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A Real Home Office

And the downstairs 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 on this reno is our home office. It is actually a bedroom, but since we have 4 and only really use one, it didn’t make sense to use this one as a bedroom too. Office it is.

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When we first bought That 70s House, this room was basically ignored.

A Real Home Office

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 was not what I had in mind for our grown-up office. We took on a lot when we first bought the house and were trying not to let spending get out of control, so we put in a ceiling fan and painted the walls and ignored the rest. This was going to have to wait for another day. Well, that day was now here!

A Real Home Office

A Real Home Office

I have always loved the idea of having a “built in” office for a few reasons. A) It feels custom. B) I really dislike the options on the market for office furniture. I feel like most office furniture is WAY overpriced particle board or its super fancy old world, whiskey bar in a globe (not my style). C) A lot of office furniture doesn’t seem practical to me…….No I don’t want a desk that has no drawers…..then it’s just an overpriced table, seriously! 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 and such 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 I really hate wasting my time making myself available, usually during work hours when I would be at that thing I call a job,  to be home to get a quote from someplace to install something in my house only to find out the quote is not even remotely logically in our budget. I HATE that! My time is very valuable and I respectfully recognize that yours is too. Lets 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 one day (on the weekend no doubt) 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 4 cabinets total. We also selected a laminate countertop for the work surface. This configuration would take up two of the four walls in our 10×10 office. The quote, $3,000! And they were on “sale”? We picked a very basic bottom of the barrel cabinet. They were “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 cabinets for a kitchen are 34.5″ high. A normal desk is about 28-29″ high. I wanted a “normal” desk height so I could have a “normal” desk chair 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 room. So 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 pieces. 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 🙂

A Real Home Office

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! A Real Home Office

You are probably wondering how I came up with this configuration. After dwelling on it for months, I found several pieces at Ikea that I felt would work. They weren’t the exact specifications I originally had in mind, but with a little manipulation, 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 pieces from Ikea…. 1 Gallant drawer unit, 2 Gallant drawer unit/drop file units,  1 Gallant 3 shelf unit, 1 Gallant 2 shelf unit (it looks like they no longer carry this piece), 2 Besta shelf units with doors, 4 Lilltrask countertops, and 3 Olov legs. All items were purchased in white.A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

Determining the actual setup was not the only thing we did in here. This room also had that 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 and floor and re-painted. A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

 And here is the office before we added the furniture. A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

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.

A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

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 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. A Real Home Office

Once all the furniture was put together I got to work on accessorizing. Most of the items 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

A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

 A Real Home Office

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.

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A Real Home Office

This post, A Real Home Office, appeared first on Garrison Street Design Studio.

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32 Comments

    1. Thank you Lori! I am so glad you like it 😊 it has worked really well for us! I believe when we did it a few years back it was about $1300, but Ikea does increase their prices annually.

  1. Lisa, how did you attach the countertops on the corners? It looks like your countertop runs vertically and horizontally. I love how you did this, to keep it looking complete and polished! Is there a bracket you used?

    1. Hi Wendy! Yes, we did run the countertop horizontal and vertical since the drawer cabinets aren’t that deep. On the right side the countertop is supported by the filing drawer and the bookcase at either end. No additional support was used on the right side. On the left side we used a flat bracket underneath to join the countertops and three of the Oleg legs to hold the pieces up. No wall brackets were used. While this has worked well for us, you may want additional support if you have kids because I don’t know if it would support the weight of someone climbing on it or sitting on it. For the side panels we used heavy duty Velcro to attach the countertop to the end drawer units. This way we can disassemble it if needed to move things around. Hope that helps! 😉

  2. Absolutely love this! I’m inspired to do my office in a similar fashion. Did you cut the counter tops to the same depth as the Galant drawers? It looks like they are the same/flush.

    1. Thank you so much Jennifer! No, the countertops are the standard depth at just over 25”. The galant drawers are only 18” deep which is why I chose to run the countertop vertically down the side to hide the gap between the wall and the drawer unit. It actually works out nicely for hiding cords and our router. I hope that helps!

      1. Ah, yes. Completely makes sense now! Did you only do it on the two ends or did you also do it on the other drawer piece as well?

        1. We just did the vertical countertop on the two ends. This way it’s easier to get to the plugs and cords we have hidden behind them 😉

  3. Thank you! I’m sorry but I also have one more question. Lol. What made you choose the counter top over the Linnmon top?

    1. Haha, no worries! We chose the countertop based on the length. I believe the longest option for the linnmon desk top is 78” long. Our countertop is 98” on the right side and under the window and the left side is 58”. You could use the desk top for a smaller area, but for us the length options of the lilltrask it made more sense. Don’t forget to calculate room for a chair if you are choosing the galant units because they are more than twice the width of the Alex units which are traditionally shown with the Linnmon tops. Hopefully that all made sense 😉

      1. I see. Yes, that makes perfect sense! I actually have one Galant unit right now and am looking for more on Facebook marketplace and other sales pages bc those suckers are high! Instead of going with the drawer styles, the cabinet style accommodates me better bc I have a lot of books and photo albums to store. Unfortunately Ikea doesn’t carry the 31.5 height (two shelf) cabinet any more though so that is also why I’m having to dig through the sales pages as well. I’m sure I’ll find what I’ll need, will just take time.

        I’m so happy I stumbled across your post. I’m def gonna re-create your design. Thanks so much for sharing and answering my questions!

        1. Yes, I saw they no longer sell the two shelf unit, but the cabinet style would definitely work. I am so glad you enjoyed it so much and I was able to help! 😊

  4. Hi Lisa! This room is absolutely fantastic – I’m recreating it in my husband’s office. Sorry for commenting on a post a few years old, but I have a question for you – on the countertops that you affixed vertically on the ends – did you have to cut them to height? Or did Ikea sell a piece that was 31″ long, and I’m just not not finding it?

    1. Thank you so much, I’m glad you like it! We did have to cut the countertop for the ends. Once the rest of the desk was in place we cut them to fit and attached them to the file cabinet units with heavy duty Velcro. Best of luck to you 😉

  5. We did it! We used the Alex drawer units in black with the Ekbacken light gray concrete countertops and the Olov support legs in black. To hide our printers we purchased the Galant cabinet with doors in black stained ash, which houses both printers and supplies. My goal was to hide absolutely all wires and my husband succeeded! We get so many compliments on the new office workspace. My only regret is that the Alex cabinets do not allow for a rug, they roll on the floor, I’m looking for a work around to add more color to the room; open for suggestions? The area between the drawers when they are completely opened is 3 ft., a runner may look weird.

    1. Yay!!! I’m so glad to hear this worked for you 😊 are the wheels replaceable with legs? Can you send me a picture? I’d be glad to offer a few ideas. 😉lisa@garrisonstreetdesignstudio.com

  6. Lisa- we LOVE your office and want to copy it in one of our bedrooms to make an office!! I see that the Gallant 4-drawer unit gets not-so-good reviews due to the depth of the drawers. Would you please tell me what the depth is of each of the 4 drawers? Thanks so much and for the inspiration!!:)))

  7. Hi. Great looking office! I am deciding on what IKEA units to use with a countertop along them. What was the total height of the gallant cabinet and countertop? I’d like to keep height no more than 30”. Thanks

  8. Great inspiration! I notice on the left desk set up you have a monitor and chair angled on the corner but the front of the desk is on a 90° angle. It looks great but how does it function with the keyboard? Have you kept it that way or found you had to adjust it to one side? I am wanting my monitors set up in the corner like that but not loving the deep arched “corner” desk aesthetic so I keep trying to visualize the practicality of this set up. Thank you in advance.

    1. Thank you so much Janet! Yes, the left side is my side and I still have it that way. I find it very comfortable at an angle, but this was my “corporate set up” so 10+ years is hard to break 😊

  9. Ah I know this is an old pin so hopefully you’ll respond! I LOVEEE this setup! I do have a question though! You said the right side and the table under the window was 98 inches, and the left is 58 inches, however I can’t find a table that’s 58 inches , did you use the 70 some inch one on the left? I hope this makes sense! Thank you sooo much!

    1. Thank you so much Danielle! I appreciate your support 🙂 The right desk top and the top under the window are both 98. The left side is 58 inches, you do not suck at math 😉 We used another 98 inch top and cut it down to size and used the leftover to cover one of the sides. Hopefully that makes sense. If not, feel free to DM me on Instagram and I can explain further 😉

  10. Hello! I know this is old! But hopefully you’ll see this comment! I love this so much and want to recreate! You said that the left side, as well as under window was 98 inches, but the left was 58 inches, I’m not seeing a table that side. Maybe I just really suck at math haha. Did you use the 70 some inch table on the left?

    Thank you so much!

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