My office used to have a small kidney-shaped desk ($60 from the office supply store) and an art desk in the corner for crafting and sewing. It seemed like the perfect arrangement — keeping my professional life separate from my hobbies — but it never worked out that way.
My tiny work desk was overrun by monitors and office-y junk, and the art desk was constantly heaped with supplies and tools — meaning I would drag my sewing machine upstairs and take over the dining room. What I needed was one, huge, clutter-free workspace where I could do everything.
We bought two sheets of 4’ X 8’ melamine panels (5/8 inches thick) that were on sale for $24.99 each (regular $29.99), six 2’ X 4’ boards ($2.99 each), two strips of white plastic edging ($2.99 each), and a package of general purpose 3” screws ($8.99).
We asked the building supply store to cut the melamine panels 36” wide and 6’ long, and the other 36” wide and just under 3’ long. This meant the entire desk surface was literally done for us — we just had to install it.
We decided how tall the desk should be, and cut the 2’X4’s to be four inches shorter than the length of the desk pieces. Then my husband screwed them into the studs to create the base of the desk. He attached support arms coming out from the walls, screwed a leg to each one, and then screwed in support beams to hold the weight of the desk.
Then it was time to lay the pre-cut melamine panels on top and get a look at the desk! I was smitten, but it wasn’t done yet. He used a flat metal bracket to secure the two panels together underneath the desk, because my sewing machine can make any surface rattle.
To conceal the scratchy edges of the melamine panels, we cut the strips of plastic edging to size, applied a bit of construction-grade adhesive, and pressed them against the edges. We also taped them in place while the adhesive dried. This gave the edges of the desk a nice, smooth finish — making the whole desk feel more like a shiny white countertop than a few cheap boards.
To keep the monitors from taking over my new desk, we bought an unfinished MDF shelf ($5.99) and three white metal brackets ($2.99 each). We used leftover white paint to pretty up the shelf, drilled a 2” round hole for monitor cords, and then attached it to the wall with the brackets. It’s now the perfect spot for my two monitors, speakers, and printer — and I can stick my keyboard and mouse up there when the workday’s over, giving me more room to sew.
I eliminated one of my bookcases as part of this makeover, so I needed a spot to hold my tools of the (crafty) trade — scissors, rulers, cutting blades, etc. I’ve kind of dreamed of having a pegboard ever since reading “Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room,” so I bought an unfinished 4’ X 2’ pegboard for $4.99 and a package of 32 assorted hooks ($3.49).
After a quick coat of white paint, we screwed two scrap pieces of wood into the studs — one at the top, one at the bottom — and then screwed the pegboard into the scrap wood. I arranged everything neatly on hooks, and had my handy husband drill holes in some of my plastic containers so I could hang them with strips of wire. It’s been one of those life-changing projects, truly, because I’m no longer losing my gridded ruler (and cursing) every five minutes during a sewing project.
For about $110, we drastically transformed the functionality of my little home office — and for another $80 on fresh wall paint and accessories (like the $30 gallery wall I showed you last week), we had a brand-new look, too.
Easily the best $200 I’ve ever spent on decor and DIY, because this is now a space where I feel inspired, energized, and — most of all — ready to tackle more creative pursuits here at My Homemade Home!
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