet doors an accent color. But in the meantime for a really fast and easy project, this has turned out to be a very functional space.
Here are a few of the items that I used in our office: